Delegation from the MENA Region Visits KARAMAH

October 24, 2011 – 15 representatives from Middle Eastern and North African NGOs and governmental institutions visited KARAMAH. These delegates from the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program aimed to explore the role and organizational structure of NGOs in advancing civil rights and equal opportunity in the U.S.

The delegates were interested in learning about the obstacles facing Muslims as a minority in the U.S. and understanding the role KARAMAH plays in educating individuals about Islam, with regard to human rights and women’s rights, both in the U.S. and abroad. KARAMAH reiterated its goal of bringing about change through education and dissemination of research and scholastic work to not only educate non-Muslims and clarify misconceptions about Islam but also to educate Muslims who will eventually correct wrongs which exist in their societies in the name of religion.

KARAMAH’s mission and work inspired most of the attendees, who were well aware of the detrimental effects of ignorance and agreed about the importance of educating Muslims and providing them with a deeper understanding of their religion. One visitor gave an astounding example where a woman asked a sheikh about a political issue and he told her it was haram for her to think about such issues because she, as a Muslim woman, should only think about her home and raising her kids. This problem is understood to exist in many parts of the Muslim world, and the given example demonstrates the continued importance of collaboration between KARAMAH and other NGOs to educate all people about human rights and women’s rights in Islam.

While most of the visitors were enthusiastic about KARAMAH’s work, one of the visitors was skeptical about the work and its actual impact on real problems. KARAMAH reinforced its direct impact on the community especially through the Law and Leadership Summer program which provides Muslim Women with an enlightened understanding of Islamic Jurisprudence, Leadership, and Conflict Resolution which they in turn take home and influence their own communities.

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