Op-Ed: FACES Diversity Forums Create a Community of Unity

In late September of this year in a small room in San Jose, 25 people met—many for the first time—a Muslim woman. In the course of conversation, they learned that this woman is a soccer mom from Fremont, the mother of college-aged daughters and an active member of her religious and secular communities.

Moina Shaiq—with humor, emotion and insight—spoke of her values and upbringing, sharing that her husband does not like her wearing the traditional head covering known as the hijab because it hides her beautiful hair. She spoke of her daughters, who were never compelled to do the same, and how they exercise their right to dress as they please as they achieve an American education. She spoke as a mother, an active community member and a woman of faith. In doing so, she calmed fears and opened hearts.

Silicon Valley FACES was proud to host Moina, who speaks at neighborhood and community forums as “EveryMuslim” in the hope that people around her from other religions will feel free to approach her to learn about her life, her faith, her family and how she integrates being Muslim with being American.

Shaiq presents herself as what she is: a typical American mom who took her daughters to soccer games, who sat with the other parents to watch their children play together, not as Muslim or Christian or Jewish children, but as American children, regardless of their skin color or ethnic background.

With a sharp rise in violence against Muslims and those perceived as Muslim, and with some leaders calling for religion-based boycotts and race-based immigration restrictions, it’s time we have a dialogue that breaks stereotypes and brings unity.

Starting on a local level with face-to-face discussions, people from across various divisions can sit together in one room and share their heritage, their beliefs, their religious and moral practices, and discover that we are all gathered under one roof of one nation. They can discover that there is much more that unites us than divides us.

An open and honest dialogue is the first step to achieving this unity. It is this sort of personal, interactive exchange of ideas that will ultimately help bridge the divides born of stereotypes that drive us apart.

To that end, Silicon Valley FACES—a nonprofit organization that works to educate and unify communities through its youth-based educational and social learning projects—has initiated a series of talks by ordinary people, scholars, writers, poets and activists representing individuals across race, faith, economic and professional spheres.

The forums will be centered around principles of heartfelt, human ways of communicating, where people can get to know each other as individuals. Through their interaction, they can then spread the message of peace and respect and build a community of unity.

FACES diversity forums will promote this dialogue and lay the foundation for achieving accepting, loving communities where each of us can thrive. Positive change begins with small steps, and we’re taking those steps now. The next one takes place on Jan. 18 at the Silicon Valley FACES office, Suite 150 at 1401 Parkmoor Ave., in San Jose.

We need everyone’s help and participation to keep us moving forward and keep this momentum alive. By learning more about one another, we can move forward together.

Samina Masood is the executive director of Silicon Valley FACES, a nonprofit dedicated to building communities free of bias, bigotry, bullying and violence. To learn more about their programs, visit www.svfaces.org. To read about the most recent forum where Moina spoke, click here. To watch the video, click here

9 Comments

  1. That Mrs. Shaiq deserves to be viewed as a typical American mom does not change the fact that foreigners of a particular race and from a particular region have been responsible for a disproportionate number of terrorist acts on American soil, nor can it alter the fact that closing our borders to these particular foreigners will greatly reduce their ability to terrorize us in the future.

    In light of the fact that we have, despite our increased efforts, failed to effectively sort out the good Muslim immigrants from the bad, ending Muslim immigration is the only strategy with a legitimate chance of reducing the danger faced by all Americans, a reduction I would expect would be supported by every typical American mom.

  2. Speaking of diversity, here is a news report of a “debate” in one-party California between two liberal Democrat woman politicians to succeed a retiring Democrat woman politician:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/05/harris-sanchez-clash-in-california-us-senate-debate/

    It’s a joke to call this a debate. What the hell could these two sock puppets of the political establishment possibly disagree about?

    Is there any evidence that anyone outside of an insomniac asylum watched this debate? Do the “good government” types really think that this is what “good government” looks like?

    Whose stupid idea was the “top two runoff” anyway? What’s the point?

    • “Whose stupid idea was the “top two runoff” anyway? What’s the point?” The idea was spawned by the Democratic Party. The point was to ensure the election of Democrats. It was voted in by all the people here who live off the taxpayers by the free stuff promised to them by the Democrats.

      • On the other hand when thing go wrong now, it is still the Republicans that get the blame!

  3. Finfan, perhaps if you were to attend one of the FACES forums, you might discover that this is one good way to “effectively sort out the good Muslim immigrants from the bad.”

    • The problem is what do you plan to do with the bad one’s if you can’t even define what a bad one is?
      Today’s solution observe and ignore till there is an explosion and then look for some white Christian male to blame!

    • Why would I want to attend a forum in search of a result it can’t possibly provide? The Muslims seeking entry into the U.S. are virtual strangers to our immigration services, and the bad ones (which I suspect are few) have been schooled in how to disguise their evil intentions. There are no investigative techniques, nor even trusty canines, that can sniff out evil intentions. As history has shown, our security agencies can’t even sort the good from the bad among those already — and they possess checkable backgrounds.

      The idea of closing our borders to a state or region infested with terrorists should be viewed as being as racially and politically neutral as closing our borders in response to an infestation of a communicable disease. That it’s been made out to represent some sort of immoral intolerance is just another example of what happens to common sense when it gets in the way of progressive nonsense.

      • Ladies and Gentleman,

        Please, for the sake of yourselves and your children, listen to me. Look around you. Everywhere that large groups of Muslims have infiltrated, they have isolated themselves in their own religious ghettoes, and sown unrest. Everywhere that an “outreach” has been extended to these groups of supposed “refugees”, there has been and will be violence and suffering. Look to Germany, look to France, look to Great Britain. Look to any country who has taken in any significant number of these religious fanatics and you will see a spreading infection of violence wrought by their rabid, radical, religious zeal. Make no mistake; these jihadists want only one thing: They want worldwide, global Sharia. Period. If you don’t believe me perhaps I can show you the shrapnel scar on the face of my wife, a Lebanese Christian asylee; her parents are both dead; Same explosion; Both Christians as well.

        There are no moderate Muslims. There are only radical, fundamentalist jihadists and their faithful enablers. If we want to achieve some sort of accommodation then let’s set up a national hotline where enabler Muslims can become patriots by reporting and informing on these radicals, anonymously as necessary, the same way that organized crime and dope dealers are exposed to law enforcement. I can all but guarantee that no significant information will be forthcoming and the reason should be obvious to anyone who understands their ideology and mindset.

        They’re not all that way, you say? If I had a bottle of pills, and I told you that only one or two of them were poison, would you reach into the bottle and take 2 or 3? Why not? Let’s not be biased. Let’s respect diversity. Go ahead, take the pills. Let’s talk about it at the next community forum.

        Ok, open-minded bleeding hearts, line up now and slam me for bigotry.

  4. J.S. Robillard is no bigot. Bigots censor views they disagree with. Like this one, in response to JSR’s comment:

    “Ok, open-minded bleeding hearts, line up now and slam me for bigotry.”

    I suspect they’re silent because they have no credible rebuttal to your comment.

    The article says:

    Silicon Valley FACES was proud to host Moina, who speaks at neighborhood and community forums as “EveryMuslim” in the hope that people around her from other religions will feel free to approach her to learn about her life, her faith…&etc.

    How ’bout if MOINA does the outreach, instead of telling the rest of us to “approach her”? I’m sure her fellow Islamists would welcome that with their peaceful, open arms.

    But of course, the real reason that Moina doesn’t try to tell her fellow Muslims to adopt our American values and our Western culture is because she would most likely end up dead, the victim of another Islamist “honor killing”.

    So either Moina doesn’t understand, or she’s just running interference. And if she doesn’t understand, it’s like JSR says:

    “There are no moderate Muslims. There are only radical, fundamentalist jihadists and their faithful enablers.”

    And she’s one of them.

    Prove me wrong, Moina (and article author Samina Masood, too): Let’s set up a series of community meetings, open to both Americans and Muslims. They can explain to us why they refuse to assimilate, why they won’t call the police when they hear their co-religionists’ radical hate speech, and/or their hate-based intentions and plans.

    Then we can explain to them our Bill of Rights, and explain to them how they can assimilate into our culture. (AQmerican culture is far superior to theirs anyway. That’s why they left their hellholes to come here — the ones who didn’t come here to commit atrocities.)

    But that won’t happen, will it? Moina and Samina are chameleons, pretending to be “peacemakers”. But they’re not — or they would have adopted our culture’s values by now. One of those values is to report anyone who makes threats against the lives of innocent people. How many potential terrorists have Moina and Samina reported to the police? I suspect the answer is zero.

    Since Muslims are encouraged to lie to infidels, and we’re all infidels, it’s best to take them at their own Prophet’s word, and assume they’re lying to advance their agenda. But there’s not a word about any of that. It’s all unicorns and teddy bears — wishful thinking. That hasn’t worked in the past, ever.

    How many Americans must be murdered, before the scales fall from Ms Masood’s eyes? How many Western women will be brutally raped before she begins to understand that their barbaric culture is not compatible with Western values?

    The U.S. media is their enabler. What will it take for them to realize that for at least the past two centuries they would have been literally put on trial for treason? Were average Americans all off their rockers for the past couple hundred years, until the snowflake generation came along to set us straight?

    ‘Treason’ is such an old-timey word. It’s almost quaint. But here’s something to consider: when the inevitable Islamic nuke is detonated on American soil, there’s going to be a reckoning. “Traitor” may well become a popular word again.

    So why is SJI not asking the hard questions? Islam’s stated plan is to force their religion on the world. They have repeatedly said that, and they’ve made numerous other overt threats. Why are you giving them free publicity? So they’ll like us??

    “Everybody has a plan — until they get punched in the face.”
    ~ Mike Tyson

    Hint: They don’t like us! No matter what they say, they really do want us dead (or forcibly converted to their barbaric 7th Century religion). How many terrorist atrocities have to be perpetrated, before the media’s enablers stop censoring, and start to get it?