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300+ Attend MPAC's 'Crisis of ISIS' Event

October 31, 2014


With the incessant violence in the Middle East caused by violent extremism, Muslims are asking each other a major question nowadays: “what can we do?” It seems impossible to actually do anything here about something that is being caused by fanatics in another part of the world, but in reality, there is a lot we can do to combat groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). An event that took place last Friday, October 17th answered that question for the Greater Los Angeles Muslim community.

With approximately 300 attendees, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) in partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) hosted an event titled, “The Crisis of ISIS: The Community’s Role and Response.” The forum discussion took place at the Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley’s (ICSGV) beautiful mosque, and was moderated by the center’s Ashraf Jakvani and CAIR’s Haroon Manjlai.

On the panel discussion was Dr. Muzzamil Siddiqi, the Religious Director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, who opened up the event, speaking about the reasons why groups like ISIS are un-Islamic. Usman Asrar, the youth advisor of ICSGV, also spoke at the event, alongside Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-LA’s Executive Director, Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC, and Shaykh Abu-Haitham of ICSGV.

On the panel, Dr. Siddiqi addressed the serious issue that American society is facing: the public perception of Muslims and Islam due to the atrocious crimes of ISIS and why this violent and dangerous group completely contradicts the Islamic values of mercy and compassion. The value of equality and justice that Islam advocates for among all citizens of a society is unlike the principles that groups like ISIS promote. Hussam Ayloush of CAIR discussed the importance of engaging with our governments and putting pressure on them to stop their foreign policies of engagement with governments who support occupations, oppression, and crimes against humanity. He also urged our imams and scholars to continue condemning groups like ISIS, and refuting and challenging their form of “Islam.”

Salam Al-Marayati of MPAC spoke about the Muslim American model that all should follow in order to declare our independence from groups like ISIS who have hijacked our religion and turned it into a ferocious killing machine. Muslim Americans need to engage themselves in society in order to display our values of mercy and equality for all citizens of a state. Our daily actions and involvement in the greater American society is the key to defeating the perception of Islam that groups like ISIS are spreading.

Following the forum was a Question and Answer session in which the audience was given the opportunity to engage in the discussion by asking the panelists their questions of how they can go about talking to people about ISIS, and what they can do in their personal lives to combat the violence.

Highlighting the differences between Islam and ISIS, Al-Marayati said that “Islam stands for growth. ISIS stands for destruction. Islam stands for mercy. ISIS stands for injustice. Islam stands for life. ISIS stands for death,” said Salam Al-Marayati.

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