MPAC & Irvine Mosque Discuss Taboo Topics at ‘Let’s Be Honest’ Forum

October 1, 2013

On Friday, Sept. 27, the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI) and MPAC partnered to host a packed community forum called “Let's Be Honest: Getting Beyond the Taboos of Our Community." The conversation featured MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati, marriage and family therapist Noha Alshugairi, ICOI Resident Scholar Sheikh Jamaal Diwan and Program Services Manager at Girls Inc., Noreen Rahman. The forum was moderated by MPAC’s Director of Policy and Programming, Edina Lekovic

"This event is about breaking the silence between generations, cultures and genders," Lekovic said before the conversation started. "We have to face the tough issues head on and talk frankly about how to handle them, whether it’s about marriage, identity, sexuality, mental health, sectarian relations or interfaith relations."

During the two-hour event, more than 75 audience members submitted more than a dozen questions on a wide array of topics, which including identity formation in youth, mental health, parenting, sectarian relations, the intersection between ethnic and religious identity and the gap between mosques and their members.

"As we talk about taboo issues, we need to keep in mind the extent and scale by which these issues are happening," said Alshugairi. "A taboo issue that concerns me greatly right now is our young people's alienation from Islam. More and more young people are telling me that Islam does not click for them. It does not hold meaning and value for them. This saddens me greatly and it just pierces my heart."

Since Summer 2011, MPAC has held a series of “Let’s Be Honest” forums in the Washington, DC, area and Southern California, which have been attended by almost 1,000 community members. Alshugairi and Al-Marayati also examined the role parents must take in meeting the ever-changing needs of their children.

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