600+ Attend 'Let's Be Honest', A Frank Discussion about Taboo Subjects

Many Participated via Webcast

July 12, 2012

Last night, the Muslim Public Affairs Council along with the All Dulles American Muslims (ADAMS) Center Youth Group hosted a groundbreaking event – “Let's Be Honest: Getting Beyond the Taboos of Our Community.” With more than 600 in attendance, the main hall of the ADAMS Center was standing-room only for the energetic discussion.
SEE: Photo Album from 'Let's Be Honest' (Facebook)
“This evening’s event was a major step in the right direction for our community in reaching a level of comfort, trust and openness on issues many of us are facing,” said Yasmin Hussein, MPAC’s Young Leaders Program Coordinator. “Many young people are looking for leaders and role models in the community they can relate to and confide in when being faced with issues of identity, addictions and sexuality.”

The event featured prominent speakers Salma Abugideiri Co-Director of the Peaceful Projects and a local therapist, Sheikh AbdulNasir Jangda who is the Founder and Director of the Qalam Institute in Dallas,  Edina Lekovic, MPAC's Director of Policy and Programming and Imam Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Boston.
The forum was an opportunity to ask pressing questions in an effort to move the community toward a more open, and vitally important, space to discuss taboo issues. The panel opened the dialogue by noting the current difficulties community members face such as mental health, gender relations and family dynamics.
“Taboo isn’t an Islamic concept,” Imam Webb said. ”The Ansar women were renowned for determinedly asking questions. So ask away; you’re allowed to.”

"At the core of our community's challenges is the critical need for confidence and compassion,” Lekovic said. “A lack of confidence impacts everything from identity and belonging in our greater society to women asserting themselves in leadership roles within our community. Just as critical is the need for us to practice greater compassion in our everyday lives, which is the most frequently repeated message in the Quran and includes how we treat everything from Muslim women who don't wear hijab to people who are gay.  Hijab cannot be a litmus test for the participation of women in masjid affairs.It is not our job to judge, that is God's job alone. Our responsibility is to uphold mercy toward all."

In addition to those in attendance, the program was broadcast via webcast, where many submitted questions and engaged in conversation via Facebook and Twitter. Follow the conversation via hashtag #LetsBeHonest.
The panel discussion was part of MPAC's Young Leader Government Summit that is currently immersing 25 college students from around the country in our political system. The delegates have met with elected officials, think tanks and leaders.
ALSO SEE: Follow the Young Leaders Government Summit's Delegates Adventures (Facebook)
For more information about MPAC’s Young Leaders Programming and upcoming community events in Washington, DC, please email Young Leaders Program Coordinator, Yasmin Hussein at Yasmin@mpac.org.
Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims.
[CONTACT: Marium Mohiuddin, 323-258-6722, marium@mpac.org

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