The Ties that Bind: Celebrating American and American-Muslim Interdependence

The names of all organizations who will be involved in the service activity: Muslim Public Service Network in Washington, D.C. along with one public school serving children and youth in grades K-8 in the following cities: Houston and Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, Boston, Massachusetts, and Detroit, Michigan.

 

How the service activity will:

1) Address a community need or challenge: September 11, 2001 marked a turning in the politics and policy of our nation both domestically and abroad. This tragic event has shattered many lives, while also revealing our profound capacity to heal.  Over the past 10 years, the most visible effects of the attacks may have subsided but the impact on our national dialogue and national identity has intensified. Younger generations of Americans who do not have direct memory of the events of 9/11 must be engaged in understanding the significance of this tragedy to our collective national memory, and to explore the impact this event continues to have on all our lives.  

 

2) Commemorate the losses on September 11, 2001 and honor the service and sacrifices of those who have responded since that day: Young generations of Americans will learn to acknowledge this day as a civic holiday and perform their civic duty of volunteer service in commemoration of the heroic responses that have taken place since 9/11. Students will interact with firemen, policemen, and other first responders to the tragedy. This interaction is intended to engage students in learning how to cope positively with current world issues, and to recognize the direct impact of these macro issues on their daily lives and their developing perspectives. All activities culminate with students adopting a charity or cause that they can support personally or as a group—specifically on 9/11, or any other day or period of time they designate. We have found that projects work best if students can support and monitor a cause over a period of time. The selected cause can be connected to a charitable organization or it can be personal. Students may elect to create a group project in which the entire class selects a single cause it intends to support for the day or, preferably, for an extended period of time.

 

The number of volunteers expected: There will be 25 volunteers in each of the seven cities totaling 175 volunteers across the country.

What volunteers are expected to accomplish through their service: Volunteers will share their experience with students and lead activities directed by lesson plans and including books, newspaper articles, and advice exploring topics of diversity, conflict resolution, and tolerance.

 

How will you will promote the Day of Service and Remembrance: MPSN’s national network of alumni will use technology and online social networking and other media outlets such as Facebook, MPSN’s website, blog, and Twitter accounts to chronicle the organization’s activities.

 

About the Organization: The Muslim Public Service Network (“MPSN”), formerly known as the Muslim Student Network, was founded in 1994 and was the first internship program in Washington, D.C. for Muslim college and graduate students. It was founded in San Francisco by Iffat Quraishi, a schoolteacher, and her husband Marghoob Quraishi. The Quraishis began their work with Muslim youth in the early 1960s, when they also founded the California-based Muslim Youth Camp. Their focus was influenced by being the parents of four American-Muslim children, and they saw the coming generations of American-Muslims as the community’s most precious resource. Until August 2005, the Muslim Student Network operated under the umbrella of the Islamic Education Institute, a California-based nonprofit. In August of 2005, the MPSN was incorporated in Washington, D.C. as a separate 501(c) 3 with the aim of allowing for a more inclusive program that more accurately reflects the organization's purpose for forming.

 

Our primary focus is promoting the commitment of American-Muslims to public service. That commitment is demonstrated through our annual Summer Fellowship Program that works to foster critical dialogue on civic engagement and public policy issues regarding American-Muslim relations amongst communities nationwide. MPSN’s fellowship program collaborates with undergraduate and graduate level American-Muslim university students and public policy practitioners and researchers. MPSN’s fellows include American citizens who are immigrants as well as second and third generation American-Muslims. MPSN fellows represent American-Muslim students with a record of high achievement coming from around the country and with mastery across a range of academic disciplines. Guest speakers come from various institutions in Washington, DC, including federal agencies, congressional offices, public policy think tanks, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and media outlets. Our program creates platforms for activating and engaging pertinent conversations with decision-makers in the nation’s most powerful city.

 

 

The MPSN program provides a unique perspective on Islamic core values, traditions, and identity and has become one of the premier summer internship programs in the D.C. garnering support from leading Congressional representatives as well as from Professors at institutions of higher education nationwide. Since completing the program, MPSN alumni have pursued public service careers with prestigious organizations, including senior positions in the Obama and Bush administrations, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. House of Representatives, and the United Nations. Several alumni have also gone on to receive Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman Scholarships.  Our forum embraces diversity for all members of the community that reflect the ideals of acceptance, accommodation, and respect.