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Meet a Muslim

February 22, 2017
Audience
Adult
College Students
Community Members
Older Adults / Seniors
Young Adult
Budget
$101-250
Advance Planning

I started planning this program about three months in advance. We got a program suggestion from a regular member who had gone to Shaiq's program at a neighboring library. I contacted her, set a date and asked her to send me publicity materials.

Marketing

I promoted this program with fliers in the library, on our online calendar, on Facebook, in our local newspaper and on EventBrite. I started promotion a little over a month before the program.

Budget Details

Moina Shaiq charged $150. No other costs were incurred.

Day-of-event Activity

Set-up was easy. I put out 40 chairs, theater-style, with a table up front for Shaiq's educational literature and a table in the back to display library materials on the topic. I normally don't stay in programs. However, because of the sensitive nature of the topic, I decided I should be there just in case. I was the only staff member needed.

Program Execution

The program went very well. About 30 people attended (which is a lot for my library) on a dark winter night with a storm raging outside. I think if the weather had been better, we could have gotten twice that.

Almost everyone was interested, engaged and positive. Only one person seemed hostile, but it didn't last long. Throughout the event Shaiq discussed topics such as Shariah, what it means and doesn't mean, and how it relates to different laws. She also talked about the difference between culture and religion, the meanings behind various head coverings and the role of women in Islam.

I stayed after to talk to the community members, and the reaction was hugely positive. I feel like I achieved my goals of fostering understanding in our community.

The success of this program let me know that the community was interested in these kinds of discussions and empowered me to schedule a free screening of the documentary "The 13th" and a program on unconscious biases.

Short Title
Meet a Muslim

The Meet a Muslim program was founded by Moina Shaiq, a longtime resident of Fremont, our neighbor city to the north. After the San Bernadino shootings, Shaiq was moved to start educating people on what Muslims actually believe.

In this program, she gives a brief biography of herself and then invites the audience to ask questions. If people are shy to begin, she has a list of commonly asked questions to start with, and then people start asking their own. She says that no question will offend her since she is there to educate and build bridges.

  • Moina Shaiq talks to the crowd.
    Moina Shaiq addresses the crowd. Photo credit: Shoshana Francis
  • Moina Shaiq talks to the crowd.
    Moina Shaiq talks to the crowd and answers questions about Islam. Photo credit: Shoshana Francis
Summary

A California library gave patrons the chance to learn about Islam by speaking to a practicing Muslim.