If there is one single event which changed the world, then that event is September 11 (2001). For example, there was a radical change in the perception on the Muslim Americans in the US. In some cases, some Americans would view them as terrorists. Concerned individuals sought to address this issues. And the American Islamic Congress (AIC) was born. The organization has its headquarters in New York with other offices in Baghdad, Tunis, Basrah, and Boston. It has the approval of the US government and receives significant funding from it.
The main role of AIC is to overcome the perception that the Muslims have a strong leaning to terrorism. One of the platforms that AIC uses is the interfaith as well as interethnic platforms. For example, a number of universities in the US have student-led AIC initiatives that aims at fostering integration between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Fight Against Extremism
AIC has admitted that a significant number of muslims have executed or supported terrorist activities citing their commitment to religion. It has stated that the Islamic religion does not allow or encourage terrorism.
Civil and Human Rights
AIC has given attention to the issue of civil and human rights. It has focused its work on the countries in Africa and the Middle East. For example, Project Nur has trained upcoming leaders who will later take on the mantel of addressing civil and human rights cases.
Empowering Vulnerable Groups
AIC has made several initiatives in order to create political awareness among vulnerable groups. It has encouraged such groups to be more pro-active in taking part in the political processes of their respective countries. At the core of this initiatives is capacity building among the young people as well as women. One of such initiatives is the Citizenship Academy Project which is based in Tunisia.
A Voice for Muslim Americans
AIC has aimed at giving a voice to the Muslim Americans in order to help them achieve their national and international goals and objectives. For example, the organization has raised awareness to the American administration on various pertinent issues that affect the Muslim community.
AIC has sponsored a number of multi-cultural initiatives. These include the following:
- The Dream Differed contest: This is an essay contest that has been inspired by Hughes literature. The main aim of the contest is to look into perspective the issues surrounding the dreams that Muslim Americans have in the US, and how the failure to achieve them affects them.
- Eye to Heart is a film competition which encourages the people to embrace positive values as well as achieve social change. The contest takes place in the Middle East.
- The Online Activism Institute is based in the Middle East. It provides free courses on positive leadership, social entrepreneurship, and activism.
AIC has pledged to defend the rights of Muslim Americans and empower them. Overall, the main goal of AIC is the provision of an alternative voice to the Muslims that is based on civic identity which is grounded in the concept of progressive thought and a pluralistic life.