Muslim community members have approached IMAN Associates with different cases of school bullying, where their children have been harassed because of their race, religion or color. Hence, IMAN Associates has supported the passage of House Bill 1356. This bill would strengthen the reporting requirements, which would help policymakers and educators identify the scope of bullying in Indiana schools and address it accordingly.
On Monday, January 29, 2018, Hazem Bata testified on behalf of IMAN Associates at a House Education Committee hearing on House Bill 1356. Mr. Bata spoke to the need for accurate data on bullying, and told committee members about an incident that his own U.S.-born son experienced when several middle school classmates urged him to “go back to India.” HB 1356 had successfully passed the Senate and House floors and was signed into a law.
IMAN Associates seeks to take a more measured and informed position on future legislations related to school bullying. HB 1356 will help collect data and further our understanding of school bullying and allow IMAN Associates to make a more informed decision to support or oppose future legislation.
Rep. Jerry Torr with IMAN Associates’ President, Syed Ali Saeed; Executive Director, Hiba Alami (a constituent of Rep. Torr); and board member, Samia Alajlouni.
Sen. Victoria Spartz with IMAN Associates’ President, Syed Ali Saeed; Executive Director, Hiba Alami; member-at-large, Saimir Qalliu (a constituent of Sen. Spartz); and Zakir Akbar, Al Salam Foundation BOD member.
Sen. James Merritt, Jr. with IMAN Associates’ President, Syed Ali Saeed; Executive Director, Hiba Alami; and member-at-large, Dr. Majdi Abusaleh (a constituent of Sen. Merritt).
Muslim Day at the Indiana Statehouse:
"Muslim Day at the Indiana Statehouse" has presented another opportunity to build bridges with legislators. On February 22, 2018, Muslim Alliance of Indiana (MAI), in collaboration with IMAN Associates, held the event. Nearly 100 attendees, including 30 high school students, participated in the program. Asserting their civic and political engagement, attendees learnt about different topics being debated this legislative session, including Hate Crime Legislation, Bullying Legislation and Redistricting Reform. The event concluded with attendees meeting and greeting their legislators.
Special guests included Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Deputy Mayor David Hampton, speakers Judge David Shaheed, Rupal Thanawala, David Sklar, Dr. Khadija Khaja, Julia Vaughn, and Kathy Downey from Congressman Andre Carson's office.
2018 Mid-term Elections
In consistency with our strategic plan, IMAN Associates played a vital role in mobilizing the Muslim Hoosier votes to impact electoral races. To get the Muslim Hoosier community ready for mid-term elections, IMAN Associates, with the help of its Advisory Council Members and strategic partners, held: two candidate forums; Voter Registration Drives at three different mosques on Eid; and spearheaded the first data driven Muslim-to-Muslim Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Campaign in Indiana targeting registered Muslim Hoosier voters.
Al Salam Foundation “Meet Your Candidates” Forum: In collaboration with Al Salam Foundation, IMAN Associates held “Meet Your Candidates” forum on April 27, 2018 at Al Salam Foundation mosque. The forum hosted four candidates: Rep. Donna Schaibley, incumbent for House district 24; Naomi Bechtold, running for House District 24; Corrie Meyer, running for Senate District 29; and JD Ford, running for Senate District 29. The candidates shared the core values integral to their candidacy and answered the congregants' questions.
IMCA “Meet Your Candidates” Forum: In collaboration with IMCA, IMAN Associates has held “Meet Your Candidates” event on September 9, 2018 at Masjid Alfajr. The candidate forum focused on Secretary of State race. Although Sec. Connie Lawson (R) chose not to participate, candidates Jim Harper (D) and Mark Rutherford (L) were present and they elaborated on their political platforms. The IMCA congregation was heavily engaged and asked many questions specific to the role of Secretary of State and the core values the candidates will bring to the office.
Voter Registration Drives: IMAN Associates, in collaboration with Women for Change and MAI , ran voter registration drives at three different locations during Eid prayers: Grand Park in collaboration with Muslim Alliance of Indiana and Al-Salam Foundation; Lafayette Square Muslim Alliance of Indiana and IMCA; and Incrediplex Muslim Alliance of Indiana and Al-Huda Foundation.
The registration drives were aimed at registering Muslim community members to vote in mid-term elections. Community members completed a form to help collect demographical and voter data about the Central Indiana Muslim community. The participants also filled out a form questionnaire which asked them to rank political issues based on priority and importance. The information collected was pivotal and will help guide future advocacy efforts from IMAN Associates.
The First Muslim-to-Muslim GOTV Campaign in Indiana: In collaboration with Emgage and Faith in Indiana, IMAN Associates ran a bi-partisan GOTV Campaign in the few weeks leading up to Election Day. It was a unique GOTV campaign targeting the 2018 mid-term senatorial elections in State Senate District 29 (SD29). With the help of its collaborating partners, IMAN Associates was able to identify and compile a list of registered Muslim voters in Senate District 29, which includes portions of Hamilton, Marion and Boone counties. This district was strategically chosen for the targeted campaign because it is the most densely Muslim populated senate district in Indiana. Given the competitive nature of this race and the density of Muslim voters in district 29, Muslim Hoosiers had the unique opportunity to voice their political opinion and impact the electoral results in this high profile senate race.
40+ volunteers participated in two phone banks on October 10, 2018 and October 27, 2018 at Masjid Alfajr. They made 3,326 calls to registered Muslim voters in SD29, Hamilton and Marion counties; they left 681 voicemails and had 188 conversations and urged Muslim registered voters to get out the vote on or before Election Day. Response rate for this campaign is 26%, which speaks to its success.
2018 Community Outreach and Engagement
Community engagement is key to IMAN Associates’ Advocacy efforts. It is a two-way process that ensures the organization and the Indiana Muslim community are equally informed and engaged. IMAN Associates uses the following vehicles to cultivate community engagement:
With its unique structure, our Advisory Council keeps us informed of issues integral to our community and assists us with building consensus among the Indiana Muslim community on issues to advocate for or against in the Indiana General Assembly. Our Advisory Council includes representatives of different mosques, Islamic schools and organizations around the state of Indiana.
Throughout the year, IMAN Associates has strived to strengthen the ties with its Advisory Council members. It held meetings with numerous members to explain its scope of work and explore collaborative opportunities with them. We are delighted to have solid Advisory Council that includes the following mosques, Islamic centers, Islamic nonprofit organizations with their delegates:
- Northwest Indiana Islamic Center- Rami Musleh
- Al Salam Foundation- Ashhar Madni
- Indianapolis Muslim Community Association- Zainab Van-Horn Ali
- Al-Mumineen Mosque- Carolyn Ewing
- Muslim Alliance of Indiana- Aliya Amin
- Alhuda Foundation- Sajjad Shah
- Eman School- Ziad Jaradat
- Islamic School of Plainfield- Henry Hane
- Muslim Community Center- Amanda Dulaney
- Al-Hidayeh Mosque- Irfan Muneer
- Alhaqq Foundation- Nomi Siddiqui
IMAN Associates will build on this momentum and continue strengthening its relationship with Advisory Council members in this upcoming next year.
IMAN Associates believes in providing opportunities for the community to meet with legislators and obtain first hand knowledge about different legislative issues. In collaboration with Indianapolis Muslim Community Association (IMCA), IMAN Associates held “Meet Your Legislators” event. Rep. Edward Delaney and Judge David Shaheed engaged in a discussion about legislative issues, including Hate Crime legislation, and took questions from the attendees. The event took place on September 9, 2018 and was well-attended by a diverse audience of community members and school students.
Indianapolis Civic Roundtable Discussion: In partnership with MAI, Emgage and America Indivisible, IMAN Associates brought a Civic Roundtable Discussion to Indianapolis on December 4, 2018. State Representative Cherrish Pryor, Judge David Shaheed, City Councilor Joseph Simpson, City Councilor Zach Adamson, City Councilor Maggie Lewis and Mayor Hogsett's Neighborhood Advocate Hope Russo discussed with the attendees how Muslims across greater Indianapolis can get involved in civic spaces and build relationships with elected officials.
Biannual General Body Meeting: On April 29, 2018, IMAN Associates held its Biannual General Body Meeting at Faegre Baker Daniels. The meeting was attended by IMAN Associates’ members and Advisory Council members, and included an open forum that provided the attendees a chance to share their valuable insights with the organization’s Board of Directors. Moreover, it included an organizational update presented by Syed Ali Saeed, the organization’s President; a recap of the 2018 legislative session, presented by Elizabeth Kelley Cierzniak, Partner at Faegre Baker Daniels; and an educational session about Redistricting Reform, presented by Julia Vaughn, Policy Director at Common Cause Indiana. Jim Harper, running for Secretary of State, and Corrie Meyer, running for Senate District 29, joined the meeting and shared their candidacy platforms with the audience.
2018 Strategic Partnerships
Proceeding with the belief "Working together for a bigger impact", IMAN Associates has identified strategic partners nationally and locally to collaborate with and have impact in the following areas:
- Community Engagement: partnering with Muslim Alliance of Indiana and America Indivisible
- Voter Registration Drive: partnering with Muslim Alliance of Indiana and Women 4 Change
- GOTV Campaign: partnering with Emgage and Faith in Indiana
IMAN Associates will continue to work with its Advisory Council Members and other national and local strategic partners on collaborative efforts aimed at fulfilling its mission and accomplishing its goals.
Created with images by Richie Lim - "The Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis" • rawpixel - "untitled image"