Indiana Muslim AdvocacyNetwork 2018 Year in Review

Message from IMAN Associates President, Syed Ali Saeed

I want to congratulate and thank IMAN Associates' supporters, staff and volunteers for their commitment and trust. I am incredibly proud of what IMAN Associates and its dedicated team has accomplished in its first year. We started this year hoping to merely be part of the process, gain experience and be of marginal assistance to our strategic partners. However, to our surprise, IMAN Associates became more than just a bystander on the political scene.

We spent this year advocating for Muslim Hoosiers, educating our constituents, and mobilizing the Muslim vote. IMAN Associates was both active and effective in its advocacy on behalf of Hoosier Muslims. The impact was real and meaningful. Next year, we hope to build upon this encouraging start and further justify your confidence in us. It is your contributions and support that has fueled our efforts and it is your vision which drive our focus. Please continue supporting your vision of empowering the political voice of Muslim Hoosiers. Thank you.

A Sneak Peak into IMAN Associates

Mission: Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network (IMAN Associates) will strive to provide Muslim Hoosiers an educated, organized and amplified political voice advocating for positive civic and political changes in the State of Indiana.

Vision: To help nurture an organized, informed and engaged Indiana Muslim Community with a unified, prominent and influential political voice.

IMAN Associates Board of Directors: The organization is blessed to have a dedicated Board of Directors who is relentlessly steering the organization into the right direction. Over the last year, they have volunteered their time and talent to provide full support to the organization. Our committed Board of Directors includes:

  • Syed Ali Saeed, President
  • Judge David Shaheed, Vice President
  • Mahmood Iqbal, Treasurer
  • Samia Alajlouni, Secretary
  • Ahmad Rami Saltagi
  • Asif Ansari
  • Eyas Raddad
  • Adam Paarlberg

Special Thanks to various volunteer committee members who have served IMAN Associates in different capacities and contributed to the success of many initiatives. We are grateful to the following committee members for their unwavering support:

  • Nadeem Siddiki
  • Saimir Qalliu
  • Sameer Habib
  • Nabeel Farooqui
  • Ashhar Madni
  • Mohammed Sabeehullah
2018 Legislative Session and Advocacy

2018 legislative session has been remarkable for IMAN Associates. Two legislative bills were of significant importance to the organization and the Muslim Hoosier community: Bias Crime Legislation and Anti-bullying Legislation.

Bias Crime Legislation:

Bias Crime Legislation (Senate Bill 418) was proposed on the Senate floor in the first few weeks of the legislative session. Authored by three Republicans – Sen. Sue Glick, Sen. John Ruckelshaus, and Sen. Mike Bohacek -- SB 418 would make it an aggravating circumstance for purposes of imposing a criminal sentence if the crime was committed because of the victim’s perceived or actual race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to report bias motivated crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Committee chairman, Sen. Mike Young, offered an amendment that would remove gender identity from the list of actual or perceived characteristics that could serve as the basis for a bias-motivated crime. IMAN Associates has joined Central Indiana Alliance Against Hate and advocated for the passage of an all-inclusive legislation that did not exclude one or more of the targeted minorities from the protections of the bill. Senate Bill 418 was withdrawn from further consideration after the Republican-controlled caucus was unable to reach consensus on which groups should be included, and the bill was announced dead for the 2018 legislative session.

Given that Bias Crime Legislation is on Governor Holcomb’ agenda for 2019 Legislative Session, IMAN Associates will continue to work with other members of the Central Indiana Alliance Against Hate to educate legislators about hate crimes and lay the groundwork for a successful effort in 2019.

Anti-Bullying Legislation:

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.

2018 Building Bridges with Legislators

One of the most fundamental components of our legislative advocacy is to build bridges with our state legislators. IMAN Associates met with a number of legislators in the last year, including Rep. Jerry Torr, Sen. Victoria Spartz and Sen. James Merritt, Jr. to inform them of the vibrant and growing Muslim community in the state of Indiana and learn about their legislative agendas for the 2019 Legislative Session. Moreover, Muslim community members, who are constituents of those legislators, accompanied IMAN Associates on these meetings. IMAN Associates is proud to serve as the liaison between the Indiana Muslim community and elected officials and public policy leaders.

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.

Mayor Deputy David Hampton, Dr. Khadija Khaja and Muslim Hoosiers at the Indiana Statehouse
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.

Candidate Forums:

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.

Rep. Donna Schaibley, candidates Corrie Meyer, JD Ford, and Naomi Bechtold addressing the audience.

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.

Candidates Jim Harper and Mark Rutherford addressing the IMCA congregants.

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.

Muslim Hoosiers registering to vote during Eid prayer.

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.

Our committed volunteers who made the two phone banks possible. We are grateful for your efforts!
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:

Advisory Council:

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.

Community Events:

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.

Rep. Edward Delaney and Judge Shaheed at IMCA

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.

Government officials and Muslim community members at the Civic Roundtable Discussion

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.

IMAN Associates' board member, Eyas Raddad, leading an open discussion with the attendees; IMAN Associates' President, Syed Ali Saeed, providing an organizational update; Candidates Jim Harper and Corrie Meyer sharing their political platforms with the attendees.

IMAN Associates Strategic Planning Session: On May 19, 2018, IMAN Associates held a Strategic Planning session, where Board of Directors, engaged members and a number of Advisory Council members met and created a strategic plan that charts the organization’s future for the next five years. The attendees ran context analysis as well as SWOT analysis and came up with the following strategic goals and their levers:

  • Mobilize Muslim votes to a level that attracts politicians' attention
  • Build a strong social media presence
  • Grow and diversify our donor base to match needed financial resources and achieve sustainability
  • Play an active role in affecting legislative change

IMAN Associates will strive to achieve these goals in the course of the next five years.

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.

2018 Budget and Finances

IMAN Associates' operational costs are covered entirely by the generous private donors of our membership program, and the Monthly Sustainers program. Introduced early 2018, the monthly sustainers program provides donors the convenience of supporting the organization on a monthly basis while contributing to the organization's financial sustainability. The 2018 comprehensive financial report, scheduled to be released to our membership late January 2019, will give an insight into this Monthly Sustainers program, as well as an in depth analysis of the 2018 finances and projections for 2019 fiscal year. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we received so far and we strive to grow our budget to continue our journey in amplifying the political voice of Muslim Hoosiers and advocating on their behalf in the Indiana Statehouse.

Thank You

2018 has been a remarkable year for IMAN Associates. Our heartfelt thanks go to all our donors, supporters and volunteers who helped make it possible.


Created with images by Richie Lim - "The Indiana State Capitol, Indianapolis" • rawpixel - "untitled image"

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