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Countering hate, building resilient communities

Through interfaith work, public affairs and civic engagement efforts, Muslim American Society of Minnesota is bringing together individuals.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

We have assembled a group of programs that are changing the way people from different cultural, religious & socioeconomic backgrounds are connecting. Through trial and success/error, we are bringing worlds together through understanding, respect & love. Muslim Day at the Capital: MDAC was formed in 2005 to provide Muslims a viable path to leadership in American society. MDAC encourages civic engagement by connecting Muslims to their legislators, educates them about government & encourages them to step up for public service. By teaching participants how to advocate, MDAC seeks to authentically integrate Muslims into the fabric of American society. In 2018, a coalition of 51 Muslim & 10 non-Muslim organizations co-sponsored MDAC. Taking Heart (TH interfaith dinner program): In partnership with Minnesota Council of Churches, the Taking Heart program started in 2005 to bring Christians and Muslims together over an Iftar meal and conversation. It breaks down stereotypes and fosters healthy interfaith relationships and understanding through the blessing of hospitality. It is regular people of different faiths talking over an Iftar meal at a Mosque. Rabbi Iman Round Table: Rabbi Imam Round Table was developed in 2011 and is a group of 10 Imams & Rabbis who meet regularly to network & study religious texts of both faiths. It serves as a critical behind-the-scenes forum for leaders from the Jewish and Muslim communities to form relationships that are reflected in joint activities and programs. This program is unique in the US. Muslim Coalition-ISAIAH ISAIAH helps build the power of Minnesota’s faith communities through: 1)We equip people of faith to act as skilled advocates for themselves & communities. 2)We build public support for changes that improve life for low-income people, people of color, immigrants & other disadvantaged groups. 3)We use public education strategies to shift the civic conversation so it values caring, connection, community & inclusion.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

MAS MN serves Muslims and non-Muslims throughout the state of Minnesota through the three Masjids we operate and our numerous community-focused programs. The number of Muslims in Minnesota is estimated to be at least 150,000, many in the Twin Cities. There are 73 Masjids/Islamic Centers in Minnesota. It is also important to note the origin of Minnesota’s Muslim populations. According to Minnesota Council of Churches, 45% of the population is first-generation American; 4% are Arab; 38% are immigrants; and 17% are multi-generational.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

What we are doing to build community and openness is completely unique to Minnesota. We have always been active in connecting groups and individuals, which has allowed us to build strong relationships with a large group of diverse community-based organizations. We know we are stronger when we pool our resources and gather ideas and expertise from multiple sources and groups. Our organization has also adopted a culture of not being afraid to fail. We have moved beyond the idea that we have to be perfect all the time. Because the definition of perfection is truly arbitrary. We know that that fear is the enemy of community building, and that we can offer so much more to our community if we just try a program or service. This is not to say that thought and planning do not go into each project we put our efforts behind; we are just always prepared to try and not be disappointed if there is failure involved in the process.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Majority Adoption: I have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

MAS MN began in 2003 as a religious organization operating three Masjids (Islamic Centers, providing religious programming and youth programs), but we soon recognized a need to be much more than than a religious organization to best serve our community- with this we pledged to be a it is a community organization committed to making Minnesota a better place for all Minnesotans. Website:

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

We find that a level of Islamaphobia is exploited every election cycle and on a normal basis through polarizing political figure. And because of this Islamaphobia continues to grow in our state and around the nation. We believe this is unacceptable and creates a level of disruption for everyone (practicing Muslims or not) in our community. We are done with seeing the amount of effort that goes into dividing groups, when that effort could got toward creating deep understanding and ties that bind our community- in turn making it stronger. We have become experts in creating tangible ways to bring communities together and affect positive change. With this funding we will be able to further expand our programming and become a model for organizations looking to do similar work across the United States.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Our partners are numerous throughout Minnesota and share a similar goal sharing understanding and building connections: These groups include: Mosques & Synagogues from throughout Minnesota; Minnesota Council of Churches; and numerous political partners in the Minnesota State Government. MASMN is also excited to recently have joined ISAIAH, an interfaith organization. We are proud to be leading coalition of 24 mosques in joining ISAIAH. The group is advocating and connecting faith organizations with methods of civic engagement. This diverse group of partner organizations works with us to help accomplish our goals of creating a community that understands each other and celebrates our differences and similarities.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

MASMN is made up of an active volunteer and stakeholder force. The power of numbers cannot be disputed when building connections to make our community strong. With more than 300 volunteers, the organization is ready to hear new ideas based on the needs our volunteers are seeing in the community. Then the entire organization can come together to analyze this need and brainstorm a solution that MASMN can provide.

Geographic Focus

Minneapolis/St. Paul and the greater community of Minnesota.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)


Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

Attachments (1)

Countering hate, building resilient communities_ Outcomes.pdf

Outcomes of Countering hate, building resilient communities.


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