#ISNA53: How can we bridge the gap of poverty within our community?

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Home » Challenges » #ISNA53: How can we bridge the gap of poverty within our community?
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Challenge Synopsis

At ISNA's 53rd Annual Convention, they will be hosting a series of roundtable sessions covering a range of topics that are relevant to the Muslim community. For the first time, ISNA is partnering with Whitestone Foundation and providing members an opportunity to participate in select roundtable conversations prior and following the convention. 

If you are attending ISNA, make sure you register to attend the Roundtable Discussion in-person before spots are filled up! Go here to register: Roundtable Discussions Registration


One of these roundtables addresses the issues around poverty within our community. Poverty is a pervasive and overlooked crisis within the Muslim American population. The attendant dangers of poverty are more grave amid the protracting "War on Terror" where state scrutiny and suspicion are disparately focused on indigent and working class Muslim American communities. We will lead a discussion with participants on poverty and its attendant perils, and how to mitigate the dangers within vulnerable Muslim American spaces.


This roundtable will seek to address this questions, by focusing on the following:

  1. Who is responsible for the existence and continuation of poverty? Is it the individual that should simply work harder, or the larger society’s failure to provide resources and opportunity? Additionally, do we as individuals, who are not impoverished, contribute in anyway to systems of poverty?
  2. What are underlying factors that shape how the American Muslim community views poverty? For example: (1) We tend to view ourselves as a strictly professional class of people; one of the most affluent groups in America, but is that the whole story? (2) Do we view poverty through racial lenses?
  3. What are the best solutions for addressing poverty in a significant way? Stated another way, who is in the best position to address poverty: governments through welfare programs or basic income, private non-profits, or joint ventures?


Speakers: Khaled Beydoun, Asha Noor, Salim Patel, Yasir Fahmy

Facilitator: Abdul-Basit Haqq

When commenting, please reference which of the 3 questions you are addressing. 

What now?

Now that the convention is over, what do we do with the conversations we had? Some great solutions were suggested and made during the roundtable discussion. How can we effectively implement them at a local level?

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