Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s had a profound impact on the history of social justice in the United States. The movement of active nonviolent resistance, spearheaded by Dr. King, led to the outlawing of racial discrimination and the start of universal social equality in the United States. The effectiveness of nonviolent resistance as promoted by Dr. King has for generations inspired many civil rights movements in the United States and around the world.
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the American Islamic Congress (AIC) is holding an event at its Center in Washington, D.C. to explore how lessons learned in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement may be applicable to the Middle East. We will hear a first-hand account of nonviolent protest from a Civil Rigths Movement veteran and explore how "The Montgomery Method" is applied to civil rights activism in the Middle East with an expert in the field.
In 2008, AIC translated into Arabic and Farsi "The Montgomery Story" comic book to promote nonviolent resistance. The comic was distributed throughout the Middle East and inspired people to conduct peaceful rather than violent protests.
To download a copy (English, Arabic, Farsi) or for more information about “The Montgomery Story," please click here.
9:30am - Registration and Welcome
10:00am - Panel Begins
10:45am - Q&A
11:00am - Event Concludes
Zainab Al-Suwaij, Co-Founder and Executive Director, American Islamic Congress
Zainab Al-Suwajj is co-founder of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) and has been its Executive Director since its inception in 2001. In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Zainab left her teaching position at Yale to launch AIC. Her mission was to build upon interfaith and interethnic understanding and to represent the diversity of American Muslim life. Over the past decade, Zainab’s leadership has expanded the AIC into an international organization with six bureaus worldwide, including the U.S., Egypt, Iraq, and Tunisia. Under her direction, AIC has trained hundreds of young Middle Eastern activists in the methods of nonviolent protest and social media mobilization, empowering them to challenge regimes during the “Arab Spring.”
Zainab’s article “The Civil Rights Model: Applying the ‘The Montgomery Method’ to the Middle East” was published in The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 10:33, 89-96 (2012). A copy of this article is provided to you courtesy of the Institute for Global Engagement.
Russell C. Campbell, Sr., Chairman, Human Rights Commission of Montgomery County, MD
Russell C. Campbell is a veteran leader of civil rights in the United States. As a front-line activist during the civil rights era, Mr. Campbell was involved in several sit-ins, protests, voter registration campaigns, and demonstrations, including the Albany Georgia demonstration with Martin Luther King. He was actively involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNCC), the Committee On Appeal of Human Rights (COAHR), and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helping to coordinate the efforts of the civil rights movement. Mr. Campbell is the founder of the United Council of African American Organizations in Montgomery County and the current Chairman of the Human Rights Commission for Montgomery County, MD.
Please direct inquiries to John Pinna, AIC Government Relations Director, john(at)aicongress.org and media inquiries to Aimée Chiu, AIC Communications Director, aimee(at)aicongress.org
Co-Sponsored by the Institute for Global Engagement.
Since 2007, the American Islamic Congress (AIC) has been leading one of the most vital and distinguished platforms for moderate Islamic and interfaith discussions through its frequent events and panel discussions. The events, designed to inform congressional leaders, Capitol Hill staffers, and the Washington policy community about Muslim issues in America and around the world, is central to AIC’s mission of building tolerance and fostering respect for civil and human rights. AIC has brought in leading voices in fields such as women’s rights, Islamic extremism, and democracy in Muslim majority countries. In addition to its ongoing lecture series, AIC provides briefings and discussions on the current and pertinent issues relating to the American Muslim community and issues relevant to U.S. foreign and domestic policy.
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