The collective voice of Muslims and people of faith is essential for creating a better future for our communities and our nation. Guided by Islamic values and fueled by American ideals, now more than ever, we have to ensure our faith and relationships result in the betterment of all.
As an organization committed to changing the world around us through multi-faith and civic engagement, defining our beliefs and code of conduct is essential.
This is what we believe—today and every day.
We believe our faith is essential
We are a faith-based organization, but that does not mean our vision is narrow. We approach issues through the lens of American Muslims, not because we focus solely on issues that affect the Muslim community, but because we believe the Muslim community can be a thought leader on a wide array of topics.
We believe religion has a place in politics, meaning that God guides our decisions and that our faith steers our moral compass. It is nearly impossible to entirely remove faith from our advocacy, as it colors how we view the world.
Still, we will never leverage our community to further a political agenda. We will not wield religious ideology for political gain, and we do not support any effort to use our community’s beliefs as vessels for political maneuvering and opportunism. Our religion is a guide, not a partisan tool.
“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under.”
– Ronald Reagan (40th President of the United States)
We believe faith communities working together is the foundation for change
Interfaith work is essential to what we do and is a key element of our equation for creating sustainable change. It involves cooperation and communication with people of varying beliefs. Our goal is not to change minds but to find ways to live in amity with others.
Bringing together communities of faith allows us to find both the commonalities and the differences that exist between individuals and groups. When we can identify intersectionality, we can begin to have productive conversations with those who differ from us and begin to solve the problems we have in common.
The policies we pursue are multi-faith in nature. Since our coalitions include all faith communities, our policy concerns benefit all of our partners. For example, when we address freedom of religion, we address the freedom of all religions. We believe that any action we support should intrinsically result in the betterment of all.
Modeling this idea, Minaret Foundation’s staff is multi-faith or belonging to no faith. We have a diversified workforce who hold different viewpoints, but we come together because of our desire to better our communities and country.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford (Founder of Ford Motor Co.)
We believe advocacy is the best tool for change
There is an intrinsic distinction between advocacy and activism. Both approaches aim to bring about social change, however, activism often involves working outside the “system”. Activism plays an essential role in developing solutions to social problems. Those adhering to this strategy are vital partners in our mission, and their techniques are decidedly valuable to our organization. But this strategy is not ours.
Advocacy tends to work within the “system.” We play an active role in communicating directly with policymakers in positions to implement concrete measures so that the changes we suggest are material and sustainable.
“All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.” – Samantha Power (Former US Ambassador to the UN)
We believe relationships strengthen our nation
Relationship-building is our core. Through multi-faith programming and partnerships with faith leaders, we’re applying our spirituality to better serve our communities by furthering policies that affect all.
With diverse alliances and established relationships, we can tackle our core issues by ensuring all nuances are understood and addressed.
Relationship-building does not happen overnight. It is a continuous process, one that can take years. Maintaining relationships is just as important as forming new ones. Otherwise, we risk forfeiting the very coalitions we built that are necessary for sustainable development.
“We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together, and if we are to live together, we have to talk.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt (Former First Lady of the United States)
We believe in engaging everyone
Our advocacy entails actions intended to promote the interests of others, particularly groups that are overlooked, underserved, or at risk of having their rights abridged.
To confront our core issues as an advocacy organization, we must set aside our differences and focus on creating sustainable solutions for our children. If we pick and choose with whom we work based on a puritanical mindset, we close ourselves off to the possibility of robust, enduring solutions. This means that for us, there is no pretext to conversation. If a person or organization is willing, in good faith, to discuss solutions to issues that are important to us, we are happy to work with them.
Sometimes, we must establish relationships with those who see the world very differently. We know how difficult these interactions are. They aren’t always comfortable for us. When we meet with those who hold views antithetical to ours, it is not because we are validating those beliefs. It is because these relationships may be a pathway to furthering ideas within our core issues of child welfare, community cohesion, food insecurity, or religious freedom.
Our vision is resolute, and our goal is singular: to lift the voices of American Muslims for sustainable change for all. Sometimes, that requires reaching out to those with whom we do not see eye-to-eye.
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
– Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Civil Rights Champion)
We believe in the push and pull of bipartisanship
Minaret Foundation’s advocacy work is hyper-bipartisanship. This is more than the two-party political system; it reassesses how we approach others and encourages us to view each other as individuals.
This means that we try not to let emotional predispositions muddy existing and future relationships. It can be challenging to work with those who do not share similar worldviews. These relationships can be tricky. But here at Minaret Foundation, we find that not giving up on these relationships can be as rewarding as challenging. We are here to work for all Americans. That means setting aside our egos to do just that.
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
– John F. Kennedy (35th President of the United States)
We believe in the value of small steps
Working within the world of policy often necessitates incrementalism. We are looking for sustainable solutions and systemic change, not quick fixes. However, to get this, we must work slowly and meticulously to implement policy after policy to rebuild broken or buttressing existing systems piece by piece. Ultimately, these add up to profound advancements. While this means that there are few overnight fixes, this also means that our changes are both secure and lasting.
We also know many different issues are affecting the Muslim community and our nation that must be addressed. While we would love to address every segment, like other non-profits, we are limited by our resources and restricted to our mission and core issues. In the meantime, we pray that we can eventually be of benefit and service to all those in need.
“Make incremental progress, changes comes not by the yard, but by the inch.” – Rick Pitino