Project Nur is an initiative started by the American Islamic Congress (AIC).
The American Islamic Congress was founded in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States. AIC was founded by a group of diverse Americans who, in the vacuum of progressive American Muslim voices post-9/11, sought to fill the void. In the immediate time following 9/11, AIC worked to combat negative stereotyping of Muslim Americans, focusing on hate speech and hate crimes against Muslims. Simultaneously, the organization became a platform for Muslims to speak out against extremism and terrorism conducted in the name of Islam. The work expanded to include human and civil rights issues throughout the Muslim world, specifically the Middle East and North Africa. AIC sought to create an alternative, pluralistic American Muslim voice that incorporates both these domestic and international goals.
In the years since 9/11, AIC has worked to change the discourse both within the American Muslim community and in American society about coexistence, democratic freedom, and humanitarian issues. AIC has done so by organizing numerous interfaith and interethnic events, providing discussion guides and educational curriculum to the public, and launching a student-led initiative, Project Nur, in American universities. A decade and half later, the aim of the American Islamic Congress remains the same: to provide an alternative Muslim voice and civic identity grounded in pluralism and progressive thought to the American society.
AIC’s Mission: The American Islamic Congress is a nonprofit, non-religious, civil society development organization serving Muslims and Non-Muslims by promoting civil and human rights through advocacy, engagement and education.
AIC’s Statement of Principles: Muslims have been profoundly influenced by our encounter with the United States. American Muslims are a minority group, largely comprised of African-Americans, converts, immigrants, and the children of immigrants who have prospered in America’s climate of religious tolerance and civil rights. Our community must carefully consider the lessons of our unprecedented experience of acceptance and success as members of American society.
- American Muslims must champion pluralism and condemn all forms of intolerance. American Muslims have a vested interest in the strength of religious freedom and democracy. We must work to guarantee our equal rights within American society. At the same time, we must condemn hate speech and calls to violence by Muslims. Hateful statements and actions by fellow Muslims threaten the reputation of our entire community.
- American Muslims must be ambassadors to the Muslim world. America has been a haven for Muslims, and we must educate the world about the remarkable freedoms and coexistence we enjoy here. Virulent anti-American rhetoric and action by radicalized Muslims threaten our country, our freedom, and our democracy.
- American Muslims must recognize and celebrate our own diversity. Our community encompasses individuals of various backgrounds and beliefs. By working to bridge the sectarian, ethnic, racial, and political divisions within our community, we also strengthen American society.
- All Muslims should enjoy the social and economic prosperity experienced by American Muslims. In much of the Muslim World, income disparities, high unemployment, economic underdevelopment, and limited individual rights create a fertile ground for despair and extremism. Because we are citizens of a nation that has prospered greatly in the global economy, we have a responsibility to improve economic conditions and support freedom in the Muslim world.
- American Muslims must champion the rights of minorities in the Muslim world. We know first-hand the importance of protecting the rights of minority communities. In particular, we strive for equality for Muslim women, treating them as equal partners at home and abroad. AIC extends leadership roles to women, and advocates for civil rights and an end to “honor killings.” This process includes a painful reckoning with past and present episodes of intolerance in the Muslim world.
- American Muslims should participate in the democratic process and work towards civic engagement. Civic participation is essential for strong democracies everywhere, and American Muslims should lead by example, participating in the democratic process and through other forms of civic engagement.
To learn more, visit us at www.aicongress.org