Women of Faith Building Community by Lisa Marzilli

03/08/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday

Last year on IWD, listeners were introduced to “Women of Faith Building Community”.   It was hate speech which prompted the formation of the group, after a right-wing blogger fired up his readers when he wrote on his website that a local Muslim youth retreat was really an “al-Qaeda linked, jihad training camp for children”. The subsequent hate mail and death threats ultimately forced the Muslim American Society to move the event. WMNF’s Lisa Marzilli sat down with members of the group one year later… 

(ACT …”so quiet?”) That’s Pamela Brown, who lives in Temple Terrace with her husband Warren, pastor of the United Church of Christ. Last year the couple was so disturbed to see such little local news coverage of the anti-Muslim incident that they decided to invite the organizer of the retreat, Jennifer Valko, to speak to their congregation…(ACT …”out of that”) 

Jennifer Valko…(ACT …”that wall down”)   

Nancy Greenlees said groups like Women of Faith are a defense against the misinformation and hate speech against Muslims found on the Web and in the media today…(ACT …”this bad information”) 

When WMNF first spoke to Women of Faith, they were discussing how they could best focus their time and talents.  One year later the group has been actively involved in several community outreach organizations including Metropolitan Ministries and the food cooperative, SHARE. Members are currently in training with Hands on Tampa Bay – an affiliate of the United Way. 

Some women have also joined with a coalition of Muslim organizations participating in a rolling fast in solidarity with Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who’s been on a hunger strike for weeks, to protest his inhumane treatment and the additional sentence he received for refusing to testify before a grand jury against the Muslim charities that helped finance his think tank while he was a professor at USF.  

Pilar Saad, a teacher and activist in the Muslim community, is a long time friend and supporter of Sami Al-Arian. She says the fast echoes the Women of Faith mission statement and is needed to bring attention to Al-Arian’s persecution - which she believes is both religious and political…(ACT…”to this issue”)  

One year later, there is total consensus that Women of Faith has exceeded all expectations and changed these members’ lives for the better.  Again, Pilar Saad… (ACT…”in that direction”) 

Pamela Brown…(ACT…”be peacemakers”) 

To contact Women of Faith Building Community, you can email p-i-l-a-r54@yahoo.com for WMNF News, on this International Women’s Day, I’m Lisa Marzilli.

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