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17th Annual Conference – The Challenge of Atheism among Muslim Youth

Registration Opens: October 1st, 2019
Registration Deadline: Feb 20th 2020, or registration maximum capacity reached

Topics for the Upcoming Conference on
The Challenge of Atheism among Muslim Youth

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The Phenomenon of Atheism

A study on the rise of atheism in the west, the rate of its rapid growth, and its major causes. The study’s goal is to cover many aspects of the topics that Imams in America should know, along with  some or all of the following subtopics:

  • How lack of participation in religion could  frequently become not believing in religion
  • How a materialistic lifestyle and its restriction to religion could  create a dislike for the religion
  • The rise of New Atheism, and how it is weaponized against Islam in particular.

Cultural & Intellectual Contributors to Atheism

A study on the dominant ideas of the secular age, particularly in today’s America. The goal is to cover some of the historical roots behind these ideas, such as Europe’s Enlightenment Period, and how that translates into the rejection of the metaphysical (ghayb) and the supernatural (God & miracles) in many people today, among the below related subtopics that our Imam(s) sought to learn more about:

  • Skepticism, Darwinism, and Scientism
  • How the Islamic framework for understanding the world (epistemology) is superior and more balanced
  • Where Islam may agree and disagree with both secularism or other religions

Emotional & Social Contributors to Atheism

A study which showcases how emotional and social factors frequently propel people towards atheism. It may cover personal trauma, mental health issues, bad experiences with Muslims (such as racism), feeling like misfits in greater society (identity crises), feeling restricted by Islam’s ‘excessive rules’, encountering chaos within the Muslim community (lack of internal unity, confusing political alignments), and inadequate prayers spaces, among other examples.

The Argument for God

A study which presents the Quranic proofs for the existence of God, and the nature of God in the theistic traditions (particularly the Abrahamic ones, and especially Islam). The study incorporates how the correct belief in God debunks all the major proofs cited for atheism:

  • The lack of proof for God’s existence
  • The problem of evil & God’s existence
  • The conflict between religion and science
  • Islam being immoral (especially to women and non-Muslims)

Improving Community Dynamics

A study which helps counteract both factors (intellectual and emotional) leading to atheism in our communities. A roadmap is sought for healthy community dynamics, which could include but not limited to:

  • Availability of relevant content immunizing Muslims against doubt
  • Develop material for Islamic schools: Weekend and fulltime
  • Creating an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere for all in our masajid
  • Offering youth engagement opportunities that have proven successful in other religious communities
  • Investigating what factors optimize identity preservation for any minority group

The Psychology of Conviction

A study on why people subscribe to religion and how humans develop their convictions. It would allot emphasis on “tarbiyah;” armoring the next generations early, preempting their doubts with sound knowledge, It would also benefit to highlight the ideal method of interacting with those already riddled by doubt, and the advice / strategy relatives should hear when consulting with Imam(s) about their doubting family members.

The Relevant Narrative

A study specifically on reframing our explanation of “faith” in Islam to resonate with the modern mind, while remaining true to our sacred texts and tradition. The aim is to cover:

  1. How  to  simplify the study of faith
  2. How to  make it intellectually stimulating
  3. How to make it spiritually invigorating. The study would use fundamental concepts such as God being unimaginable, God being infinite, and God being in full-control (Qadar), as practical exercises for how the narrative should be renewed for today’s audience.

Post-Conference Workshops

Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2020 (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM)

Introduction to Islamic Inheritance and Islamic Estate Planning

Description:

Part 1:

The subject matter of ‘ilm al-farâ’id or ‘ilm al-mawâreeth (the science of inheritance) is the estate of the deceased. It is a division of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) that requires some understanding of mathematics as well. For this reason, it is usually mentioned as a separate discipline by itself. This is also so because of its importance and the fact that mastery of it is rare, even among scholars. It is a fard kifâyah (communal obligation) to learn it for the obvious objective of being able to distribute the estate of the deceased justly among the heirs, as prescribed by Allah.

In this course, we will attempt to have a basic understanding of this science, with a special focus on the following chapters:

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Presenters:

Dr. Hatem AlHaj, M.D Ph.D: Dr. Hatem was born in Cairo, Egypt and currently resides in the United States of America. He was granted his PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University, Tripoli, Lebanon and his MA in Islamic law from the American Open University. Dr. Hatem is the chairman of the Academic Committee at Mishkah University and a senior member of the Fatwa Committee of AMJA.

Yaser Ali, Esq. is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law and is trained in classical Islamic Inheritance law. He is the co-author of the American Bar Association's guide to Estate Planning for the Muslim client.

Effective Fund Raising Strategies

Description:

Part 1:

This training will share important techniques that imams and mosque leaders can take in increasing levels of generosity and financial resources for their communities. The training draws upon the leading fund raising training program, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (School). The School trains over 7000 fund raising professionals every year and includes the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, The Fund Raising School and the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative.

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Presenters:

Dr. Abdalla Idris: Dr. Abdalla served as imam and director, and founded the first full-time Islamic school in Toronto, Canada. He served as the principal of ISNA Islamic Community School for 17 years. He also served on ISNA’s Executive Council, Majlis Ash-Shura, Youth and Education Committee and as president of ISNA for two terms. He is the chair of the Islamic Media Foundation, a member of NAIT Board, a founding member of CISNA, and chair of ISNA Education Forum. Sheikh Abdalla was appointed director for CIENA in Kansas City, Missouri. He served on the board of trustees of IBERR, which serves minority communities. He is currently working as the executive director of ISNA Canada.

Dr. Shariq Siddiqui (Tentative): Dr. Shariq serves as the director and assistant professor of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Shariq has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He also has a JD from the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University and holds a B.A. in History from the University of Indianapolis.

Fees

Main Conference (March 20-22, 2020)

*Includes:

  • Shared Room Accommodations (2 per room) (Friday & Saturday nights only)
  • Meals starting Friday night until Sunday noon (6 meals).
Registration Completed and paid by Imams Student of Knowledge
Early Bird January 15th, 2020 $75 $125
Regular Feb 20th 125 175
Late After Feb 20th $175 $225
  • Registration after deadline of FEB 20th will be allowed on case by case with valid excuse and within strict time window. 
  • Unpaid registrations will be discarded after Feb 20th and new late registration will be required for attendance (space permitting).

Post-Conference workshop (March 23rd, 2020)

Monday post-conference workshops: $125 for Imams and Students of Knowledge. Includes:

  • Shared room accommodation on Sunday night (March 22nd) only.
  • Meals starting Sunday night until Monday noon
  • Workshop material

Guidelines

  • Participants must reserve hotel rooms as needed. No rooms will be automatically reserved, including complementary rooms.
  • Rooms reservation must be completed and submitted by Feb 20th 2020
  • Extra charges apply for extra stay or private room
  • AMJA guarantees accommodation ONLY for those who registered and paid before deadline.
  • AMJA can accommodate roommate requests only if requested partner consents, and both attendees are arriving and departing on same days. Roommate request will be available for reservations before FEB 20th. Requested roommate must have been registered and paid before the deadline.   
  • No children under 16 years of age are allowed in conference halls.  No accommodations for childcare will be provided.