My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Salaam Network Inc, Louisville, KY, USA
Kenneth A. Stammerman
I have been familiar with the work of the organizers of the Salaam Network, especially Dr. Rifaat Hassan, for some years since returning to Louisville after my U.S. Foreign Service career, much of which was spent in the Muslim world or in Washington dealing with issues involving Muslim countries of the Middle East. I was pleasantly surprised to find the work being done then by Dr. Rifaat and her friends in welcoming delegations from Muslim countries to Louisville under the auspices of the Visitors Programs of the U.S. State Department. As one of the organizers of such delegations when I was in the Foreign Service, it was great to find that, thanks to their work, Louisville was a prime destination for delegation visits, and the University was a center of promoting excellent Muslim-community relations both here and abroad.
Moving forward, Dr. Rifaat and many of these same activists formed the core group of The Salaam Network, which became active in local and regional responses to the unfortunate increase in recent times in misinformation and outright prejudice against our fellow Muslim citizens and immigrant communities in the area. Its speaker programs brought to the public prominent members of the community from various backgrounds, not only Muslims but also presenters with strong involvements in Louisville’s faith and civic communities. They put together presentations not only to specific community groups but also entire semester programs in Continuing Education at the university level. The Network’s role in arranging cultural and religious programs at local mosques with invitations to non-Muslims has lifted many cultural barriers in our community.
One welcome recent focus in dealing with so much misunderstanding of Muslim culture has been the Network’s programs with Dr. Rifaat on Feminism in Islam. Also, exploring the issues of gender equality and the rights of LGBTQ individuals has made The Salaam Network a unique local voice for compassion and tolerance. We like to think of our town as a compassionate city, and The Salaam Network’s efforts towards that goal have been outstanding.