- Sept. 21, 2020
-- The Islamic Leadership Institute of America (ILIA) held its graduation ceremony for Advocacy and Public Policy students congratulating the achievements completed by them. The four students presented their accomplishments to the ceremonies participants and were gifted with certificates by the founder, Ayman Nassar.
The Advocacy and Public Policy Leadership (APPL) program is an 8 week summer program directed by Alawi Masud, for youth who sought to establish change in society. In three weeks of instructive learning, students were educated on components of making impactful change, the political process, statistics and economics, philosophy, and much more. "The certification is about helping your community and it's a crash course in what you need to do," mentioned Alawi. After an instructive three weeks students then worked on a five week lab with specific campaigns such as the Prison Industrial Complex and the Palestine and Children Detention Center to supply them with hands-on experience.
The first students project was advocating for Palestine. "I worked with a lab that dealt with sitting bills in Congress. We worked to push bills to Maryland congressmen that would protect the interests of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation,"
stated Aelia a high school sophomore. Aelia included that she "learned valuable lessons, academic and about life through the class and lab. Amongst lessons about the importance of cost-benefit analyses and mission-vision statements, I learned about the importance of taking action within your community, keeping a fighting spirit and believing that what you're working for is worth it."
"As young people are interested in making change in society, ILIA and APPL really gave us the tools necessary to actually make change," expressed one of the course students, Faezaan. His project worked with two other students, Hafsa and Huzayfa, focused on the Prison industrial complex. Some topics they covered were wrongful convictions, cash bail system, and generational trauma. These students connected and learned from leaders of nonprofit partners from Aging People in Prison - Human Rights Campaign, Freedom2Boycott, Insaaniyat Initiative, members of Congress, criminal justice directors and American Muslims for Palestine.
The event ended with Ayman Nassar offering a speech reflecting on parable 110 from the third chapter in the Holy Quran, Al-Imran, emphasizing that doing good, preventing evil and believing in Allah are the qualities of the best people. He shared how the work the APPL students have completed is an embodiment of the objectives of shariah of preservation of faith, life, intellect and dignity. The importance of referencing Islamic principles and standards in coming up with decisions and approaches to address issues such as criminal justice reform, children's rights and fair treatment of fellow human beings was empahised. The commencement was followed by presetaion of certificates.
Learn more at https://www.islamicleadership.org/overview/