To Answer This Higher Calling

By: Remziya Suleyman, Director of Policy & Administration, The American Center for Outreach

Drost Kokoye, board member, The American Muslim Advisory Council

Being on the frontlines of combating Islamophobia in Tennessee, we have seen the worst of the worst. In these defining moments, our multifaith relationships were put to the test. Through these tragedies, protests, lawsuits, and ongoing attacks, comfort came from seeing friends of other faiths rise to the occasion despite backlash.

As we stood in the parking lot of a mosque that was fire-bombed to the …

Read More »

Upcoming Community Events!

ACT NOW: Bill to Censor Diversity in Textbooks is Moving!

Two weeks ago because of our collective efforts, we were able to delay the vote on the HB1129 by T. Hill. HB1129 seeks to create new barriers for how the historical achievements of minorities in Tennessee are portrayed by deleting important guidelines on diversity in textbooks.

We are expecting amendments to be added to the bill. Let’s continue to take action so that any amendments introduced will protect the section of the Tennessee code that encourages the teaching of diversity.

The bill is on the calendar of the …

Read More »

Textbook Censorship

SB 1602 by *Bell (HB 2249 by *Casada)

Click here for our talking points. 

As introduced, restructures the textbook commission and the textbook selection process. – Amends TCA Title 4 and Title 49.

This bill has been placed behind the budget on 4/7/14. 

 

SB 1266 by *Niceley (HB 1129 by *Hill T)

We are now NEUTRAL on this bill as amended in the House.

As introduced, requires emphasis on American foundational instruments and instruction in American historical achievement. – Amends TCA Title 49.

This bill has been referred to the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee on 3/20/14. 

Click …

Read More »

Attacks on Equal Opportunity

SJR 0486 by *Summerville 

Constitutional Amendments – Prohibits the State of Tennessee from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.

This bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 01/16/14.

 

SB 1589 by *Summerville

As introduced, prohibits agencies or entities of state or local government from maintaining, keeping, or circulating any information on the number of employees on the basis of …

Read More »

Anti-Bullying Policies in School

SB 1124 by *Kyle (HB 0927 by *Camper)

As introduced, expands definition of harassment and bullying in schools to include conduct based on actual or perceived demographic traits, requires review of anti-bullying policies at least once every three years, clarifies that such policies apply to students, school staff and volunteers. – Amends TCA Title 49.

This bill has been taken off notice in the House Education Committee on 4/1/14. 

Read More »

MLK Day Young People’s Rally January 20th

Stronger Together

 

Stronger Together: How religious minorities can thrive at school

When and Where:

Monday, October 21, 7:00pm

Montgomery Bell Academy

Pfeffer Auditorium in the Ingram Science Building

4001 Harding Road

Read More »

Muslim Journeys Discussion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muslim Journeys: Points of View Book Discussion Series Begins September 12

 

What: Muslim Journeys Points of View, is a five-part book discussion series of writers from Muslim- majority nations, intended to counteract the one-dimensional views of Muslims depicted in the mass media and news coverage. The series serves as a launching point for small, diverse groups to reflect on one another’s perspectives, reaching a deeper understanding of our world and the inhabitants that share Tennessee communities. To register call: 615-880-3957 x227

Where: Edmondson Pike Library, …

Read More »

Creating Relationships in the Midst of Diversity

Family of Abraham 8/22 Event

Read More »

Webinar: What You can Learn from the Fight to End Islamophobia

What You Can Learn from the Fight to End Islamophobia

What You Can Learn from the Fight to End Islamophobia
A Religions for Peace USA Webinar

On July 25 at 3:30 ET, Religions for Peace USA and the American Center for Outreach are partnering to offer a webinar featuring Remziya Suleyman, ACO Director of Policy an Administration

Click here to register

On the webinar, Remziya will offer stories of success and challenge in the fight to organized against Islamophobia.

Remziya’s work with ACO, as well as the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) has included lobbying, organizing and mobilizing the Tennessee Muslim …

Read More »

“Muslim Youth Advocacy Day” Sponsored by ACO & MYNT

“Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Think” Screening

Join us along with MYNT, and TIRRC for a screening of “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think” followed by a question and answer session with Daniel Tutt, who was a part of the production team.

Date: Sunday, June 16th, 2013
Time:  3:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Location: Casa Azafran (2195 Nolensville Rd. Nashville, TN 37211)

Read More »

Commissioner West Issues Apology

A day after ACO and the American Muslim Advisory Council alerted the community about the hateful post by a local Tennessee public official, Coffee County Commissioner Barry West releases official apology.

Mr. West spoke with our Director of Policy & Administration earlier in the day and expressed his “heartfelt, sincere apology.” Commissioner West went on to state that his “intent was never to offend or harm anyone” and the post was a “mistake.”  Commissioner West has agreed to meet with Muslim constituents to further discuss the …

Read More »

Hateful Speech by County Commissioner Barry West

Coffee County Commissioner Barry West (D) posted a comment on his facebook page on Saturday stating “HOW TO WINK AT A MUSLIM” followed by an image of a double-barrel shot gun. This is a hate filled post targeted at Muslims and is not acceptable from anyone, let alone someone holding a public office! Contact Commissioner Barry West and let him know this is NOT acceptable and we demand an apology. 
Phone number: (931)728-9402
Email: barryew@charter.net 
 
Statement from Coffee County Mayor David Pennington: “As the Mayor of Coffee County I apologize to …

Read More »

2014 Legislative Wrap-up

2014 Legislative Wrap-up

The 2014 Tennessee legislative session has finally come to an end and it has been an exciting year for ACO. With our continued presences representing the Muslim voice at the state capitol and in political matters, we have worked diligently to ensure that our community is heard. The Muslim voice is now playing an integral role in safeguarding the religious freedoms and civil liberties of all Tennesseans. As expected this year, we saw a decline in the number of bills that were directly targeting our community. However, …

Read More »

We Stand With Boston

We at the American Center for Outreach express our deepest sympathy to all affected by yesterday’s senseless act of violence in Boston. Our heartfelt prayers go out to all those injured and for their speedy recovery. We condemn in the strongest terms any and all acts of violence. We stand with our fellow Americans and are ready to help during this difficult time.

Read More »

Advocating for TN Muslims -Knoxville

Advocating for TN Muslims -Knoxville

We would be honored with your presence at a special banquet dinner entitled “Advocating for Tennessee Muslims.”

Speakers will include: Sh. Hassan Laccheb, Imam Rafiq Mahdi, and Sr. Remziya Suleyman

Date: Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Time: 6:00pm
Location: An-Noor Academy (721 Foxvue Rd. Knoxville, TN 37922)

 

Read More »

Muslim Day on the Hill

Muslim Day on the Hill

“Advocating for TN Muslims” -Memphis Fundraiser

Nashville Next & Background Report: “Partnering for an Equitable and Inclusive Nashville”

Check out this background report “Partnering for an Equitable and Inclusive Nashville,” that ACO contributed to for NashvilleNext, a community-driven process for creating a countywide plan which will guide Metro Nashville through 2040.

We are also very honored to have been specifically highlighted in the Advocacy and Community Engagement section!

 

NashvilleNext
What is it?

Nashville Next is a community-driven process for creating a countywide plan which will guide Metro Nashville through 2040.

Who’s in charge?

It’s a joint effort of Metro government, many local businesses and service organizations, and – most …

Read More »

Citizenship Workshop -ACO/TIRRC/NICE 2/16/13

New Attacks on Refugee Resettlement Programs

HB 1326 by *Womick ( SB 1325 by *Ketron)

As introduced, requires the Tennessee office for refugees to compile and report certain refugee resettlement information; requires refugee resettlement agencies to pay the state certain costs incurred by the state from resettlement activities; directs certain funds received to the department of intellectual and developmental disabilities. – Amends TCA Title 4; Title 9; Title 49 and Title 71.

This bill has been placed on State and Local Government Committee calendar for 4/9/2013 & sent to a summer study committee in the House. (Bill is done for 2013)

Read More »

Impact of Laws on Diversity

SB 0740 by *Tate ( HB 1231 by *Turner J)

As introduced, upon request of a member of the general assembly, directs the fiscal review committee to include within a fiscal note an assessment of the bill’s impact on the diversity of individuals participating in state or local government. – Amends TCA Section 3-2-107.

This bill has been referred to the Senate State and Local Government Committee on 2/6/2013, and to the House State Government Committee on 2/26/2013.

Read More »

Anti-Bullying Policy in Schools

SB 1124 by *Kyle ( HB 0927 by *Camper)

Click here for talking points

As introduced, expands definition of harassment and bullying in schools to include conduct based on actual or perceived demographic traits, requires review of anti-bullying policies at least once every three years, clarifies that such policies apply to students, school staff and volunteers. – Amends TCA Title 49.

This bill has been assigned to the Senate General Education Subcommittee calendar for 4/1/2013, and sent to the Department of Education in the House on 3/26/2013.

Read More »

Supporting ELL Programs

SB 1118 by *Kyle ( HB 0895 by *Powell)

As introduced, requires funding of the BEP at the level of one ELL instructor for each 20 students who are English language learners and one ELL translator for each 200 students who are English language learners. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 3, Part 3.

This bill has been assigned to the General Senate Education Subcommittee on 3/27/13, and taken off Notice for the House Education Subcommittee on 3/26/13.

Read More »

Positive Bills for 2014

As we continue to ensure a sustained presence at the state capitol, ACO will regularly update you on proposed legislation and their impact on our community.

Click on the headings below, to get more information on each bill that we are closely monitoring this legislative session.

Click here to sign up for ACO’s legislative alerts.

For more information about ACO’s advocacy work, please contact our Director of Policy & Administration, Remziya Suleyman, at remziya@acotn.org.

 

Read More »

English Only Policies

HB 0593 by *Sparks ( SB 0900 by *Campfield)

Click here for talking points

As introduced, requires that all written and oral examinations administered to applicants for a driver license, intermediate driver license, temporary driver license, or temporary intermediate driver license shall be in English only. – Amends TCA Title 55, Chapter 50, Part 3.

Taken Off Notice in the House Transportation Subcommittee and sent to the general subcommittee of the Senate Transportation Committee on 3/20/2013. (Bill is done for 2013)

Read More »

Requiring English and Civics Testing for TN HOPE Scholarships

SB 0006 by *Summerville:

As introduced, requires students seeking Tennessee HOPE scholarships, Tennessee HOPE access grants and Tennessee HOPE scholarships for nontraditional students to pass the U.S. citizenship and immigration service’s naturalization tests on English and civics to be eligible for the scholarship or grant. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 4, Part 9.

This bill has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee on 3/20/2013.

Read More »

Barriers to Partaking in the Civic Process

HB 0985 by *Matheny ( SB 0549 by *Bell) 

Click here for talking points on the bill
Attorney General’s Opinion: Bill is “Constitutionally Suspect“

As introduced, prohibits persons who are not U.S. citizens from being admitted to polling places; requires appointed poll watchers to be U.S. citizens. – Amends TCA Title 2, Chapter 7, Part 1.

This bill has passed the Senate, and held on house desk on 3/11/2013. (Bill is done for 2013)

Read More »

Attacks on Equal Opportunity

SB 0007 by *Summerville  

As introduced, prohibits state government entities from compiling and keeping statistics and data by race, gender or ethnicity unless specifically required by federal law or court order; requires state government entities to identify all laws that contravene this prohibition and to propose legislation to eliminate such laws. – Amends amend TCA Title 4 and Title 49.

This bill has been referred to the Senate State and Local Government Committee on 01/10/2013 (Bill is done for 2013)

 

SB 0008 by *Summerville ( HB 0448 by *Powers) 

(Click Here for Talking Points on the …

Read More »

Negative Bills for 2014

As we continue to ensure a sustained presence at the state capitol, ACO will regularly update you on proposed legislation and their impact on our community.

Click on the headings below, to get more information on each bill that we are closely monitoring this legislative session.

Click here to sign up for ACO’s legislative alerts.

For more information about ACO’s advocacy work, please contact our Director of Policy & Administration, Remziya Suleyman, at remziya@acotn.org.

 

 

Read More »

BREAKING THE CYCLE: Faith Communities and the Transformation of Bigotry

BREAKING THE CYCLE:
Faith Communities and the Transformation of Bigotry

Guest Speaker:
DANIEL TUTT
Fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Thursday, February 21, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Reception follows

Christ Church Cathedral
900 Broadway
Nashville 37203

Responses and Reflections:

Imam Yusuf Abdullah
Masjid Al-Islam, Nashville

Volney Gay
Professor of Psychiatry and Religious Studies
Vanderbilt University

Jackie Halstead
Managing Director
Lipscomb University’s Institute for Christian Spirituality

Presented by the Family of Abraham

Read More »

Update on Al-Farooq Mosque

Following the horrible act of vandalism at Al-Farooq mosque in Nashville yesterday, the community came together like never before. The outpouring of support and comforting response was a true testament to who we are as a community, a city, and a state.

Through the diligent efforts of local law enforcement, a suspect was caught and charged with burglary and felony vandalism only a few hours after the crime was committed. We applaud law enforcement for their support and encourage their continued investigation as they pursue this …

Read More »

ACO Response to Masjid Al-Farooq Vandalism

Following another act of vandalism at Al-Farooq mosque in South Nashville early this morning, the Muslim community rejects such acts of violence and destruction against any and all houses of worship. Houses of worship for all faiths are sacred and should be safe spaces for worshipers, families and children. We are grateful for the rapid response from law enforcement. We call on community leaders and clergy at this time to join us in condemning and speaking against yet another act of violence targeting an Islamic center in …

Read More »

Free Citizenship Workshop

The American Center for Outreach in partnership with the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition and Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) invites you to attend the Citizenship Assistance Workshop.

DATE:  Saturday, February 16, 2013
TIME: 9:30am–12:00pm (by appointment ONLY) 
PLACE: Casa Azafran 2195 Nolensville Pike. Nashville TN 37211

 

Assistance is FREE!

By appointment ONLY, please call number below!

Click here for eligibility information and documentation needed:

Trained volunteers will be supervised by immigration attorneys to assist you in completing your citizenship application (N400), answer questions, and provide study materials for the citizenship examination!

For more information & to make …

Read More »

Thank You For An Incredible Year!

Your support has allowed us to be a stronger, more effective organization changing the negative perception of Muslims in Tennessee. Because of you, we have made tremendous strides throughout 2012. Below are just a few of our major accomplishments this year that we want to highlight.

Without your sustained support we cannot be successful in what we do. As we prepare for 2013, I ask that you please make a contribution today to further support our movement. Next year will surely bring new challenges but as …

Read More »

Tennessee Muslims Instrumental in Getting the Vote Out

Tennessee Muslims Instrumental in Getting the Vote Out 

By Remziya Suleyman 

ACO’s Director of Policy & Administration

Read More »

Election Results Viewing & Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive

Hosted by: ACO & Muslim Youth Navigating Tennessee (MYNT)

When: Election Day Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 6:00 pm (CST)

Where: Islamic Center of Tennessee

5400 Bell Forge Lane East

Antioch, TN 37013

 

 

Read More »

Community Presidential Debate Watch: October 16 & 22

Community Presidential Debate Watch

October 16, & October 22, 2012 at 7:00pm

Islamic Center of TN Theater Room
(5400 Bell Forge Lane East Antioch, TN 37013)

A Community Discussion Will Be Held Following Each Debate!

Read More »

Upcoming Workshop: A Muslim Roadmap to TN Elections

“A Muslim Guide to Tennessee Election”

(Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.) 

Memphis Islamic Center

10225 Humphreys Rd

Cordova, TN 38018

 

Read More »

Belmont University’s 11th Annual Humanities Symposium: Civility and It’s Discontent

“OTHER” TO NEIGHBOR: THE CHANGING FACE OF IMMIGRATION 

Speaker: Remziya Suleyman, ACO’s Director of Policy & Administration 

When: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 (3:00-4:30 pm)

Where: Beaman A&B, 1900 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, TN 37212

 

Read More »

ACO’s Statement On Violence In Libya and Egypt

The American Center for Outreach strongly condemns in the strongest possible terms the extremist attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya and Egypt on Tuesday, September 11th, one of which killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya, the Honorable Christopher Stevens, along with three of his staff members. Events in both nations claimed to be in reaction to an online film considered extremely offensive and blasphemous to Islam and Muslims.  Likewise we strongly condemn this provocation by the reckless person who produced a movie to defame Prophet …

Read More »

Community Eid Carnival

Come join us for a day filled with fun, family and fellowship. Click here for more information. 

Location: Edwin Warner Park Shelters 6 & 10
50 Vaughn Rd Nashville, TN 37221

Date: Sunday, August 19, 2012 Time: 2pm – 7pm

Sponsored by: AMAC, ACO, TIRRC, Masjid Al-Farooq, Masjid Al-Islam, Islamic Center of Clarksville, Islamic Center of Columbia, Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Islamic Center of Nashville, Salahadeen Center, Islamic Center of Tennessee, Islamic Center of Williamson County, Nashville International Academy

Read More »

Family of Abraham: Towards a Common Vision

Guest Speaker Maha ElGenaidi

Women and Shariah: An exploration of the contrast between how Muslim women are treated and what Islam teaches 

When: Thursday, August 23, 2012 — 7 p.m. 

Where: Collins Auditorium, Lipscomb University, One University Park Drive, 37204 Family of Abraham Invitation

Read More »

Become A Citizen: Free Citizenship Assistance Workshop

Become A Citizen: Free Citizenship Assistance Workshop

DATE: Saturday August 11, 2012

TIME: 10:00-­‐ 12:00 (By appointment only!)

PLACE: Hickory Hill Community Center Assistance is FREE!
Please call 615.414.1030 for an appointment, space is Limited!

Trained volunteers will be supervised by immigration attorneys to assist you in completing your citizenship application (N400), answer questions, and provide study materials for the citizenship examination!

For More Information Contact TIRRC at 615.414.1030 or 615.8330384 x 109 or Email Anahi Gutierrez at anahi@tnimmigrant.org

Read More »

Tennessee Early Voting is Underway!

Early voting for the Tennessee state primary and county general elections has begun. We need to see high voter turnout in our community in order to make a difference this election season. Candidates need to know we are paying attention and going out to vote. This is the best way to make sure they will listen to us on issues that matter to our community.

Early voting is convenient and easy. Polling places throughout the state will be open July 13th – …

Read More »

Unity Picnic in Support of Murfreesboro!

Click here for a larger image.

Read More »

Combatting Islamophobia and Preserving Religious Freedom in Tennessee

“Combatting Islamophobia and Preserving Religious Freedom in Tennessee” written by ACO’s Director of Policy & Administration, Remziya Suleyman is featured this week online by Patheos.  Enjoy and share broadly!

Read More »

Contact Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope Now!

Ask Attorney Jim Cope to Support Religious Equality!

Yesterday with our collective effort, Rutherford County officials received numerous calls and e-mails in support of the Muslim community in Murfreesboro. Today, we are asking our network to please contact the Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope. Please ask Mr. Cope to appeal Judge Robert Corlew’s decision that revoked the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s building permit and to ensure that religious equality is preserved in Tennessee.

Click Here to contact Attorney Jim Cope today!  

Below are other action …

Read More »

Islamic Center of Mufreesboro: Call the Rutherford County Mayor & ask county lawyers appeal the decision to halt construction

As you may have heard, yesterday a Rutherford County Judge ordered that construction to the new Murfreesboro mosque must come to a halt. However, today the County stated that they will not issue a cease work order anytime soon. Below are action steps that you can partake in to ensure that religious equality is preserved in Tennessee. We have a limited amount of time to take action. Please help in anyway you can.

Please call the Mayor and ask him to have his county lawyers …

Read More »

Upcoming Events

American Center for Outreach &  American Muslim Intercultural Network

The History of Muslims in America:

A Call to Social and Political Action

Date: Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time: 7:00pm to ‘Isha

Place: Memphis Islamic Center
              10225 Humphrey Rd,
              Cordova, TN 38018
              (901) 759-9906

Special Guest: Ms. Remziya Suleyman, ACO Director of Policy & Admin.
Moderator: Malik Shaw

 

 

ACO Get Out The Vote Training

Come and obtain the tools and knowledge to serve your community. …

Read More »

Ask Congress to End Indefinite Detention Today!

Last year, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions authorizes the president to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world.

The U.S. House Armed Services Committee began its consideration of this year’s NDAA this week. The 2013 NDAA includes a misleading section that safeguards “habeas corpus rights,” the right to petition the courts …

Read More »

2012 Legislative Wrap Up

The 2012 legislative session has finally come to an end. What an exciting year it has been for us. Just as we launched the American Center for Outreach (ACO), the legislative session went into full throttle. Several dozen bills were introduced immediately that would have affected our community. However, as an outcome of last year’s mobilization and ACO’s continued lobbying presences, lawmakers reconsidered many costly and divisive legislation that had no benefit for Tennesseans.

Below you will find descriptions of the major …

Read More »

Sample Letter to Governor Haslam Asking to Veto SB3345/HB3540

Subject Line: Please Veto SB3345/HB 3540!

Dear Governor Haslam:

I am writing to respectfully request that you veto SB3345 by Ketron/HB3540 by Matheny. As originally introduced, SB3345/HB3540 would prevent any noncitizen from being involved in a charter school; in its current form, the bill establishes arbitrary restrictions on the nationality and ethnicity of teachers, regardless of their qualifications or suitability for the subject matter. Even though the bill has been amended extensively, we are extremely concerned about the unintended consequences and possible federal Title VI …

Read More »