Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs

By Jon Headlee

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The Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs is a Richmond-based, non-profit organization “committed to participate in the religious, social, and civic aspects” of Richmond . It is a coalition of Muslim individuals, groups, and organizations throughout the Central Virginia region dedicated to ensuring a truthful understanding of Islam. More than just an education organization, however, the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs also voices solutions to challenges facing out society. Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs’ goal is to promote the interests and viewpoints of American Muslims throughout the greater Richmond area, and to sponsor an improved awareness of Islam and Muslims by way of involvement in civic life, media, and community service.

The Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs was formed in 2001 by a group of Muslim activists in the Richmond region. They formed the organization in response to the backlash Islam and Muslims received in the wake of the September 11 events, and the founders were concerned about communicating the genuine aspects of Islam, namely mercy, peace, and justice. In order to communicate these concepts, Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs was created to give Richmond Muslims a chance to become more involved in the local community, to abandon the mentality of isolation, and to become integral parts of society.

Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs seeks to provide accurate information through their programs, both locally and nationally, on what Islam is and who American Muslims are. The organization sets as its goal to serve society and work for the betterment of all, not just Muslims. Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs also works for an improved American society, one that is moral, tolerant, justice-oriented, and free of poverty. To accomplish this, Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs partners with a variety of groups and organizations throughout Richmond and all of Virginia . Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs has partnered with all Mosques and Islamic organizations in Virginia , and it also works with non-Islamic civic and charitable organizations, including the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Habitat for Humanity, American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, and Area Congregations Together in Service.

Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs is not simply a policy-making organization. It intends itself to be an action-based organization that goes beyond interfaith dialogues to act for the common good. The objective is to encourage the Muslim community to translate its faith into actions that benefit the entire Richmond area. The primary activities of Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs are outreach education, social justice, civic service, and environmental awareness. The Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs provides about one thousand direct volunteering hours a year. Voter registration is a key component of civic service and a prime concern for Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs. As a result, Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs has registered over one hundred new voters each year for the Richmond Muslim community. Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs also provides a speaker’s bureau that allows speakers to reach a greater audience in the greater Richmond area. The organization sponsors a speaker approximately once a month for various lectures on Islam, Muslims, and the Muslim community in Richmond.

Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs
P.O. Box 74623
Richmond , VA 23236
(804) 674-4464

Sources:
Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs website
Dr. Imad Damaj, President

Profile written by Jon Headlee
December, 2007

Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs
P.O. Box 74623
Richmond , VA 23236
(804) 674-4464

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