Alexandria, Va. – In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), a nonprofit humanitarian and advocacy organization, has awarded a $25,000 ‘Silver Anniversary’ grant to the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Purdue University–Fort Wayne.

The grant will help set up a consortium that will explore creating programs focused on the importance of citizenship and human rights. Future programs could include lectures, school courses, and teacher education.

“We first learned of the Islamic Relief USA grant through HIAS, the world’s oldest and only Jewish refugee organization. At a time of increasing polarization and toxicity around questions of citizenship and human rights, we are eager to help support and promote local interfaith work around refugees and immigrants already underway, especially in the Midwest,” said Steve Carr, an associate professor and graduate director at Purdue University–Fort Wayne. “The IRUSA grant represents just one way in which connections across faiths and national origins can help bring together diverse communities around our shared commitments and ideals to solve real problems, instead of allowing manufactured and amplified problems to polarize and fragment us in ways that will ultimately only serve narrower self-interests.”

Northeastern Indiana, which includes Fort Wayne, is home to many communities that host refugees, including those from Sudan and Bosnia. In recent years, though, the institute has noticed an alarming increase of insensitive language being used to describe immigrants and other new residents. Thus, the institute saw a need to have informative and compassionate discussions in order to address this negative trend.

With the help of the grant, the institute’s proposed project will include:
  • An inaugural summit where scholars and members of the community discuss what citizenship and human rights mean to the Midwest
  • The creation of a network of urban areas that presently host refugee and immigrant populations, enabling them to pool resources and share knowledge
  • Stipends to help support future projects focusing on these subjects

The ‘Silver Anniversary Community Bridge-Building’ program was announced as an initiative to bridge the differences that frequently divide communities—such as religion, race, or political opinions.  The grant announcement generated 175 formal inquiries from organizations working in 36 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that people all across America are interested in finding common bonds and committing to a common mission for the sake of their communities.

“The tremendous response from grassroots, community-based, and national organizations shows that people who, on the surface have little in common, can come together to make the world a better place—a place where there’s more unity, more sensitivity, and an endless amount of potential and promise,” said Anne Wilson, director of programs for IRUSA.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Syed M. Hassan
media@irusa.org
(703) 370-7246

 

Nicole Hahn
nicole.hahn@pfw.edu
(260) 481-4106

 

 

 

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Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States.

Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.