Saturday, 02/03/07
Nashville, Tennessee:

Olive Tree Education is a non-profit group that has been formed in Nashville to address the issue of Islamic education and outreach.

The importance of education of society has become a vital part of our lives as, indeed, education removes one from a state for being unaware and uninformed.
Our world is alarmingly out of balance and polarized, and lack of education has entrenched patterns of hostility and mistrust.

In a post 9/11 era, Islam has come under intense scrutiny, and the ability of Muslims to coexist with people of other faith has been questioned. This can
be attributed to lack of understanding of Islam and Muslims and the legacy of the 1.5 billion followers of Islam. Specifically, meaningful and structured
programs for the public to learn about this major world religion are not available in this part of the world.

Over the last six years, I have visited many churches, civic clubs, schools and colleges to talk about the truth with respect to Islam. I continue to meet
many Americans that are still poorly informed about Muslims and their faith.

As a Nashvillian, I want to continue to make a difference in educating the public and correcting the understanding of people about my faith and about what
is going on in the Muslim world.

The way forward would be to provide a forum of learning for everyone and programs are warranted that will be geared towards building bridges which will
connect nations of people through intellectual and intercultural understandings. Through learning, we can collectively counter the stereotypes and misconceptions
and remove this mistrust among societies.

In this context, the need to build bridges between societies, to promote dialogue and understanding and to forge the collective political will to address
the world's imbalances has never been greater.

Olive Tree Education was born out of this need and seeks to create a cohesive environment by which the American public can learn about this major world
religion and its followers. Additionally, Olive Tree Education recognizes the need to reduce widening rifts between societies by reaffirming a paradigm
of mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious traditions and by helping to mobilize concerted action toward this end.

The history of relations between cultures is not only one of wars and confrontation. It is also based on centuries of constructive exchanges of intellectual
thought, cross-fertilization of ideas, and peaceful coexistence. Our pledge is to partner with those with similar interests in Tennessee and elsewhere
to fulfill the promise of lifelong learning and outreach.

Olive Tree Education will provide education programs, workshops, sensitivity and diversity training as well as outreach programs. Our Web site
has more information. The educational process of society and the associated outreach work are the hallmarks of Olive Tree Education

After the hideous acts of 9/11, Muslims in Nashville increased their outreach activities to the public. Sustaining these activities has been challenging
as mosques have numerous other programs and activities in order to cater for the needs of their congregations. On the other hand, sustaining education
efforts, Islamic academics, and outreach work has become a must and no longer an option. It is this notion that founded Olive Tree Education.

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