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WASHINGTON, DC – January 25, 2024 – The Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) attended the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Quarterly Threat Briefing for Faith-Based Partners today, underscoring the vital role of interfaith collaboration in safeguarding houses of worship. The event, held on January 25, 2024, convened representatives from diverse religious communities nationwide to foster open dialogue and information sharing on emerging threats and security concerns.

DHS officials delved into a spectrum of pressing issues:

  • Evolving Threat Landscape: The briefing shed light on the latest tactics and trends employed by extremists and hate groups, with a specific focus on potential threats targeting faith-based communities. Representatives emphasized the importance of proactive measures to counter rising anti-Muslim sentiment and hate crimes.

  • Cybersecurity Imperative: DHS officials highlighted the growing vulnerability of religious institutions to cyberattacks, urging houses of worship to prioritize cybersecurity measures. Delegates shared their experiences in implementing data security protocols and raising awareness among community members about online threats.

  • Building Community Resilience: The discussion underscored the significance of interfaith collaboration and community engagement in bolstering resilience against potential threats.

“As faith-based communities, we stand united in the face of adversity,” stated Rahat Husain, Exectuive Director of SMF. “This briefing served as a crucial platform to exchange insights, strengthen partnerships, and equip ourselves with the knowledge and resources necessary to safeguard our communities.”

Beyond the Briefing: SMF's Continued Vigilance

The SMF’s participation in the DHS briefing is just one facet of its ongoing commitment to security. The organization recommends a range of measures to safeguard its members and place of worship, including:

  • Regular security assessments and vulnerability audits

  • Investing in cybersecurity infrastructure and staff training

  • Establishing close relationships with local law enforcement and emergency responders

  • Hosting security awareness workshops and educational programs

  • Fostering interfaith dialogue and promoting mutual understanding within the community

The SMF remains steadfast in its dedication to fostering a safe and secure environment for its members and the broader community. By actively engaging with government agencies, collaborating with other faith-based organizations, and implementing robust security measures, the SMF is committed to playing a vital role in enhancing the safety and resilience of houses of worship nationwide.

About the Shia Muslim Foundation

The Shia Muslim Foundation (SMF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the Shia Muslim community in the greater Washington, D.C. area. SMF provides a variety of religious, educational, and social services to its members and the broader community.

WASHINGTON DC – January 24, 2024 – Today, on the auspicious occasion of the 13th of Rajab, the Shia Muslim Foundation joins millions of Shia Muslims around the world in celebrating the blessed birthday of Imam Ali (AS), the first cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Imam Ali stands as a towering figure in Islam, revered for his unparalleled courage, unwavering loyalty, exceptional wisdom, and profound knowledge.

A Pillar of Islam

Throughout Islamic history, Imam Ali played a pivotal role in shaping the course of the faith. He was a close confidante and advisor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), accompanying him in pivotal moments like the migration to Medina and the conquest of Mecca. His unwavering support and dedication earned him the title of "Asadullah," meaning "Lion of God."

Imam Ali's contributions extend far beyond his military prowess. He is renowned for his intellectual depth and is considered a fountainhead of knowledge in Islamic jurisprudence, theology, and philosophy. His wisdom and eloquence are captured in his sermons and sayings, which continue to guide Muslims today.

The First Imam

For Shia Muslims, Imam Ali holds an even more profound significance. He is considered the first divinely chosen successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the rightful inheritor of his spiritual mantle. Shias revere him as the Imam, a divinely guided leader who possesses infallible knowledge and embodies the perfect example of Islamic conduct.

Commemorating His Birthday

The celebration of Imam Ali's birthday is not merely a joyous occasion; it is a time for reflection and rededication. Shia Muslims around the world participate in congregational prayers, processions, and gatherings to remember his virtues and seek his blessings. They strive to emulate his unwavering faith, his commitment to justice, and his unwavering love for humanity.

Spreading the Message of Imam Ali

The Shia Muslim Foundation is committed to sharing the message of Imam Ali with the wider community. Through educational programs, interfaith dialogues, and community outreach initiatives, we aim to bridge understanding and highlight the universal values of justice, compassion, and service that Imam Ali embodied.

On this blessed occasion, the Shia Muslim Foundation extends its warmest wishes to all Muslims and people of goodwill celebrating the birthday of Imam Ali (AS). May his life and teachings continue to inspire us to strive for a more just, peaceful, and compassionate world.

About the Shia Muslim Foundation

The Shia Muslim Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of Shia Islam. We serve the community through educational programs, interfaith dialogue initiatives, and social service activities.

Houston, TX (January 20, 2024) – Two remarkable teams of young Shia Muslim girls from Al-Hadi School in Houston, Texas, defied stereotypes and ignited the Future City Competition at NASA's Johnson Space Center this past weekend. Their electrifying city design for "Nyanza-Sagara" (NYS) captivated the audience and showcased the power of inclusivity and innovation in STEM fields. This holistic approach to urban planning, prioritizing both environmental and human well-being, earned them well-deserved recognition for their "Best Transportation Ideas," a testament to their meticulous planning and creative ingenuity.

"It's huge to have Shia representation here. It means the world to me. It's such an honor, we're the only Muslims here, and to be Shia," expressed Sr. Siddiqua Shahnawaz, an educator with five years of experience in the competition. Her pride is palpable, reflecting the significance of seeing young Shia girls excelling in a traditionally non-inclusive space.

The Future City Competition challenges middle school students across the nation to design a fully electric future city powered by clean, green, and renewable energy sources. Amidst this prestigious competition, Mariam B (grade 8), Maryam E, Sabira, and Fatima B (all grade 7) stood out not only for their exceptional talent but also for being the only Muslim and all-female team present. Their groundbreaking representation proved that the future of STEM belongs to those who dare to dream and defy expectations.

The impact of these young women transcended the realm of technical brilliance. As the only Muslim and all-female team amidst the competition, they shattered stereotypes and defied expectations, proving that young women from minority communities can not only thrive in STEM fields but also become trailblazers, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future. Their unwavering confidence and independent spirit shone through, as exemplified by Sabira's dedication, staying up at 2 am while on vacation to attend a crucial meeting – a testament to their unwavering passion for the project.

Their captivating presentation transported the audience to NYS, a city pulsating with vibrant sustainability and cutting-edge technology. Every building boasted LEED Platinum certification, humming with self-sufficiency while producing net-zero carbon emissions. Inspired by their African heritage, the girls seamlessly blended traditional Rugo styles with futuristic elements, creating an architectural tapestry both energy-efficient and culturally distinct.

But NYS wasn't just about beauty – it was a tangible vision for a seamlessly accessible and environmentally conscious future. Designated lanes for pedestrians, cyclists, and autonomous cars formed a harmonious network, while high-speed maglev trains and futuristic hover-tech water taxis glided silently through the cityscape. Vertical farms soared skyward, maximizing space and minimizing environmental impact, while precision farming and aquaponic systems nourished the city with locally grown, sustainable food.

"This will make the girls so strong. I'm so proud of how they did everything on their own, when there tends to be so much spoon feeding," shared a Future City mentor, a testament to the girls' independent spirit and self-reliance.

Fuelling this vibrant ecosystem was RIS(E)², a groundbreaking framework for clean energy developed by a dedicated council of young scientists and engineers. This innovative system harnessed the power of nature, transforming sunshine into solar energy, wind into kinetic power, and the rushing waters of Lake Tanganyika into hydroelectric might. This ambition resonated not only in NYS's self-sufficiency but also in its message of a future free from fossil fuel dependence.

But NYS extended far beyond blueprints and models. It stood as a testament to the girls' unwavering dedication to creating a city for all. Advanced healthcare systems utilized wearable chips for real-time health monitoring and integrated practices for holistic well-being. Cutting-edge education employed Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, offering immersive and interactive learning experiences. Drone monitoring, Internet of Things integration, and robust cybersecurity measures ensured the safety and security of every citizen, forging a community where technology empowered rather than divided.

The NYS presentation was not just a showcase of technical prowess and creative vision; it was a beacon of hope and an embodiment of unwavering representation. These young Shia Muslim girls did not just compete; they inspired. They shattered stereotypes, defied expectations, and proved that passion, perseverance, and inclusivity can light the path towards a brighter tomorrow. NYS may not have claimed the top prize, but its impact resonates far beyond the walls of the competition. It stands as a vibrant testament to the future these brave young women are already electrifying.

The Shia Muslim Foundation is proud to celebrate the achievements of these remarkable young women and applauds their commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and environmental sustainability. Their journey serves as an inspiration to young Shia Muslims everywhere, demonstrating that anything is possible with dedication and a passion for shaping a better future.

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