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Diversity, a sign of God’s Wisdom and Might

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

bay beach beautiful buildings

Photo by Pixabay on

The following verses are from chapter 35 of the Qur’an, titled Fatir or Originator

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ اَنۡزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً ۚ فَاَخۡرَجۡنَا بِهٖ ثَمَرٰتٍ مُّخۡتَلِفًا اَلۡوَانُهَاؕ وَمِنَ الۡجِبَالِ جُدَدٌۢ بِيۡضٌ وَّحُمۡرٌ مُّخۡتَلِفٌ اَلۡوَانُهَا وَغَرَابِيۡبُ سُوۡدٌ‏

(35:27) Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring out produce of various colours. And in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of colour, and black intense in hue.

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَآبِّ وَالۡاَنۡعَامِ مُخۡتَلِفٌ اَ لۡوَانُهٗ كَذٰلِكَ ؕ اِنَّمَا يَخۡشَى اللّٰهَ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِ الۡعُلَمٰٓؤُا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَزِيۡزٌ غَفُوۡرٌ‏

(35:28) and human beings too, and beasts, and cattle diverse are their hues. From among His servants, it is only those who know that fear Allah. Verily Allah is Most Mighty, Most Forgiving.

The verses point to the fact that of diversity within the universe created by Allah. Diversity all around us and no homogeneity and uniformity; all shades of color and various types of creation everywhere. Diversity in the food we eat, not just in color but shape and size. Even in the mountains, are variations of colors.

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A time to celebrate diversity

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Our differences can bring us together to know one another.”

fedwa wazwaz

I was very honored to receive an email inviting me to the University of Minnesota’s tenth annual Equity and Diversity Breakfast which will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:45-9:45 AM, at the McNamara Alumni Center. The Breakfast will bring together the University community and external stakeholders—alumni, donors, community organizations, and corporate entities—to recognize the students, faculty, and staff doing the work, and to reaffirm the University’s commitment to equity and diversity.

Awards will be given to outstanding students and to an outstanding unit promoting equity and diversity.

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A picture of diversity

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Our differences can bring us together to know one another.”

fedwa wazwaz

A few years back, I was working on a major project at the University of Minnesota.  At the same time, we had a new manager, Matt Nuttall, that started at our department.  Our first encounter was not the best, although he did go out of his way to help me get approval to go to Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.  At the time, vacations were denied due to the project.  I mention this because later on we resolved our differences and I have to say we learned about each other more, and I learned I made some wrong judgments and decisions.  Now, our relationship is one of mutual respect. He is also a male ally for the women in technology at the University of Minnesota.  We are both in the partnership and collaboration committee.

As we transitioned from the major project, our team grew in various ways and he was responsible for the hiring of new employees.  I was quite impressed how committed he was to diversity, not just in gender but also ability and ethnicity, etc.,

We had a discussion on diversity during our meetings and we had a discussion over the book, Weapons of Math Destruction, How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.

He read the book and learned ways to improve diversity in hiring practices. In partnership with HR, he worked to push standards that promote diversity, not just in representation but also in inclusion.  The office of Information Technology HR is incredibly progressive and actively working with the whole department on diversity and inclusion.

Last week, we had a team lunch and a few of us went together to Wally’s in Dinkytown. It is a Middle Eastern restaurant and my favorite place to go around campus.  The team agreed.  We had a new employee at the time from Zimbabwe, how cool is that?  I can now say I know someone from Zimbabwe.  Although, there is another employee in another department from Zimbabwe, so actually, I now know two people from Zimbabwe.  How many people can say the same thing?

Below is a picture of our team.  I asked our team if I could share it and refer to it as a picture of diversity. While our differences have been used to tear us apart in the media, and at times we may face challenging moments, we can overcome those challenges and learn to mutually respect one another.  In this picture, one can see that our differences brought us together for lunch and work.  And we can come together to solve all sorts of problems.


The person taking the picture is Eduardo Chavez Herrera who is from Mexico.  I caught him counting with his fingers once, and keep reminding him in a joking manner that I caught you.  Occasionally, we fight on which food is better Mexican or Middle Eastern. He was kind enough to agree to go to Wally’s, but then again, I gave everyone an ultimatum:  Wally’s or don’t talk to me until Judgment Day.  They realized talking to me was essential to get the work done and agreed to have lunch at Wally’s.

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US.  She is a public speaker and writer and lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

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Jesus (pbuh) is also a revered prophet of Islam

By Fedwa Wazwaz

Jesus, son of Mary, peace and blessings upon them, is a revered religious figure and the bedrock of Christianity. He also is a venerated figure in Islam, the faith of some 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said: “Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary, peace and blessings upon him. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”

Like Christians, Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, upon him be peace, and in his miracles. Jesus’ life and mission are mentioned in eleven chapters of the Qur’an. A few of the chapters are titled: Maryam (Mary the mother of Jesus); Imran (noble family of Jesus), and Ma’ida (the Last Supper). Jesus, upon him be peace, is glorified in the Qur’an and is referred to as “the Messiah,” “a Word of God,” and “a Sign of God.”
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Local Human Rights Award Recognizes Interfaith Work

By Autif Sayyed, American Muslim Community Center

Eden Prairie Human Rights Award
Representatives from the three churches
and Saleem Adam of American Muslim Community
Center, second from left.

On May 20, the City of Eden Prairie honored American Muslim Community Center (AMCC) and three churches–Eden Prairie United Methodist Church, Pax Christi Catholic Community and Prairie Lutheran Church–with its annual Human Rights Award. The award was in recognition of our participation in planning and executing the Interfaith Worship Service Program in 2006 and 2007. These events brought together hundreds of people of different faiths to celebrate the commonalities held by all and to promote peace, tolerance, and awareness.

The AMCC strives to create an inclusive community spirit through its activities and programs. We have achieved this by embracing diversity as a strength rather than a weakness. The reasoning behind this approach is very simple. Read the rest of this entry