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Tag Archives: Minnesota

Creating tolerance and understanding of Islam in Minnesota

Recently, the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans has witnessed “anti-Sharia” legislation introduced in several states that are a threat to religious freedom in the United States. In Minnesota, Senate File 2281, which was aimed at targeting Sharia Law, was recently introduced, then withdrawn during the 2012 MN Legislative Session.

In response to such legislation, Lori Saroya. President of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota has stated, “Across the nation, similar anti-religious freedom bills are being used by Islamophobic extremists to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”  Overall, these recent developments signify the need to build more awareness around the topic of Shariah Law.

SF 2281, and bills like it, represents a fear and misunderstanding of Shariah Law and Islam that has been prevalent across America. A mind captured by fear often times resorts to committing injustice through blind assumptions. To tackle this problem, it is crucial to research some basic facts about Shariah Law for maintaining tolerance and for meaningful discussions on this issue. For a quick overview, Qasim Rashid has an article on the Huffington Post titled, “Shariah Law: The Five Things Every Non-Muslim (and Muslim) Should Know.”

Later this week, there will be a public forum to openly discuss Shariah Law:

“Shariah Law: Myths & Facts” by Odeh Muhawesh

WHERE:

Ridgedale Regional Center, Robert H. Rohlf Room

12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55305

WHEN:

Saturday April 21, 2012 12:00-3:15pm

Free and open to public,*RSVP requested*

Sponsor: Islamic Media, 612-216-2478, islamicmediamn@gmail.com, http://www.islamicmediamn.org

Sharia Law Q and A

 Prayers on the Prairie showing on April 26th!

Prayers on the Prairie: Muslim in Minnesota

Men praying at Al Rahman Muslim Community Center.

Photo by Alex Nok Phasy

It is estimated that 150,000 Minnesotans are Muslim, yet their religious traditions are little understood by the mainstream. Join us over lunch for a brief introduction to Islam, background on the Prayers on the Prairie: Asian-Pacific Minnesotan Religious Practices project, and conversation about what it means to be Muslim in Minnesota.

When:  Thursday, April 26, 2012 from Noon.-1:15 p.m.

Where:  Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Avenue East, St. Paul (map)

Intended Audience: Everyone welcome!

Cost:  $15

For information on the speaker Zafar Siddiqui and to learn more about this Lunch and Learn event, please visit our website.

Register online!

This event is part of the Lunch and Learn programming that amplifies collaborative work with partners. Each presentation features a leader from the community who engages participants in learning and discussion around this collaborative humanities work over the lunch hour.

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Community news, Press Release

 

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Asian Pacific Students in Minnesota: Facts, not Fiction

Asian Pacific students in Minnesota

Read the entire report at http://www.capm.state.mn.us/pdf/edureport2012.pdf

This report on the educational achievement of Asian Pacific students in Minnesota, conducted by the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, broadens the data on Asian Pacific students in Minnesota.

The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans is a state agency that advises the Minnesota state legislature and governor’s office and advocates for the well-being of Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

According to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) 2011 test results, 66.1% and 54.4% of Asian Pacific students scored as proficient on the MCA reading and math tests, respectively. In comparison, 80.8% and 63.3% of White students were proficient in reading and math, respectively.

This seemingly smaller achievement gap between Asian Pacific and White students has led to less attention and concern given to the needs of Asian Pacific students in Minnesota. However, researchers, community members, and educational professionals have long recognized that the reporting of aggregated data for Asian Pacific students is misleading and masks educational disparities experienced within the Asian Pacific population in Minnesota.

In response, this report disaggregates MCA data for Asian Pacific students by language spoken at home, ethnicity, income level, English proficiency, and mobility. Through such analysis, this report provides new understandings about the academic performance of Asian Pacific students in Minnesota.

Key findings of the report are:

Significant achievement gaps exist for refugee experienced Asian Pacific students.

  • 50.3% and 40% of refugee experienced Asian Pacific students were proficient in reading and math, respectively.
  • Less than 17% of Burmese students were proficient in reading or math, the lowest of any ethnic or racial student group.
  • Less than 59% and 40% of Lao, Hmong, and Cambodian students were proficient in reading and math, respectively.
  • In comparison, 80.8% and 63.3% of White students scored as proficient in reading and math, respectively.

Students’ income level, English proficiency, and mobility status were significant factors in predicting their academic achievement.

  • Low-income Asian Pacific students experienced achievement gaps of up to 31% on the MCAs in comparison to their more affluent Asian Pacific peers.
  • Asian Pacific students receiving English Learner services experienced achievement gaps of up to 44% on the MCAs in comparison to English proficient Asian Pacific students.
  • Homeless or highly mobile Asian Pacific students experienced achievement gaps of up to 23% on the MCAs in comparison to non-mobile Asian Pacific students.

The findings from the disaggregated data directly counter the widely held misconception that all Asian Pacific students were performing at levels well above other minority students and only slightly below White students, and thus, were not as deserving of additional support. In reality, refugee experienced, low-income, English learning, and highly mobile Asian Pacific students experience significant educational disparities, and in some cases, had lower proficiency rates than other racial groups.

Recommendations for policy makers

The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans highly recommends a renewed focus on improving the educational outcomes of all students by including Asian Pacific students in the vision of educational equity. Specifically, we recommend the following actions:

1. Standardize the practice of collecting and reporting disaggregated student data.

Without disaggregated data, the educational disparities of Asian Pacific students will continue to be covered up by misleading information, making it difficult to allocate attention, resources, and support for students who need it most.

2. Streamline efforts that monitor and address the additional challenges faced by refugee experienced students as well as by students who are low-income, English Learners, and/or highly mobile.

Refugee experienced and socioeconomically disadvantaged Asian Pacific students experience significant educational barriers. Efforts to overcome these barriers should be evaluated and successful models of educational leadership, pedagogy, and programming should be shared across the state.

3. Increase the cultural competency and awareness among educational professionals of Asian Pacific students. Understanding the strengths, interests, and needs of students is crucial in moving away from a deficit view of diverse student populations and in implementing strategies to increase the academic growth of students.

4. Policy makers and education leaders should solicit the input and involvement of refugee experienced and socioeconomically disadvantaged Asian Pacific communities in the vision of educational equity.

Community members should be regarded as powerful partners in education who have expertise in determining the viability and effectiveness of potential educational programming, strategies, and interventions for their students.

Read the entire report at http://www.capm.state.mn.us/pdf/edureport2012.pdf

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in CAPM news, Resources

 

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