You are on page 1of 4

More About ChangeTheStory.

net
What is ChangeTheStory.net?

Huge numbers of Americans profess to having little knowledge of Islam despite the
fact that there may be as many as five million Muslims living in the U.S.
ChangeTheStory.net is an on-line resource aimed at transforming harmful
stereotypes about Muslims that persist in society.

The site offers an interactive experience where users—Muslim and non-Muslim alike—
can meet their neighbors, learn about Islam and apply techniques of interfaith
dialogue and action to local communities. Here you will find tools and helpful
information for educators, religious leaders and individuals concerned about
building bridges of understanding across lines of faith and culture.

What stories do we seek to change?

No one denies that acts of violence have been committed in the name of Islam.
Despite the fact that the percentage of terrorist acts have been perpetrated by a
tiny fraction of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims, the media has routinely
stereotyped Muslims as untrustworthy at best, and violent terrorists at worst,
poisoning the public perception. Thousands of innocent Muslims have experienced
intolerance and have been questioned by government agents, prompting fear and
suspicion by all non-Muslims. As we make caricatures of one another, communities
fracture, individuals become isolated and we all miss experiencing the rich mosaic
of relationships so unique to the American landscape.

Why change these stories now?

Acts of intolerance persist. Violence threatens to escalate when fostered by a


climate of fear and mistrust. Our hope through ChangeTheStory.net is to transform
the narrative we carry of each other, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Now is the time
to deepen understanding and respect, to reduce tensions, to head off future acts
of intolerance and to build networks of cooperation.

ChangeTheStory.net is inspired by a new major report entitled, Changing Course, A


New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World. Two organizations, Search
for Common Ground (SFCG) and the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) convened a
distinguished group of American leaders to launch a two-year project, The U.S. –
Muslim Engagement Project, to address the relationship between the U.S. and the
Muslim world.

This Leadership Group has formed a clear and strong consensus on a strategy to
enhance U.S. security and improve relations with Muslim communities and countries.
The strategy is described and explained in The U.S. - Muslim Engagement Project
Report, released on September 24th, 2008. Although the report and this web site
are independent of one another and serve different audiences, Intersections
developed ChangeTheStory.net in cooperation and consultation with staff leadership
of the U.S. – Muslim Engagement Project.

Press Kit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Megan Hoelle +1.646.723.7822
mhoelle@intersectionsinternational.org

Intersections Announces ChangeTheStory.net


An Interactive Website about Muslims in America
for Clergy, Educators and Concerned Citizens
New York, New York,
New York, New York---Huge numbers of Americans profess to having little knowledge
of Islam despite the fact that there are as many as five million American Muslims.
Intersections, a multi-cultural and multi-faith initiative of The Collegiate
Church of New York, announces the September 24 launch of a unique on-line resource
ChangeTheStory.net, that addresses this lack of understanding.

ChangeTheStory.net offers an interactive experience where users can meet their


neighbors, learn about Islam and apply techniques of interfaith dialogue and
action to local communities. The primary audiences for the web site are educators,
religious leaders and individuals concerned about building bridges of
understanding across lines of faith and culture.

Intersections has made its mark on New York City by forging common ground for
global social justice among diverse individuals and communities.

“Our goal is to build an interactive experience for concerned individuals,


educators and religious leaders that helps to change the stereotypical narratives
about Muslims that so dominates our media and prevailing public perceptions about
Muslim communities in this country and around the world,” said the Rev. Robert
Chase, Founding Director of Intersections. “We wanted to create something
groundbreaking, distinctive, and totally compelling, something that Muslims and
non-Muslims alike can call their own.”

Intersections enlisted a nationally known team of writers, theologians, video


producers and web designers to develop this resource. ChangeTheStory.net is
designed to be informative, interactive, and user-friendly. It has a youthful
look, yet will appeal to all ages. The content is designed to connect people with
informative resources and an array of tools for networking. ChangeTheStory.net
also allows people to tell their own stories of being Muslim in America.

Munir Shaikh, a doctoral student in Islamic Studies at UCLA and a member of the
writing team for ChangeTheStory.net. “I don’t know of another visually-appealing
resource like this anywhere that is so informative for such a variety of
audiences.” Some examples of the sections offered: • Meet Your Neighbor – allows
Muslims and non-Muslims to get to know each other on a one-to-one basis, through
videos and personal narratives. There is a map of Muslim communities in the U.S.;
listings of exchange programs, university groups, and links to activities that
connect people to discuss relationships and tell stories of friendship and common
experience.

• Change the Story –addresses the many myths, prejudices and misinformation
about Muslims and breaks down stereotypes. It offers a timeline of the history of
Muslims in the U.S. (for example, Morocco—a Muslim country—was the first nation to
formally recognize the U.S.); comparisons of sacred texts and historical writings
of the three Abrahamic faiths; Muslim women discussing head-coverings and dress
codes; and an Abrahamic faith calendar of holidays for communities who want to
share rituals and celebrations.

• Change the World includes recommendations from the larger Report; pointers
on how to write Op-Ed essays, and letters to senators, representatives and local
officials. It has the words of faith leaders speaking out, links to service
projects and other suggestions on how to meet your Muslim neighbors.

• For Educators and For Religion Leaders contains educational materials,


curriculum outlines, leader’s discussion guides, links to student exchange
programs, and resources for films and books.
• For Concerned Individuals offers enlightening statistics from the Report,
cutting edge videos and documentaries, interactive blogs, and other tools for
people to network nationwide.

ChangeTheStory.net was inspired by a new and major report, Changing Course: A New
Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World. The report was compiled by the
Leadership Group on U.S. Muslim Engagement, comprised of more than thirty American
leaders with expertise in foreign policy, politics, public opinion, business,
religion, education, psychology, philanthropy, national security, and conflict
resolution. These members include such luminaries as Madeleine Albright, Stephen
Covey, Daniel Yankelovich, Vin Weber and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Their report will
be released on September 24th at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The Report offers recommendations, strategies, and actions that the U.S. can take
to improve relations with Muslims across the world. The U.S. - Muslim Engagement
Project Leadership Group was convened by two organizations, Search for Common
Ground and the Consensus Building Institute.

ChangeTheStory.net has been developed in cooperation and consultation with the


staff of these two organizations. Intersections is responsible for all content on
ChangeTheStory.net. This unique website serves as an example of how increased
understanding and respect can cross lines of faith and culture.

Please note that at this time, we are only able to ship within the United States.
If you have questions about this store, please contact us at
comments@changethestory.net.

Timeline of Muslim Events in America

This 24"x36" glossy poster chronicles major contributions that American Muslims
have made to our country from 1539 - 2007, and helps students place various events
into historical perspective.

$15.00

Show Details & Purchase

DVD: Exploring the Cost of War, At Home and Abroad

In the fall of 2008, as the country was on a precipice of change, Intersections


initiated a series of conversations titled: “Exploring the Cost of War, at Home
and Abroad.” The panel discussions drew together a diverse audience from academic,
humanitarian, and civil communities to explore the often overlooked costs of the
war. This video features highlights from each of the five discussions.

$15.00

Show Details & Purchase

DVD: Installation of Intersections’ Founding Director, Rev. Robert Chase: An


Interfaith Service

This commemorative DVD offers an example of how to combine eclectic music,


powerful words, liturgy, storytelling and movement into a unique whole—a worship
service that is multi-faith, multi-generational and that explores the
intersections of our lives.
$10.00

Show Details & Purchase

DVD: Change The Story

This DVD contains 17 video segments found on ChangetheStory.net that can be used
by educators, religious leaders and concerned individuals who want to learn more
about American-Muslims or begin interfaith dialogue in the local setting. It
includes a 16-page Leaders Guide divided into three approaches—know your neighbor;
considering stereotypes; and a call to action.

$15.00

Show Details & Purchase