Workshop on ‘Intercultural Connection: Communicating with Students, Colleagues, and the Community’


Workshop panelists and participants: Anila Ali is fifth from right

Coastline Community College held a panel discussion and workshop on ‘Intercultural Connection: Communicating with Students, Colleagues, and the Community’ at their Art Gallery in Orange County. Amongst the panelists was Anila Ali, a Pakistani-American educator and community organizer and the author of a children’s book on tolerance, Mommy am I a…?

The panelists were all successful women from different communities, namely, Frances Nguyen, a business owner from the Vietnamese-American community, and Janet Cronick, from the Latino-American community.

The moderator, Coastline’s Mariam Khosravani, asked the panelists to talk about their journey to success. The panelists told of their struggles and how they overcame them with commitment, dedication, and equal opportunity available in America.

Anila Ali was asked questions about “hijaab” and about women’s rights in Islam. Mrs. Ali explained:

“Islam has given many rights to women but it’s cultural restraints that hold patriarchal societies from giving them their rights according to Islam. Islam is misinterpreted and Qur’anic sayings are taken out of context and used by extremists.”

Mrs.Ali went on to explain that she wrote the children’s book because of what she sees happening to many Muslim or children that look Middle-Eastern, in classrooms across California. She said: “Since we have written the book, so many parents and children have come forward to share their story of being targeted and name-called just because they look like they are Muslims.”

To conclude, Mariam Khoravani, thanked the Pakistani community, especially COPAA, Council of Pakistan American Affairs, in its outreach efforts. She also praised the generosity of the Pakistani community in serving the community they live in.

Mrs. Ali’s book ‘Mommy am I a…?’ is a children’s book, co-authored by a Jewish teacher, Karen Gottlieb, and illustrated by a Christian teacher, Marian Seiders. It is the perfect example of how peoples of different faiths can work together to teach peace, tolerance, and acceptance.

The book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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