Source: Religion And Politics
It was June 12, 2016, and a man named Omar Mateen had just opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more.
Shireen Zaman reached for her phone. A program director at the Proteus Fund, a social justice-focused foundation based in Amherst, Massachusetts, Zaman knew the tragedy would hit two groups hard: the LGBTQ community, because the shooter had targeted a gay nightclub; and American Muslims, because he was a Muslim and there was sure to be a backlash. Zaman knew someone who walked in both worlds: Urooj Arshad. “She was in my contact list,” Zaman says. “I texted her to ask: How’s she doing? Does she need any support or help?”
What happened next opens a window into one of the country’s most influential networks of American Muslim civic leaders. Arshad is a co-founder of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, and she met Zaman four years earlier when both were fellows at a professional development program in Los Angeles: the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, or AMCLI. Their partnership in a time of crisis is just one example of the impact of this tiny program’s powerful network.