Dar Al-Hijrah Hires Full-Time Staff for Government Outreach

Joining the Dar Al Hijrah Outreach team is new Deputy Director of Government Affairs Colin Christopher.  He brings over a decade of experience working in politics and media. He worked on presidential campaigns and in international development in India.Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Colin Christopher spent the last three years working in Muslim and Catholic faith-based environmental advocacy organizations and economic justice-related issues.

You may find him at the Indonesian Muslim Association in America (IMAAM) Center in Silver Spring, Maryland where he lives with Bengladeshi-American wife. “It is a wonderful community,” says Colin of his local masjid. He will work from Dar Al-Hijrah but spend most of his time on Capitol Hill and at state and county government offices in Virginia.

Colin’s experience with Nuns in the Bus, a program that challenged immigration and health care, makes him ready to get involved in faith-based social justice and efforts in support of those who are most vulnerable. Working with Imam Johari Abdul Malik and Fazia Deen, he will expand the work Dar Al-Hirajh does in social justice advocacy and bringing change in economic policy.

Colin will work with the community on civic engagement and the voting process, as well as environmental work at the masjid. Colin is also the President of Green Muslims, an organization which urges Muslims and masajid to be more environmentally conscious.

He will be available for speaking engagements and speaking to media on behalf of Dar Al-Hijrah. One of his recent projects was to host members of Congress at Jumah salah at Dar Al-Hijrah and he hopes to make this a regular event.

“As a white male I have every privilege in the world.  I don’t face the kind the scrutiny other

[Muslims face]. I am treated differently within the community and most of the time it is an unfair advantage because I am white,” he said. At times it can be productive and helpful [but] sometimes it can be discouraging.”

“You can’t fill [Imam Johari’s] shoes – it’s been a privilege to work with him. The idea is to create a team,” said Colin. “I think we really need to understand [that] every person has something to offer.  We lose a lot of potential when we push people away. We want to find those people and create space so people can shine. They are here for a reason to work for the community.”

Colin used to teach people how to lobby politicians at his last job, and he thinks its something that might be needed at Dar Al-Hijrah. “We have many newly arrived immigrants and we [may] get more involved in the process of telling our stories,” he said.

Engaging and expanding the social services program are some goals the team has not had a chance to plan as they have been under immense pressure due to the turbulent political climate in the country. “We were thrown in the mix, we have been in a firestorm – we have not had a time to breathe,” said Colin.

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