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Woman Heads The Largest Islamic Organization In North America
In 1986, Ingrid Mattson, Canadian Catholic, was 23 years old when she joined an Arabic language program the majority of which were 8 ...
Friday, July 27,2007 14:26
by Stephanie Simon, Rosemont

In 1986, Ingrid Mattson, Canadian Catholic, was 23 years old when she joined an Arabic language program the majority of which were 8 years old. During that time, she used to go on her life as her counterparts, she had not been a Muslim yet. In the next spring, she gathered some of her Muslim friends to declare her reversion to Islam. Ingrid Mattson was elected by roughly 60,000 in the U.S and Canada to lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the largest Islamic organization in North America.

Ingrid is the first non- immigrant woman to lead such a massive organization. Her election comes in a critical time facing nearly six million Muslims living in the U.S. In a poll conducted by USA Today/Gallup, nearly 40 % of Americans expressed prejudice against Muslims. The poll also showed that many Americans support the idea of imposing a different ID on Muslims, and one out of five Americans does not prefer to have a Muslim neighbor.!

Many Muslims hope that Ingrid will relieve this tension. She is a native English speaker, doesn"t wear Hejab (Veil), but wears a dark and thick headscarf. She is soft- voiced and smiling. She reads the New Yorker magazine and laughs at Paris Hilton TV shows.

Anisat Nadir- head of a social service Islamic society in Phoenix- said that many Americans think that the Muslims have firstly come to the USA after 11 September! These comments were echoed by many Muslims during ISNA annual gathering, earlier this month, which was attended by about 32000 Muslims. Ingrid seems to be well respected and appreciated by many in the Muslim community. It is not uncommon to find a group of people trying to photograph her; a Muslim father who came from South Carolina with his five daughters to meet her. She is considered "a vivid example refuting the typical view of Muslims".


Ikhwanweb: Read the original article in LA Times by Stephanie Simon


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