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Ask a Muslim: What is true Islam?

  • Founder's Metropolitan Community Church (map)

With the toxic media and political narrative of Muslims feeding into a vitriolic atmosphere, it is time we come together for an open and honest discussion about Islam. What is true Islam? Who practices true Islam? Where do the extremists find the basis for their beliefs, and how have groups like ISIS perverted a long and steady religious tradition? And finally, how do we combat the atmosphere of violence and hate that has befallen our Muslim compatriots? Join us as we discuss these questions and more in our next “Ask A Muslim” panel discussion at the Founder’s Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, CA on November 13th.

Ask a Muslim, the monthly series organized by The Markaz and Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), presents an opportunity for an honest discussion about the toxic narrative of Islam in the United States. Moderated by MPV’s Director of Communications, Crystal Keshawarz, we will welcome Arabic scholar, PBS writer/producer, published author, and Muslim ally David Stansfield, to discuss his research through his book, Islam vs. ISIS: Why the True Islam is the Exact Opposite of ISIS. Professor Kenyatta Bakeer-Allgood, a scholarly pillar of the Los Angeles Muslim community, will join us to discuss solutions to ending the toxic narrative of Islam as well as her perspectives on what constitutes, “True Islam.”

Speaker Bios: 

David Stansfield.jpeg

David Stansfield - Born in England, David has spent most of his career as an educator and educational television writer-producer in Canada and the United States. He has written and produced some four hundred television scripts for TVOntario in Canada, PBS, the Discovery Channel, NHK, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Time-Life. His TV productions have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have won over fifty international film and television awards, including the nomination of “The Middle East” series for the Best Educational Documentary category of the 1987 Academy Awards. He has also served as Media Delegate to the Gulf States in the Middle East for the Ontario Government. His book, Islam vs. ISIS, was endorsed by Khizr Khan, who said,  “This is an exceptionally well presented, timely, and much needed work. As I read it I gain light and grace from it. Thank you, David You inspire me, you are our hero. May your pen have more power and you have peace, health, and success.”

Kenyatta Baker-Allgood - Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kenyatta hails from a family that has been instrumental in building the foundation of Islam in Los Angeles. Her parents were both educators who helped start and taught in Mohammad Schools and Sister Clara Muhammad Schools. Kenyatta holds a BA in Child Development and an MA in Early Childhood Education. She is in the initial stages of beginning her PhD in interreligious studies at Bayan Claremont Institute. Kenyatta currently serves as a Child Development Professor for the Los Angeles Community College District and National University as well as a consultant for child care centers and programs. She and her husband Marcus are members of LA Voice, an interfaith organization that has over 55 congregations that have been instrumental in changing Los Angeles for the better. They were successful in passing Proposition 47, which reduces 6 low level felonies to misdemeanors and gives people resources to help them in their overall life. Kenyatta is a Khateebah for The Women’s Mosque of America, and she serves as a member of the SoCal Muslim/Jewish Forum.


Crystal Keshawarz (Moderator) - Crystal is MPV’s Director of Communications, and combatting Islamophobia through peacemaking has been a key motivation in her work with the organization. She recently collaborated with Local Progress to present a referendum to end Islamophobia to West Hollywood’s City Council, which passed with a unanimous vote. Her work to bring MPV and its community partners together for a solidarity march and peace rally in Los Angeles was featured in Upworthy, and this December she will host the first international conference of Afghan Women in the Diaspora in London. She attended Arizona State University where she studied Political Science and International Studies.