This year, Al-Hewar Magazine and The Arab-American Dialogue are celebrating our 12th Anniversary! During these dozen years, we have witnessed a sea change in the Arab and Muslim community, which have begun to find their powerful voice. As a community, we still have a lot of hard work to do, as the terrible situation in Palestine clearly indicates; nevertheless, we have already accomplished a lot. The community is now more assertive in expressing its wants and needs and we have gained greater access to the government and media. But perhaps the most important lesson that we have learned is that there is strength in numbers. We have begun to realize that by working together for common goals, we will achieve much more than any small groups or individuals can accomplish alone.
The major way in which Al-Hewar Magazine has contributed to this phenomenon is by providing means for the members of the community to talk with each other – to dialogue. Al-Hewar Magazine provides a platform for various opinions to be expressed through the written word. It also established Al-Hewar Center to provide a place for face-to-face discussions and exchange of ideas and opinions. Those who have experienced “al-hewar” first-hand have come to realize that a respectful and open dialogue among the various members of the Arab community – from different religious backgrounds and different countries – is not only possible, but essential in helping the community to unify in the face of bias and discrimination, unbalanced governmental policies (both in the US and abroad), fanaticism born of despair, and the many other difficulties that we face.
This dialogue was initially met with skepticism by many; yet, through perseverance and a dedication to the well-being of the community and its members, the dialogue has proven to be a constructive and positive outlet for people to air their concerns and to define and work toward mutually beneficial goals.
Like any good cause, Al-Hewar has faced our share of difficulties, but in the process, we have encountered many truly amazing individuals and institutions who understand the power of dialogue and who have provided encouragement. It is still often a day-to-day struggle, but the encouragement of these people and groups, and their dedication to the principles and benefits of dialogue, have made the sacrifices and effort worthwhile.Al-Hewar Magazine is very proud to be part of the growth in community awareness, unity and strength, and we look forward to at least another dozen years of service!
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