After self-development and mentorship, this is the second but parallel track that we urge everyone who commits to Islam as a life mission and to America as a homeland to embark upon. Social outreach and networking is critical both for societal reform and for community renaissance, simply because it ensures social cohesion. That social bonding, in turn, paves the way for citizens’ cooperation for the greater good. Indeed, the more cohesive the society is, the healthier and stronger it is. And the more people know each other, the more they respect, support, and positively impact one another.
Social outreach and networking also paves the way for sharing and exchanging information, knowledge, and experiences. It creates opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. Moreover, citizens are usually civically engaged at different levels and in different domains. So social interaction will probably enhance the general population’s civic awareness, concern, and engagement. This will create opportunities for cooperation in areas of common interest. Furthermore, because people tend to despise that which they don’t know, maximizing social interaction is instrumental in combating bigotry and prejudices. This is very important, given the history of America and the great diversity of the American society.
Our objective is to enhance social cohesion and cooperation for the greater good by enhancing mutual understanding and respect, both in society at large and in our immediate environment (neighborhood, workplace, and pertinent civic communities and groups). We want to connect with people in those circles, and we want to contribute to the bonding of these groups together. We want the champions of this movement to become social magnets.
Active social networking is very important to societal reform, as it helps to reverse the endemic selfishness, individualism, and social disconnection among people. Networking can also undo the rapid decrease we have seen in caring, solidarity, and compassion in our society.
It is true that America became the envy of the world largely because of Americans’ rogue individualism and self-reliance. If individualism is paired with consumerism and carried too far, however, things are apt to backfire. That’s how you get the “me-first” psychology that we see too often today.
While we realize that each one of us will end up connected to people at different levels of the spectrum of relationships, we want to keep nurturing existing relationships and building new ones to expand and solidify our social network.
In our social interaction, we want to focus on commonalities and areas of common interest. We want to make those relationships and interactions as fruitful and meaningful as possible, and we want to gear them to enhance the quality of our lives. Our social interactions and relationships can and should enhance our civic awareness, concern, and engagement. They should, therefore, facilitate our individual and collective contribution to the greater good.
Our goal is to uplift ourselves and our people and to better our country. This will automatically make our religion and our community relevant and respected.