International Cultural Center

Community Building Programs

community-tea-time-logoThe ICC’s dynamic community building programs are designed to foster mutual respect for various cultural and ethnic traditions, while developing new friendships and avenues for collaboration.

THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE’S FAITH COMMUNITY WORKING GROUP (FCWG)
Through the work of the County Executive’s Faith Community Working Group (FCWG), diverse faith communities are connected to county government in order to increase civic engagement and social cohesion. The FCWG addresses a range of issues from increasing the citizen’s role in disaster preparedness and public safety, to promoting positive social integration. The FCWG spans the entire county and includes all faith traditions.

ARTS AND CULTURE
ICC events that promote arts and culture allow us to reflect on how using artistic expression can be used for resolving conflicts, social change and finding common ground. Using the arts for social change is an integral component of our community building programs.


Jewish Solidarity Press Conference

In response to the bomb threats suffered by Jewish institutions, Montgomery County Executive, Ike Leggett, engaged the Faith Community Advisory Council (FCAC) to bring faith leaders to a press conference at the Jewish Community Center in Rockville. Elected officials including Senators Cardin and Van Hollen; Representatives Delaney and Raskin; County Executive, Ike Leggett and Council […]

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Group Portrait

The Second Summit of Muslim Leaders with the County Executive and other elected and appointed officials proved to be an effective antidote to the fear and division created by the tragic bombing in Brussels. Reports we presented from the Shura of MC Imams and the strategic session of Muslim leaders with MCPS.   Action items included increasing […]

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Preliminary Speaker #1

The Town Hall, Working Together for a Better Community, was co-sponsored by the Office of Human Rights, Faith Community Working Group, MC Police Department and NAACP. It followed up progress made since the earlier town Halls in July and pointed out what needs to be done today.   Chief among the outcomes were the Police […]

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“Seeing the Divine in Each Other” – the first interracial/interfaith dialogue on racism in Montgomery County took place at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring on Wed. evening Sept. 28.  Fifty-three faith leaders and leaders of faith-based organizations registered and participated in a 2-hour program. Small, diverse groups of six each met with a trained facilitator, […]

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On Tuesday, January 3, the FCWG hosted ninety people from diverse backgrounds and faith traditions at the Silver Spring Civic Center to participate in small group circles with trained facilitators for a dialogue exercise on racism. This was the third in the series of dialogues on racism held since September 2016, which have attracted nearly […]

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On Thursday, October 27 the Emotional & Spiritual Care Volunteers (ESCV) met to process their experience of serving at the Red Cross Shelter and Family Reunification Center set up immediately after the gas explosion and fire at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring on August 11. Earl Stoddard, Director of OEMHS, and Jim McClelland, […]

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working-at-tables

On Thursday, November 3, the Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) hosted an Interracial/Interfaith Dialogue on Racism: Seeing the Divine in One Another. This dialogue engaged people in difficult conversations leading to a strong sense of solidarity and deep appreciation. People left with a song in their heart, “Don’t Let the Circle be Broken,” thanks to […]

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The 4th Friendship Picnic and first one recognizing Welcoming America Week drew in excess of 2,000 people celebrating the diverse cultures and faiths of Montgomery County. The entertainment ranged from the Zainab Girls singing the National Anthem to Capital Blues Ensemble, Bangladeshi Dance, Rabbi David Shneyer, Zumba and Calm Collective Indonesian Band. Free food, face […]

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Prayer Vigil_silver spring fire

On Thursday, August 11, after the deadly gas explosion at the Flower Branch apartment complex in Silver Spring, the faith communities of Montgomery county has been very active and responding in several ways.  In addition to prayers, the Emotional Spiritual Care Volunteers (ESCVs) have been caring for families in their shelter. Within a few hours of this disaster, the Emotional […]

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The Faith Community Working Group was among the conveners of two very timely Town Hall meetings held on July 19 at the Silver Spring Civic Building and on July 20 at the Black Rock Theater addressing the violence of our culture. The first town hall drew 500 people and second town hall drew about 350.  […]

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On Thursday, July 14, 2016, Muslim leaders met with Superintendent Smith and five of his executive team for progress reports on Creating a Safe Learning Environment for Muslim Students, which had been presented several months earlier. It was a cordial and constructive session in which valuable information was exchanged, trust was built and goals were […]

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Proclamation Signing

The Third Summit of Muslim Leaders was held at the Islamic Society of Germantown on Thursday, July 7, 2016 and featured County Executive, Isiah Leggett, and County Council President, Nancy Floreen, sign a Proclamation declaring solidarity and assuring support for the Muslim community, which is highly valued and appreciated for its significant contributions to Montgomery […]

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On Monday June 13, 2016 over 200 community leaders, activists, representatives from faith- based organizations and members of the law enforcement community attended a solidarity event to speak out against hate and violence organized by Dr. Hedieh Mirahmaid (WORDE President), Hamza Khan (Muslim Democratic Club Chairperson) and Patrick Paschall (Executive Director of Free State Legal). […]

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Response Team Portrait

The Faith Leaders Response Team meeting led by the Rev. Dr. Carol Flett, on May 12, 2016, drew leaders from the Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faith traditions.  Chiefs McSwain from the Police and Goldstein from Fire and Rescues were present with members of the Crisis Intervention Team and a teacher of the world’s […]

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James Stowe Speaking

On May 15, 2016 nearly 30 people gathered for a special afternoon of learning at the Islamic Society of Germantown, facilitated by Montgomery County’s Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) and MCPS’ Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP). Parents received helpful information about navigating the school system including tips on excused absences, how to communicate […]

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On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, over 170 parents, teens and educators participated in our workshop to learn how to build their own campaigns to stop dangerous speech online and in our communities.

Dangerous speech, which fuels intolerance, hatred and violence is threatening to tear the social fabric of our society. On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, over 170 parents, teens and educators participated in our workshop to learn how to build their own campaigns to stop dangerous speech online and in our communities. EVENT SPEAKERS: Susan Benesch, Director […]

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Nouf Bazaz, Christian Picciolini, and Mubin Shaikh

On Sunday, February 7, 2016 WORDE hosted an educational forum featuring two former violent extremists, Christian Picciolini, a former leader of the white supremacist movement in the US, and Mubin Shaikh, a former Islamist extremist.  Our guest speakers shared their personal stories of how they were influenced by different violent extremist movements, risk factors of […]

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Hosted by the International Cultural Center (ICC), the Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) and the Gaithersburg Interfaith Alliance (GIA), More than 80 participants gathered to learn about the Montgomery County Model (MCM), a unique public-private initiative with a core focus on preventing violent extremism through engagement, education, and prevention programs. Council Roger Berliner and several MC […]

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The Montgomery County Executive, Isiah "Ike" Leggett, was joined by Muslim leaders, elected and appointed public officials, school board members, the State Attorney's office and other concerned community members to discuss recent acts of violence and ways Montgomery County can support the Muslim community. Nearly 60 community leaders attended the forum.

The Montgomery County Executive, Isiah “Ike” Leggett, was joined by Muslim leaders, elected and appointed public officials, school board members, the State Attorney’s office and other concerned community members to discuss recent acts of violence and ways Montgomery County can support the Muslim community. Nearly 60 community leaders attended the forum.

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Group Picture (1)

The Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Council’s (FCAC) bi-annual meeting with County Executive Ike Leggett was a huge success! More than 80 people attended this open forum, which included discussion topics issues spanning from racial justice, mental health and refugees & immigrants. Video links from My MC Media: http://www.mymcmedia.org/rev-mansfield-kaseman-on-gov-larry-hogans-syrian-refugee-statement-video/ http://www.mymcmedia.org/county-faith-leaders-react-to-gov-larry-hogans-syrian-refugee-statement-video/  

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Briefer Response #2

Nyambura Mundia, WORDE Visiting Fellow from Kenya, and Bonventure Chengeck, with the County Executive’s Office of Community Partnerships gave informative presentations about their experiences to-date working in Montgomery County on issues that promote social cohesion and greater public safety. Mundia and Chengeck are here as part of an exchange program established by the State Department’s […]

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On October 18, 2015 almost 90 people, including teachers, parents and families, gathered for a special afternoon of learning facilitated by Montgomery County’s Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) and MCPS’ Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP). Parents received helpful information about navigating the school system including tips on excused absences, how to communicate with […]

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WORDE and Montgomery County’s Office of Community Partnerships welcome two Community Solutions fellows from Kenya. Nyambura Mundia and Bonventure Chengeck Chemaket will be working with WORDE and OCP to learn the Montgomery County Model and apply it to their work in Kenya. They will be here until December and will attend many FCWG and othercommunity-related […]

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Honoring diversity in Montgomery County

“Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity” is a family guide that includes many Board of Education policies and MCPS regulations and procedures that address issues of religious diversity, with feedback elicited from multiple stakeholders throughout both the faith community and MCPS. This is a historic document – never released before in Montgomery County – and perhaps […]

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Music Group #1

FCWG participated in Montgomery County’s annual Friendship Picnic, where more than 1500 attended and enjoyed food, music, face-painting, a carousel, train rides, and much more! The success of the picnic was a testament to both the diversity and strength of the Montgomery County community.

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Google Maps image of Mother Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun St Charleston, South Carolina

At the Silver Spring Civic Center on June 24, 2015 there was only standing room left at the prayer vigil in support of Mother Emanuel AME Church. The Black Ministers Conference, Faith Community Advisory Council, Montgomery County Offices of Human Rights and Community Partnerships, Jewish Community Relations Council, Montgomery County Muslim Foundation, Committee on Hate/Violence, […]

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Large Group Portrait

On June 16, 2015, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson met with the Montgomery County Executive’s Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) to discuss the Department’s ongoing efforts to safeguard local communities, and to explore how the Montgomery County Model (MCM) can be replicated across the country. This special event at the International Cultural Center brought together 120 […]

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On June 10, 2015 almost 110 people attended a community forum on Honoring Religious Diversity in Montgomery County, hosted by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) on June 10 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville. The event reflected the ongoing collaboration and partnership between MCPS and the FCWG, […]

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On June 3, 2015, 100 Faith leaders from Anglican to Zoroastrian enjoyed dinner at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area. Assistant Police Chief, Darryl McSwain, who serves with the Faith Leaders Response Team, addressed the subject of Community Policing in relationship to Baltimore.

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This hands-on workshop was led by Rabia Chaudry, celebrity blogger from SplitTheMoon.com, who was featured on the hit podcast SERIAL. This workshop included an opportunity for students to make theiir own blogs. They learned how to leverage social media tools to raise awareness on important issues like cyber bullying. Atefeh Fathnezad, who facilitates our Global […]

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In the first workshop, held on April 18, 2015, students produced a podcast episode in order to raise awareness of cyber security. The workshop provided high school students an opportunity to develop an informative and engaging episode that would inform their peer networks of potential threats associated with online activity and how to protect themselves […]

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justArt III

This spring, students in our weekly Global Citizen’s Forum developed poetry and prose to raise awareness of bullying and cyber bullying through the topic of stereotypes. Students were encouraged to develop pieces that would inform their peer networks of how stereotypes fuel hate speech towards an individual or groups of people, which can also lead to […]

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Faith Leaders Response Team Group Picture

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the Faith Leaders Response Team including representatives from the Baha’l, Buddhist, Christian, LDS, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Unitarian Universalist faith communities met at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville for progress reports and further training related to responding to emergencies and relating to persons with mental illness. It included a […]

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The Emotional Spiritual Care Volunteers (ESCV) cohort came together for their second quarterly meeting on April 16, 2015. During the meeting, cohort members and guest participants listened to a presentation by MCPD Officer Scott Davis from the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).  Below are some the resources and presentations that were mentioned: FCWG Presentation: Recognizing and […]

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FCWG Joint Committee Portrait

On April 14, 2015, members of the Faith Community Work Group who included many public and private stakeholders, met to discuss ongoing and future FCWG initiatives, including: An update on the Town Hall with Chief Manger An upcoming meeting with County Executive Ike Leggett on May 14th from 4-6pm An upcoming Faith Leaders Response Team (FLRT) meeting on April 22 from […]

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FCWG Town Hall with MCPD Chief Thomas Manger

On March 16th 2015, over 200 community members packed the auditorium at the Peoples Baptist Community Church for an interactive Town Hall with Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger, who discussed the importance of building trust between police and communities, especially in the light of recent events such as the DOJ report on the Ferguson […]

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Over 50 people attended a workshop entitled “An Introduction to Abraham’s Children”, an adult educational interfaith initiative developed by the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies (ICJS), which was held at the Muslim Community Center (MCC) on March 10th, 2015. The in depth workshop explained how the three different Abrahamic faiths perceive the same stories […]

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December 2, 2014

Over 50 people from many different faith communities attended the “Security Training for Faith Based Organizations” on December 2, 2014, which was hosted at Adat Shalom in Bethesda. Our presenters provided a two hour free training which taught participants how to secure their institutions and houses of worship – as well as how to protect […]

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December 1, 2014

On December 1, 2014, an Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service for Montgomery County Elected Officials was held at Rockville United Church. Members of many faith traditions came together to affirm their leadership through prayer and the offering of blessings.  

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Interfaith Prayer for Ebola Relief in West Africa

Nearly 150 concerned individuals from diverse communities came together in solidarity for the November 19th “Interfaith Prayer Service for Ebola Relief in West Africa.” Prayers from numerous faith traditions were recited, touching the hearts of many, whose tears flowed as they listened to passionate pleas for help. As Reverend Carol Flett, Chair of the Clergy […]

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On October 29th and 30th 2014, the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) hosted a training program to certify county residents to become Emotional Spiritual Care Volunteers (ESCV) in the case of natural or man-made disasters.

On October 29th and 30th 2014, the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) hosted a training program to certify county residents to become Emotional Spiritual Care Volunteers (ESCV) in the case of natural or man-made disasters. The training, which was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockville, MD, was delivered by the National […]

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Over 100 people attended the FCWG & WORDE Event: "Understanding the ISIS Threat to the Homeland"

On October 8, 2014, the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) and WORDE co-hosted “Understanding the ISIS Threat to The Homeland.” Over 110 people, including representatives from local, state and the federal government, came together to hear an international expert panel discuss the recruiting tactics of ISIS and other terrorist groups and explore innovative […]

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Friendship Picnic

On September 14th, 2014, the ICC joined with other members of the Faith Community Working Group for the Second Annual Montgomery County Friendship Picnic, which was open to all members of the Montgomery County community. The event drew approximately 1,000 attendees from throughout the county. The Friendship Picnic is a county wide initiative that brings together […]

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With the goal of creating what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the more beloved community,” ICC President Hedieh Mirahmadi joined local groups on June 18th to speak and listen to progress reports from the Interfaith Community Liaison, the Religious Land Use Working Group, the Faith Community Working Group and the newly formed Neighbors in […]

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“For me, this is hate speech… But according to the court, it’s freedom of expression. We will not be critical of the Metro for running them. They’re required to do that legally. On the other hand, my concern is that they are appealing to ignorance, to insecurity that many people carry with them. So this […]

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Many other great organizations took part

The ICC was thrilled to take part in The Ghandi Brigade’s Youth Media Festival in Silver Spring, May 31st. A showcase and screening for local youth who have produced their own films, this wonderful occasion provided the ICC with a chance to showcase the excellent work that our first justArt workshop produced back in January […]

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Montgomery County residents were given a sad and timely reminder this week of the threat of homegrown radicalization and the importance of understanding and countering extremism at its roots. The news of anti-Jewish graffiti sprawled across multiple locations in Potomac, including a Synagogue, was emphasized even more by the shocking fact that the two suspects […]

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“One of the reasons why we’re so passionate about…  trainings is because, right now, Montgomery County represents over 1 million people, and that’s a lot more eyes and ears that will come across certain individuals with mental illness, and more importantly, you’ll be in a position to help intervene and/or find resources for them before […]

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In partnership with the City of Gaithersburg, the ICC gathered a diverse group of Montgomery County youth, who learned (in just 3 hours) video editing skills, and then created a unique short film on the topic of alienation. These videos were based upon the students’ own creative works (original artistic content from the previous justArt […]

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On Thursday, April 3, 2014 WORDE President Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi provided testimony at a hearing organized by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The   hearing “Women’s Education: Promoting Development, Countering Radicalism,” examined how expanding educational opportunities for women in countries prone to violent extremism can create economic opportunities and help counter the spread of radicalism. […]

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On Sunday, March 23 the altar at the Church of the Ascension was aglow with music from three different faith traditions performed by artists young and old!  All proceeds from the event will benefit Youth Against Hunger, ICC’s community service program dedicated to ending hunger in Montgomery County as well as the BJC/BHPC’s Stop Hunger […]

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Family Reunification Process

As part of its initiative to increase the faith community’s role in disaster preparedness, the Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) has been working with strategic partners to identify ways whereby we can collaboratively prepare for emergencies and develop the community’s capacity for disaster relief. Our participation in the Family Reunification Exercise on March 8th was […]

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White House Delegation

A delegation of Montgomery County officials was invited to the White House on March 18 by Mr. George Selim who is Director for Community Partnerships on the National Security Council.  The purpose was to discuss the Montgomery County Model developed by Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi, President of WORDE and Co-Chair of the Faith Community Working Group, […]

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Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi with Catherine Leggett

Each year Montgomery Women presents the Rising Star Award to an outstanding woman leader.  This year’s award went to WORDE President and ICC Founder, Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi.   The Phyllis Campbell Newsome “Rising Star” Award honors the life of a visionary community activist and a founding member of Montgomery Women who convinced nonprofit organizations, elected officials and front […]

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Countering Violent Extremism

On March 8, 2014, the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) hosted “Understanding Violent Extremism”, a workshop aimed at increasing the faith community’s awareness of both domestic and international violent extremist groups. Held at the Islamic Center of Maryland (ICM) in Gaithersburg MD, the event featured an engaging discussion led by speakers from local […]

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Yusuf and the Poetry group

The ICC, in collaboration with the City of Gaithersburg, gave a debut to its original After-school Arts Program, “JustArt” in January of 2013. Three working artists, of three different genres taught a diverse group of Gaithersburg High School Students techniques and skills in their preferred fields. Yusuf Misdaq (Poetry), Aaron Schneyer (Music) & Jason Hamacher […]

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Group Picture 1-28-14 (Uma Ahluwalia)

On January 28th, a successful meeting with DHHS Director Uma Ahluwalia brought together 58 clergy into dialogue about accessing county social services. Co chair Rabbi Batya Steinlauf updated participants on efforts to expand cultural diversity training to students and staff at MCPS, while co chair Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi explained how the Montgomery County Model is […]

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On November 10, 2013, the ICC cosponsored a highly successful concert featuring Heartbeat Jerusalem, which unites and empowers Israeli and Palestinian youth musicians to build trust and develop creative nonviolent tools to transform conflict. A diverse range of musicians and artists gathered to explore the power of music to connect people around the world.  This […]

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On October 29, 2013, the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) hosted an Internet Safety seminar at Watkins Mill High School. Over 100+ parents and teens as well as representatives from local, state and the federal government attended the event. Speakers discussed risks such as online radicalization, recruitment efforts of transnational terrorist organizations, internet-based […]

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Friendship Picnic

On September 15th, the ICC joined with other members of the Faith Community Working Group at Montgomery County Friendship Picnic, which was open to all members of the Montgomery County community. Have a look below for some photos of the days colorful events!

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9/11 Unity Walk, 2013

The ICC was a proud participant in the 2013 9/11 Unity Walk, which attracted nearly 1,000 walkers this year. The 2013 Walk was dedicated to the life and leadership of Nelson Mandela.  At the time of the Walk, the transformational former South African President Nelson Mandela was critically ill. For 67 years, Nelson Mandela devoted […]

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Faith Community Working Group Meeting with Ike Leggett

On September 10, 2013, over 60+ attendees participated in the Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Council annual meeting with County Executive Ike Leggett at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockville. The discussion centered on improving collaboration between faith communities, and engaging additional residents to address a broad range of local issues, from land use and […]

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On September 9, 2013 approximately 60 individuals from a diverse range of faith communities and nonprofit organizations attended a disaster preparedness and response meeting at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Gaithersburg, MD. The meeting was conducted under the auspices of the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FWCG) to improve coordination between the faith […]

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The Faith Community Working Group was begun out of the County Executive’s office as part of his effort to increase faith based participation in all aspects of county  life—everything from food insecurity issues, to upholding religious land use laws and being a resource in violence prevention.On August 28, 2013, the subcommittee organized a town hall […]

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BJC Potluck

On June 9, 2013, interfaith members of the Bethesda Jewish Congregation (BJC), Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church (BHPC), Idara-e-Jaferia mosque and the International Cultural Center (ICC) met at the home of BJC host Gary Sampliner to share food and dialouge. At the potluck, Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi, founder of the ICC, was invited to share her thoughts […]

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Partnership to Prevent Violence in Montgomery County Thursday, April 25, was an amazing evening at ICC.  We brought together the faith community, government officials, youth activists, gang prevention experts and journalists to prevent violence. Thank you to all who participated and pledged their commitment. We were honored to have Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett join […]

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Community Member Introductions

In light of the recent Boston terrorist attack, the Montgomery County Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) called leaders of faith communities, government officials, youth activists, gang prevention experts and journalists for a town hall forum on preventing violence on April 25th, 2013. The meeting was hosted by the International Cultural Center (ICC) and led by […]

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MCC Seniors Event

On the 13th of April, 2013, the ICC attended the Muslim Community Centers “Healthy Aging” Seniors event in Silver Spring, Maryland. Also in attendance were County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Council Member George Leventhal, as well as the head of the MCC’s Senior Program, Mona Negm, and ICC President Hedieh Mirahmadi.

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Persian New Year "Haft-Seen" Table

Around the world, spring is celebrated as a time of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation.  As our neighborhoods become alive with the sights and sounds of the season, join us for a multi-cultural celebration of the Beauty of Spring at this month’s ICC Community Tea Time.Community Tea Time is an ICC community building initiative that was […]

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JAMmART Exhibit (7 pieces)

The International Cultural Center invites you to A workshop with the artists of Jews and Muslims Making Art Together Jews and Muslims making Art together (JAMmARTt) is a project that came about as an idea of one person who reached out to another and another and eventually, with the help of the Muslim Community Center […]

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Audience

On Sunday, November 4, 2012 from 3 to 5pm the International Cultural Center (ICC) organized an “Interfaith Tea Time” to share and learn “The Heritage of Gratitude.” The American tradition of Thanksgiving taps into the principle of gratitude which is inherent in all faiths.  In this spirit of gratitude and giving, participants brought nonperishable food […]

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The International Cultural Center (ICC) community joined the 9/11 Unity Walk on Sunday, September 9, 2012 from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m at the Washington Hebrew Congregation. The 2012 9/11 Unity Walk brought together people of all ages, backgrounds and faiths to learn to respect each other through a framework of experiential education, compassionate leadership and […]

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