For the past five years, a small, dedicated group of Muslims and Christians has been meeting in Greater Cincinnati, debunking myths and dissolving stereotypes, one personal relationship at a time.
The local Muslim-Christian Dialogue confronts tough topics head-on, says organizer Bill Lonneman of College Hill. “Even open-minded people are coming in with fears and concerns about terrorism. We don’t shrink away from addressing those issues.”
Dozens of such groups have been meeting for years across the nation and around the world, but co-organizer Karen Dabdoub thinks many Greater Cincinnatians would be surprised to learn that such an organization has been quietly at work here.
Without the group, “I think there would be a lot more distance between people of different faiths in our community,” said Dabdoub, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Cincinnati.
One issue the group confronts: Mainstream Muslims respect Christians and Jews as fellow “people of the book” who also believe in a holy text and one God, Lonneman said. Yet Muslim extremists, who make up a small portion of the Muslim population, draw the lion’s share of attention for their violent acts, he said.
FULL ARTICLE FROM CINCINNATI.COM
Stirring a potentially explosive debate over faith and politics, the first Muslim woman to serve in the British cabinet said on Thursday that prejudice towards the country’s Islamic minority is so prevalent that it is seen by many as normal and uncontroversial and has “passed the dinner table test.”
“It seems to me that Islamophobia has now crossed the threshold of middle-class respectability,” Baroness Sayeed Warsi told an audience at the University of Leicester in the English Midlands. “For far too many people, Islamophobia is seen as a legitimate, even commendable, thing.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Top Ten Good News stories from the Muslim World in 2009 – that you never heard about are . . .
10. Saudi Arabia opened its first coeducational college campus, the King Abdullah Science and Technology University. In a country where the sexes have been so separated in public that some have spoken of ‘gender Apartheid,’ this move, which came from King Abdullah, provoked raging controversy. When a prominent cleric criticized having male and female students on the same campus and the teaching of modern scientific theories like Darwinism, the king summarily fired his ass. It may seem a small thing, but many big social processes start small. Most Americans forget that Princeton U. did not become coed until 1969.
FULL ARTICLE FROM PLANETARY MOVEMENT
Last month, I climbed out of my “lap” and wore a hijab, the Muslim headscarf. I thought this temporary modification of my appearance would bring me closer to an understanding of the Muslim community, but in retrospect, I learned more about my place in the world.
Simplified, one piece of fabric is all it takes to turn perspectives upside-down.
The hijab is a contested, sacred and sometimes controversial symbol, but it is just a symbol. It is a symbol of Islam, a misconstrued, misunderstood religion that represents the most diverse population of people in the world — a population of more than one billion people.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE KENTUCKY KERNEL
For decades, religious diversity in American seminaries meant the admission of students from different Christian denominations. Then Jews began to attend and even founded prominent seminaries, notably Hebrew Union College, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Yet with the notable exception of the MacDonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, few American seminaries have historically developed programs focusing on the study of Islam. The Muslim population had been dramatically underrepresented. Only in the past decade have these trends begun to change, with a greater emphasis on both teaching Islamic studies in Christian and Jewish institutions and the increasingly prominent idea that it is time for Muslim Americans to found a seminary of their own.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST