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.