The Basilica held a lively interfaith event on Sunday, April 3rd: Building Bridges--Confronting Islamophobia. Parishioner Nick Hansen shares highlights of the event.
“It takes some courage to do this in this day and age,” said Dr. Todd Green to over a hundred people of different faiths in the lower level of the Basilica on Sunday afternoon. Dr. Green presented as part of the program, “Building Bridges: Confronting Islamophobia.”
Green, an associate professor of religion at Luther College in Iowa, has researched and spoken on the topic of Islamophobia for many years.
He began his talk by speaking on the main factors driving Islamophobia: political factors related to the history of imperialism, ignorance towards the Islamic faith, and the narrow scope of reporting on Muslims in the mass media.
This phenomenon has real consequences: hate crimes towards Muslims happen at a rate five times higher today than prior to 9/11.
Dr. Green implored those in attendance, especially those of the Christian faith, to build relationships with people of the Muslim faith and to speak out against islamophobia.
For the second part of the program, Mohamed Ali Hassan of the Somali American Peace Council addressed the audience. He spoke about his organization’s work in Minneapolis (which is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S.). Hassan also talked about SAPC’s program, Sports 4 Peace, which aims to connect Somali youth with sports in order to help build community and promote peace.
The audience was then invited to discuss the presentations with their tables, which were filled Catholics, other Christians, members of the Jewish faith, and Somali Muslims.
The session ended with a question and answer session with both Dr. Green and Mr. Hassan.
To find out more about the SAPC, please visit www.sac.org
Dr. Green’s latest book is, “The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West”