UT to host ‘Islamophobia’ to educate about faith

November 8, 2010 | Events, UToday
By Sarah Ritenour

The University of Toledo’s Initiative for Religious Understanding will host a lecture series titled “Islamophobia: Ground Zero, Burning Books and Americas Future.”

The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the Law Center Auditorium.

“Universities across the country are doing lectures similar to this, as it is becoming a serious and dangerous issue in America,” said Dr. Ovamir Anjum, UT Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies.

Anjum will speak about the history and the future of phobias about Islam in America.

“Islamophobia is particularly bad now, much worse than even right after 9/11. This is perhaps mostly for political reasons,” he said. “Our purpose is to teach the Toledo community why such fears harm us all, and what we can do instead.”

His lecture will be followed by Benjamin Davis, UT associate professor of law, who will talk about Islamophobia and civil rights.

David Yonke, the religion editor for The Blade newspaper, will discuss Islamophobia in the Toledo area.

“As religion editor for the last 10 years, I’ve spoken with many people from all faiths, so I’m hoping to be able to share some of the things I’ve experienced,” Yonke said. “I see a lot of signs of Islamophobia in the Toledo area, and I think that information and education is key to people understanding one another and getting along better.”

The final panelist, Ed Heilman, pastor of Park Congregational United Church of Christ, will address the Christian perspective of this issue.

An extended question-and-answer session will be available after each of the panelists speaks.

“UT is a place where people can become educated, so our hope is to educate students, faculty, staff and the community about this issue,” Anjum said.

The event is made possible by a grant from the Anderson Foundation.

For more information on the free, public event, contact Anjum at 419.530.4598.

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