General Assembly 2014 Event 407
This event was sponsored by Peace and Unity Bridge.
This worship invites non-Muslims to understand Islam, bridge the dangerous chasm between Muslims and non-Muslims, and explore life lessons from the inspiring Islamic tradition. We’ll raise a collective prayer for love, healing and understanding among Muslims and non-Muslims. After, we’ll share info on tested programs and educational resources for next steps.
A Project of the Washington UU Church, Washington, VT
Funded in part by a Grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility
To address Islamophobia and to cultivate understanding and friendship among non-Muslims and Muslims. This project, in its third year, offers resources to counter the severe and dangerous tensions, misunderstandings and animosity across the faith and cultural groups. The project helps members of UU congregations and others to open hearts and minds to valuable life lessons found in the powerful and inspiring religious tradition of Islam. In these trying times when Islam and Muslims are being targeted, we have the opportunity to inform ourselves and speak up for tolerance and understanding. A main aim of the project is for non-Muslims to become familiar with Islam and Muslims, so we need not be fearful out of ignorance.
This workshop includes a presentation on the basics of Islam and the value of facing what it is that may be unfamiliar; small group discussion, a lunch of food from Islamic cultures; and a panel of Muslim spokespeople. If You’d like to host the workshop, please be in touch. It lasts between 4 to 6 hours. The Fund for UU Social Responsibility was so pleased with the first year of work, that they more than doubled the funding for our second year. Here is a comment from a participant at the workshop in March.
“Because of the way the workshop was organized by Rev. Kennedy and the communication skills of the Muslims on the panel (and the small group discussions, this was the best workshop dealing with human interaction and gaining a better understanding of people other than myself that I have ever attended. Rev. Kennedy does an excellent job in fulfilling a need for more understanding of Islam at a time when the need is acute.” Neil Richardson, member of St John's Episcopal Church in Randolph, VT, and an active member of Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
The web site has the following materials: Events, Programs, Resources, Worship Resources, Links to Useful Web Sites, and Project Advisors. The Religious Education Materials (under Resources) in particular lists documentary films about Islam with small group discussion ground rules and guidelines. Overall the web site is meant to be a resource for congregations on addressing Islamophobia.
Featured Film: Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslis Really Think. We highly recommend this eye-opening one-hour documentary of a Gallop poll. Great for Adult Religious Education.
Rev. Kennedy is available to offer a lectures or sermons on Islam. The information and ideas are offered in an engaging manner that truly helps non-Muslims relate to the power of the Islamic tradition. Perhaps this comment from a past participant in a program is the best example of the impact of this program.
“We were privileged to have Rev. M'ellen Kennedy come speak to us in a program entitled, ‘What I about Love Islam’ as part of an All About Islam Series I coordinated in the Fall of 2011 in Durham, NH for the seacoast's Active Retirement Association. We had a large audience of about 80 academics and professionals of all genres for this special event and Rev. Kennedy made an indelible impression. These very educated participants went away very enlightened. And given our respective ages, this is no small achievement. Our group is still talking about the way she conveyed both her passion and knowledge of Islam. So inspirational was M'ellen, that the group continues to spread the memory of her love of the subject and the import of the Qur'an. Rev. Kennedy is a unique spokeswoman for Islam. We all need her voice as we try to build bi-cultural bridges and establish ongoing dialogue to combat distorted, destructive Islamophobia.” Carol Selberg, President, Active Retirement Association, Durham, NH
“I have come to know the outstanding work that Rev. M’ellen Kennedy has been carrying out in various communities in New England. Her work has been critical to promote tolerance, understanding, and respect between various religious groups. It is also one that seeks to build bridges between communities through which they can exchange, cooperate, and promote the well-being of their future generations.
“In my capacity as an Imam (religious and community leader) for over two decades, I have seen many faces of intolerance and extremism…. I have also seen attempts by some interfaith groups and other citizens to present different conciliatory views, or allow such different views to be expressed. … Rev. Kennedy’s activities in this regard have so far shown to be among the very few that require our strong support and the support of all people of conscience. M’ellen has been able to reach out and touch the hearts of ordinary people in a unique and effective way.
Mohamed Ibrahim, Ph.D. Imam and Director, Islamic Society of the Seacoast Area, Dover, NH
Audio recordings of General Assembly (GA) programs are available for purchase. Every GA 2014 registrant has access to all of the 2014 audio content at no charge.
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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
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Last updated on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.
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