“Ground Zero Mosque” Imam talks tolerance

Guest Contributor Sam Greenberg, SY ’13

Imam Feisal Rauf, founder and chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, will give a talk on religious tolerance and interfaith cooperation at Yale on March 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Sheffield-Sterling Strathcona Hall, 1 Prospect Street. The discussion, organized by Jews and Muslims at Yale, will be moderated by Rabbi James Ponet, head of the Slifka Center for Jewish Life. It is free and open to the public.

Imam Rauf has received national and international attention for his efforts to increase understanding and acceptance between Americans and the modern Muslim world, which is the stated goal of the Cordoba Initiative. Among his projects is the Cordoba House near the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, the controversial proposal to build an Islamic Community Center to serve New York’s Muslim population. Imam Rauf also founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement, a nonprofit that works to build understanding between the general public and the Muslim community through dialogues in faith, identity, culture and arts.

The Imam’s talk will emphasize how moderate-minded Americans of all faiths and backgrounds can join together to promote peace and work against the forces of extremism. The undergraduate organization Jews and Muslims at Yale strives to create understanding and dialogue between Jews and Muslims in the Yale community on religious and political issues. The group seeks to foster strong ties and lasting friendships among its members that can help break down barriers and create new perspectives on present conflicts.

The event is generously co-sponsored by the Intercultural Affairs Council of Yale College, the Slifka Center for Jewish Life, the Yale Divinity School, and the Chaplain’s Office.

For more information on the Imam and the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, check out some articles on the topic here.

Recap of Islamic Awareness Month Kick-Off and Ivy Muslim Conference (Part 1)

Flyer from MSA Meet & Greet, the kickoff event for Islamic Awareness Month at Yale

Meet and Greet
This month the Muslim Student’s Association of Yale is hosting a series of events as part of Islamic Awareness Month. Their first event was the kick-off meet and greet. So many people showed up that by the time I arrived a lot of the (TURKISH!) food was gone. But no worries because they still had a chocolate fountain.

Over 100 people attended the conference.

Conference Opening

There was a noticeable buzz when I arrived in the Dwight Hall Chapel. Students from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and even Brandies had traveled to Yale for the first ever Ivy Muslim Conference. Inclement weather had forced several schools’ delegations and two key speakers from DC to cancel last minute, but the conference was still well underway. Though I couldn’t grasp the meaning of the introductory prayer read from the Qur’an, I was still astounded by the audience. Among the 50 or so seated people and the dozen or more standing around there was much more ethnic diversity than I had expected. Of course I had met Caucasian Muslims before and had a Chinese Muslim friend in high school but I went into the conference without remembering that Islam transcends race. This small insight got me thinking a lot; this would be a running theme throughout the day.

Reflections from Ivy Muslim Conference

Though I’m not Muslim myself, I decided to stop by the Muslim Ivy Conference last weekend, hosted by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at Yale. It turned out to be an awesome experience to meet students from other Ivy League schools and learn about one of the world’s most influential religions.

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