St. Thomas University (STU) will host a panel discussion titled “Two Faiths One God: The Muslim Experience in America,” with the intention of informing, educating and enlightening the community about the central beliefs of the faith, and the common roots it shares with other faiths.
The panel, taking place Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will feature Father James L. Heft, President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles; and, via video conferencing, Dr. Amir Hussain, who is both a professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and a Muslim whose specialty is the study of Islam. At the conclusion of the discussion, the speakers will answer questions from the audience.
“Our religions have more in common than they have differences,” said STU President Monsignor Franklyn Casale. “Our School of Theology’s Institute for Ecumenical and Interreligious Studies looks for opportunities to facilitate dialogue and scholarship across religious boundaries for the purpose of deepening knowledge and understanding of the world’s religions. With so much discussion about Islam occurring in the world right now, understanding what life in America is like as a Muslim is not only timely, but important.”
According to the Pew Research Center, Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and migration of Muslims, alongside the impact of extremist groups such as ISIS, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of U.S. politics. Yet information and facts about Muslims are not well known.
“Most Americans say they know little or nothing about Islam, which is worrisome because this lack of knowledge results in prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims,” said Hussain. “My hope is that discussions like this facilitate a diverse learning environment, shed light on the similarities between us, and help us to understand the experience of American Muslims.”
The event, hosted by STU’s School of Theology and Ministry and the Winifred and Joseph Amaturo Lecture Series, is free and open to the general public, and will take place at the Shojaee Family Law School Wing, A-112.