Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bronx Muslim Forum Sponsored by Bronx African American History Project Opens Hearts and Minds

Yesterday's Bronx Muslim forum at the Al-Amin community center was, for me, my colleague Dr Jane Edward and my students, an eye opening, even life changing event. The people who spoke at the Forum and who we interacted with over pizza and Halal Chinese food, defied conventional stereotypes of Muslims in every conceivable way. They varied enormously in appearance national origin, gender and degree of orthodoxy, but they all conveyed one powerful message- that the Islam they practice and the Islam in the Koran does not promote violence and that those who use it for those purposes are corrupting the true spirit of their faith. All spoke of their profound commitment to live in harmony with people of other faiths and were involved in efforts to promote interfaith unity. You could not help but be moved by, not only by their presentations, but the warmth and compassion and hospitality which they displayed in conversations. The person who organized the event, Sheikh Moussa. Drammeh, is someone who is quite literally reinventing American Islam as an ecumenical force in the Bronx and New York City. He not only has a synagogue who shares space with his mosque, he invites the entire Bronx community in for meals and public events. I only wish more of my students and colleagues were there to witness and be part of an event of this kind, but that will come in time. I left yesterday's forum filled with energy and filled with hope

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