Campus event to explore ‘Islamophobia in America’

Oct. 17, 2012

by Kylie Peterson

In hopes of fostering peaceful dialogue and a greater understanding of American Muslims, three UW–Madison organizations will host a series of lectures, performances and discussion called “Understanding Islamophobia in America.”

Sponsored by the Muslim Students Association, in conjunction with the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions and the Muslim-Jewish Volunteer Initiative, the event will take place Friday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in Varsity Hall of Union South.

“The aim of 'Understanding Islamophobia in America' is to counter negative stereotypes of Islam and Muslims, and to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of the Muslim community in the United States,” says Siddique Akram, president of the Muslim Students Association.

The event will host notable speakers from UW–Madison, as well as others from across the country.

Keynote speaker Ahmed Rehab, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago, will discuss the definitions, origins, nature, motivations, machinations and consequences of Islamophobia. Rashid Dar, a UW alumnus and former program director at Park 51, a planned  Islamic community center near the site of the 9/11 attacks, will share his experiences. UW Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes plans to discuss the anti-Sharia movement, and UW Professor Jennifer Loewenstein will address the reaction to the “Innocence of Muslims” video. Huffington Post writer Daniel Tutt will then speak on strategies for responding to Islamophobia in a larger historical context.

“Understanding Islamophobia in America” also will include poetry, spoken word and a performance by the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community. An open discussion will follow the lectures.

The event is free and open to the public.