Welcoming Diversity: A Community Action Forum against Islamophobia and Intolerance

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The Center for Global Islamic Studies at the University of Florida, together with the Khadidja Foundation, Welcoming Gainesville, Inc., Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice, and other prominent local individuals organized a large community action event in the Thomas Center in Gainesville – on January 20, 2016. Local politicians, members of the judiciary, representatives of law-enforcement agencies, and other community leaders were present at the meeting. The event had a great turnout – with more than 200 members from the Gainesville community in the audience.

To see a flyer for this event, please click here.

The event addressed Islamophobia, intolerance, as well as the current global refugee crisis. It also dealt with the role of media in shaping public imaginations about these issues. The overall objective of the event was to generate awareness about these current matters and to highlight that global developments always have local impacts. By doing so, the event sought to identify ways to make Gainesville a more welcoming community.

Gainesville Major, Ed Braddy gave some opening remarks, while Dr. Hatem Bazian, professor in Philosophy and Islamic Studies at UC Berkeley delivered the keynote address – talking about the current discourses about Islamophobia in the US.

The participants were able to engage in discussions about these issues, which were led by Hassan Shibly (Council for American-Islamic Relations), UF professors Ester Romeyn, Iman Zawahry,Terje Ostebo, and UF PhD-candidate Ken Chitwood. Participants also had the opportunity to get practically involved through offering support for Syrian refugees. The event was moderated by Aqueela Khuddus and Paula Roetscher.

The Center for Global Islamic Studies intends to continue to be part of local initiatives that seeks to address question related to Islam, inter-religious relations, and peaceful co-existence.

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