Partly in response to the effects many fear last Tuesday’s tragedy will have on Muslims, UW-Madison officials have scheduled a community-wide “teach-in” for Wednesday.
The free public event will include teachings about the functions and practices of the Islamic religion and their social and political ramifications.
Teach-in coordinator Charles Cohen, UW history professor and religious studies program director, said he hopes the event will dispel some misunderstandings and myths about the Islamic community.
“It’s really to present some basic information about Islam to members of the campus and the Madison community, because the images of Islam and of Muslims we get in the general media are one-sided,” Cohen said.
Cohen said the meeting was also called in response to continued scapegoating and targeting of Muslims and Arabs after news last week that a group of Islamic fundamentalists may have been responsible for the attacks in New York and Washington.
“The people who destroyed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have an Islamic theology, but I think it is important for people to understand there are many Islamic theologies,” Cohen said.
The meeting will host a variety of panel speakers from UW and the city. Panel speakers include Ahmed Ali, president of the Islamic Community of Madison Area; Joseph Elder, professor of sociology, religious studies and languages and cultures of Asia; Mamoon Syed, president of the Muslim Student Association; and many more. The floor will be open to questions from the audience as well.
“I expect it to be something of a campus and community event outside the classroom routine,” Cohen said. “This is especially important since national concern about Islam’s basic stance toward war and peace, the sanctity of human life, mercy toward enemies and God’s justice has escalated since the terrorist attacks.”
The teach-in will take place Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., in Room 3650 of the Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St.