A radical tactic for reducing bigotry

A Radical Tactic for Reducing Bigotry? Intercultural/religious Engagement

According to a recent study authored by researchers at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, “a radical tactic for reducing another person’s bigotry is a frank, brief conversation.” By canvassing over 500 people in South Florida, researchers found that through a 10-minute, non-confrontational conversation people were led to reevaluate their biases and that the experience had a profound, enduring impact three months later.

If this were the only purpose for interfaith work, we would do it. But there are two even more compelling reasons that call us to this task. One is the US Constitution and the other the Islamic teachings found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the practices of the Prophet Muhammad. Both sources promote freedom of conscience without interference from either individuals or state. And both promote the idea that human growth and development require interaction among diverse groups.


Join Us In Interfaith Work At ING
Through Any of the Following Programs


Join “Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters”

Join our network of interfaith organizations that are part of Know Your Neighbor-Multifaith Encounters. Growing out of the national Know Your Neighbor (KYN) Coalition that was founded at the White House in December 2015, this grassroots initiative is bringing together interfaith groups around the country to work together, leverage each other’s resources, and initiate new interfaith programs that promote understanding and mutual respect among the people of diverse religions and cultures who together make up our country. Recent developments in this initiative include:


  1. Adding new members to the coalition and mapping their activity, which you can find here. If you know of an organization that would be interested in joining this effort please reach out to our Interfaith Coordinator Kate Chance at [email protected]
  2. Issuing a statement shortly after the election calling for continuing efforts to come together to know one another. While our network is made up of diverse organizations holding differing beliefs, we work together towards the one aim of getting to know our neighbors so as to develop empathy and understanding across our differences.
  3. Putting online our pledge to join in this effort, needed now more than ever. We invite you to sign.


Join the Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB)

Become a speaker in the Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB), which trains and sends out panels of speakers representing five major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) to give brief introductions to their faith communities and discuss current issues involving them. On Thursday, November 10th, we held an incredibly successful IFSB training attended by 12 people from the five faith groups we represent. We shared in conversation over falafel and chicken wraps, taking the opportunity to know our applicants and hear more about what interested them in this program. ING is excited to welcome new volunteers to the IFSB, and our staff are already looking forward to hosting the next training! To be added to the list of those interested in joining the Interfaith Speakers Bureau, email our Interfaith Coordinator Kate Chance at [email protected]


Attend Classes on Islam and Muslims at the
Oshman Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto


Join in the remaining classes to learn more about Muslims and their Faith. Three sessions have already been held: Introduction to Muslim Religious Concepts, History of Muslims in the U.S., and Contemporary Issues Affecting U.S. Muslims. The following classes are upcoming:

November 30: Muslim Contributions to Civilization and Interactions with Other Cultures, Ismael Nass-Duce
December 7: Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes, Maha Elgenaidi
December 14: Geopolitical Issues Affecting Muslims, Maha Elgenaidi

Look for announcements of future sessions in February 2017.


Attend A Play on Mary/Maryam from Muslim and Christian Perspectives
Dec 11th, 4pm – Santa Cruz


Join us on December 11, 4 to 8pm, where Christians and Muslims will gather to honor Mary/Maryam in both traditions with an interfaith play about her life. The event will be a benefit for the Islamic Center of Santa Cruz and Peace United Church of Christ Santa Cruz, in association with ING, which helped to create the script.

We are calling this a Halaqa/Advent event. Halaqa is a Muslim tradition of convivial study of religious texts, while Advent in Christian tradition is the four-week season that prepares for Christmas.

At the event, Christians and Muslims will sit together in small groups and, after a welcome by pastors and imams, watch the play, based on Christian and Muslim scriptures and performed by a Muslim and Christian cast. After each scene, participants will have the opportunity to discuss in their groups the differences and similarities in Mary/Maryam’s story in Christianity and Islam. The evening will conclude with a dinner (accompanied, we expect, with further conversation) featuring the varied cuisines of those present and close with interfaith prayers.


Start preparing now for Halaqa-Seder in April 2017


The Halaqa-Seder program is one of ING’s most popular interfaith activities, bringing Muslims and Jews together to reflect on a profound commonality: the Exodus story in the Torah and the Qur’an, foundational to Jewish existence and cherished by Muslims—Moses is mentioned more frequently in the Qur’an than any other prophet.

At these events, participants watch a play presenting both traditions’ versions of this narrative, engage in conversations about the similarities and differences in their faiths, and share a meal, accompanied by Jewish and Muslim ritual appropriate to the occasion.

Following our own success with this event, we want to support organizations and communities wanting to hold their own Halaqa-Seder. We have a kit at our site which explains how to organize and conduct such an event. We will also be happy to publicize your event on the interactive map of interfaith events on our website.

We hope that this project serves to bring American Muslims and American Jews together to share their rich spiritual heritages and to grow together toward the understanding and peace that we all long for.

Will you join us in bridging the divides among Americans?

Every gift counts, whether it’s $1,000 or $10 a month; your contributions made online go directly to our programs.