Interfaith Panel Puts Pluralism in Perspective

ING Interfaith Speakers Bureau Panel Puts Pluralism In Perspective

ifsb bellarmine panel


Bellarmine College Preparatory School recently hosted an ING interfaith panel on the topic of pluralism. Maha Elgenaidi, as facilitator, posed three questions to each panelist: What are the different views of pluralism in your tradition? What groups in your tradition take a negative view of pluralism? How can we combat negative attitudes toward pluralism and promote positive views? After describing the core values of their traditions that favor pluralism, each panelist also described elements within their tradition that work against a pluralistic view. This ING approach made for a rich and lively discussion. Bellarmine students, as they usually do, had some very provocative questions. Everyone came out of the discussion with a clearer idea of the challenge that religious pluralism presents. One student remarked, “I saw Islam as more exclusive; now I see it as much more inclusive.”

Here is a selection of other testimonials from students at the panel:

This presentation honestly gave me a sense of hope for our world because these people actually take the time to respectfully talk to one another.

The questions about the extremist branches of each religion were very intriguing and taught me a lot about how these branches view those groups.

I was surprised to hear that Judaism and Islam share a good deal of similarities and revere each other. It was surprising to me to find out the majority of conflict is political and unrelated to religious disagreements.

We all grow up with our own misconceptions about different religions, and what the panel speakers talked about highlighted the good of the religions.

I thought that they panel did a good job of keeping the conversation in realistic terms with regards to recognizing the weaknesses in their own religious communities.

My view on my own religion (Catholicism) has changed because I’ve learned that principles of other religions can supplement my beliefs.

I think that I had a distorted view on Muslims simply because most of my exposure of Muslims comes from the media, so this was a lot of new information to digest.

My views of religious people have definitely changed – essentially, even if someone of your religion does not agree with you, that person is not any less religious.

New Mailing for Educators

For the last twenty-one years, ING has provided education about Muslims and their faith to Bay Area educators through interactive presentations. Additionally, for the last seven years we have also been providing multi-faith panels featuring representatives from the five major world faiths. The above images are from a postcard we recently mailed to Bay Area educators which lists the different presentations and panels that we offer free of charge. For teachers in areas where we cannot provide a speaker, we are pleased to provide access to our presentations and curriculum online free of charge. 

US Muslim Clerics
Condemn Boko Haram

A group of prominent American Muslims scholars, clerics, and politicians have penned an open letter to the leader of Boko Haram in Nigeria, chastizing the organization for disrespecting Islam. The full letter, along with its signatories, is reproduced below:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful –

Abubakar Shekau:

We urge you to immediately release the young children you have unconscionably taken. Your actions have shocked Muslims across the world and have disrespected Islam and the teachings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

Your justification for stealing these children – that education for girls goes against Islam – has no basis whatsoever in our faith. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) wisely emphasized that every Muslim man and woman has a duty to seek edu
cation. You have truly strayed from Islam when your actions betray its first command: “Iqra!” [recite or read, in Arabic]

You do not represent Islam or what Muslims know to be the teachings of Islam. Your attempt to transform a central tenet of Islam into a vile lie used to kill and maim innocent Nigerians of all faiths is transparent. You treat children like cattle. It is abhorrent and sinful to pretend to be a Prophet to whom Allah has spoken.

A faithful reading of the teachings of Islam compels you to immediately return these children to their families. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) instructs us to set an example of justice and mercy. In Surat Fussilat, Ayah 34, we are told that “the good deed and the evil deed are not alike,” and we are instructed to “repel the evil deed with one that is better.”

If you would like to follow the teachings of Islam, listen to the global chorus of voices that are enjoining you to do what is right: return these children to their families and replace the evil in your heart with peace and learning.


Keith Ellison
U.S. House of Representatives
Minneapolis, MN

André Carson
U.S. House of Representatives
Indianapolis, IN

Imam Mohamed Magid
ADAMS Center
Sterling, VA

Imam Abdullah T. Antepli
Duke University
Durham, NC

Oussama Jammal
U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations
Washington, DC

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf
Zaytuna College
Berkeley, CA

Imam Sheikh Jamal Said
The Mosque Foundation
Bridgeview, IL

Imam Sheikh Kifah Mustapha
The Mosque Foundation
Brigeview, IL

Dr. Hatem Bazian
American Muslims for Palestine
Palos Hills, IL

Mazen Mokhtar
Muslim American Society
Washington, DC

Nihad Awad
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Washington, DC

Naeem Baig
Islamic Circle of North America
Queens, NY

Khalil Meek
Muslim Legal Fund of America
Dallas, TX

W. Deen Mohammed II
The Mosque Cares
Chicago, IL

Mahtabuddin Ahmed
Muslim Ummah of North America
New York, NY

Hussein Ata
The Mosque Foundation
Bridgeview, IL

Shakeel Syed
Shura Council of Southern California
Orange Grove, CA

Imam Talib Shareef
The Mosque Cares
Washington, DC

Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat
Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland
Baltimore, MD

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi
Al-Maghrib Institute
Memphis, TN

Imam William Suhaib Webb
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
Boston, MA

Imam Sohaib Sultan
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

Imam Omer Bajwa
Yale University
New Haven, CT

Imam Yahya Hendi
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

Imam Dr. Salahuddin M. Muhammad
President, Association of Muslim Chaplains
Garner, NC

Imam Beau Latif Scurich
Northeastern University
Boston, MA

Imam Jihad Turk
Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School
Claremont, CA

Naila Scurich Baloch
Tufts University
Medford, MA

Imam Tarif Shraim
University of Maryland
College Park, MD

Shaykha Tahera Ahmed
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL

Chaplain Ailya Vajid
Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, PA

Imam Adeel Zeeb
Wesleyan University
Midldetown, CT