This week in Chapel we heard from our friend Mahnaz Shabbir of Shabbir Advisors about how we can be more gracious, accepting, and understanding of our Muslim neighbors in Kansas City, the US, and around the world.
One of the most helpful questions she addressed was about misconceptions of Islam based on a few who seem to speak for Islam on an international level. She said,"It’s a challenge. It doesn’t help any when there are people who profess that they are of my faith and they do horrible things in the name of Islam." She reminded us that no matter what faith tradition from which you come, there are always others who profess the same faith that believe some things differently than you, sometimes radically different. We cannot judge all people of one faith tradition based on a few that we get information about. We do not do this with our own tradition, so we should not do it with others.
Shabbir also told us that the best way to learn more about Islam is to get to know some Muslim people who live right here with us in the Kansas City area. I know from personal experience that getting to know someone is the best way to break down stereotypes. In a summer job in St. Louis between semesters when I was in college at Jewell I worked with some Bosnian refugees who were also Muslim and I learned a lot by listening to their experiences and perspectives, and sharing my own with them.
Shabbir gave us many practical suggestions of how we might go about meeting some Muslim neighbors in Kansas City and learn more about Islam on a personal level, which I will share with you below:
- Arab-American Women Conference: March 12-15 at K State University, Manhattan, KS
- Peace Rally for the Human Race: Sat March 14, 3:30-5:00 pm. Vigil and rally on the 6th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Mill Creek Park, 47th & Main, KC MO.
- Breaking Bread Together: Sat March 14 5:30-7pm. Dinner with KC area Iraqi Refugees and Iraq War Veterans. Community Christian Church 4601 Main, KC MO. rsvp required.
- Journey of Refugees from Muslim countries to KC: Sun Mar 29, 2-4pm. Hear from immigrants from Muslim countries talk about their places of birth, their journeys to KC, how they settled here, and how Jewish Vocational Services and Catholic Charities have helped in the resettlement process. UMKC. Crescent Peace Society.
- Islamic Center of Northland-Kansas City
- Islamic Center of Greater Kansas City
- Al-Inshirah Islamic Center: 3664 Troost Ave. KC, MO 64110 816-960-0475. Primarily African-American Muslims and Muslims who work downtown.
- Greater KC Interfaith Council
- Recieve an e-newsletter about events and news about Muslims around the world. An alternative to mainstream American media coverage of Islam. Subscribe by e-mailing email@example.com
- Read The Faith Club book written by three women, Muslim, Jewish, Christian who got to know each other and share their story.