Interdisciplinary Studies and Peace Studies professor Mazida Khan delivered a speech on Tuesday, November 10th for the 2015 Peace Studies Lecture Series. Khan spoke of "How Islam and American made me a Peaceworker," offering advice from her personal history on how dialogue can be used to promote peace.
Muslim Americans are five times more likely to experience violent hate crimes since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Islamophobia is no longer an irrational fear native to the fringes of the American political body, but rather is being introduced as a mainstream political issue. The malicious anti-Islamic rhetoric of many American lawmakers is not just alarming, but indicative of how patriotism is repackaged as an irrational fear of Muslims, leading to increases of actual physical violence. But, as Khan remarked, the democratic principles that define American politics are exactly the solution to the problem. Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion provide the avenues to the peaceful dialogue that would help to eradicate Islamophobia and associated hate crimes. Khan urged listeners to realize that fear is the thing that divides and weakens society. The way to overcome this fear is to engage in thoughtful dialogue and use peace to disarm hate.
For more on this topic, view Ms. Khan's Ted Talk, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCk_7juqa5w
Posted: November 11, 2015