Survey Highlights Need for Education to Bring People of Different Faiths Together
Citing a recent Pew Research survey, Oklahoma (USA) state experts have highlighted the importance of bringing college students of different faiths together to become more aware of the diverse faith traditions around them. “People don’t have any interaction and when they don’t have any colleagues, neighbors or friends, they have no idea about Islam, Judaism, Hinduism or other faiths. We want them to build relationships. I think that is the first step,” Muhammed Ali Sezer, a Muslim who is executive director of the Dialogue Institute-OKC, said. Sezer said the Dialogue Institute and the Raindrop Turkish House each focus on bringing diverse groups together to learn more about each other and establish bonds and friendships based on commonalities. “We have to love each other; then you are able to see the humanity in each other. Yes, we have differences but in the end, my neighbor is a human being like me,” he said.
Citing the July survey, Lisa Wolfe, an Oklahoma City University professor, said that college students with limited knowledge of faith beliefs other than their own were becoming more aware of the wide range of diverse faith traditions around them. “I can see this change before my eyes when small-town Christian students meet a rabbi for the first time or visit a mosque for the first time,” Lisa Wolfe, an Oklahoma City University professor, said. “I remember a Christian student talking about how he had only ever read negative information about Islam, and then he went to visit the Islamic Center of Oklahoma City, because I required him to do so for class, and one person after another came up to him shaking his hand, welcoming him, ultimately asking him to spread the word that they were good people.” “He was astonished, humbled and returned with a completely changed attitude. A Jewish student visited a Catholic church and made the connection between the holy water there and the ritual cleansing in her own tradition; suddenly there was commonality where there had been distance. These kinds of connections bring us together, and often bring students to greater respect for their own tradition, as well as the others.”
(Extracted from aboutislam.net)