Prejudice against Muslim Americans has become a significant problem in the U.S., particularly since 9/11. Muslims have been the target of hate crimes, some politicians have tried to stir up fears that Muslims are trying to impose Sharia law on the country, and the construction mosques and Islamic centers have faced significant opposition in some local communities.
Pope John Paul II High School, located in a Nashville suburb, has invited Dr. Todd Green, assistant professor of religion, to participate in a colloquium along with Dr. Ossama Bahloul, Imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro on October 22. The colloquium is titled "'To Work Toward Mutual Understanding': The American-Muslim Experience and the Catholic Response."
Dr. Green will lecture on "Islamophobia: Imagining the Muslim Enemy." He will explore the problem of Islamophobia in the U.S. and Europe by addressing its origins, defining features, and relationship to racism and other prejudices. He will also address how the Roman Catholic Church has worked to combat Islamophobia.
Dr. Bahloul's lecture, "Building Bridges," will focus on the various stereotypes Muslims face in the U.S. and propose ways for peoples of the Abrahamic traditions to build interfaith relationships.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, under Dr. Bahloul's leadership, has attracted national attention in recent years, with some local residents and politicians attempting to prevent the building of the center out of fear that the Islamic Center would serve as a training center for terrorism and anti-American activities.
Dr. Bahloul received his doctorate from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He has served as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Southern Texas and the Visiting Imam for both the Islamic Center of Irving, Texas, and the Islamic Center of Darmishtat in Frankfurt, Germany. He has served as the Imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro since 2008.
Dr. Green holds a B.A. from Birmingham-Southern College, an M.Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He joined the faculty of Luther College in 2008.