For the past four years, the Inside Islam project has been one of a few creative initiatives educating Americans about Islam as part of the Academia in the Public Sphere program. The idea is a good one, encouraging resource-wealthy institutions to interact with the larger public on contemporary and relevant issues. And we aren’t the only project trying to educate, connect, and facilitate dialogue around both controversial issues and more mundane topics related to Islam and Muslims. Muslimah Media Watch, Muslim Matters, and Loonwatch are some of the other active web-based platforms writing about Islam and Muslims. More recently, Crash Course and other internet-based learning tools are reaching out. In only three days, over 100,000 people viewed Crash Course’s latest video on the early history of Islam and Muslims. Click below to see it for yourself.
In the wake of the pro-democracy protests in Tahrir Square, many Western observers are dismayed by the electoral success of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Dr. Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, joins us to talk about what the Brotherhood’s leadership means for the future of Egyptian democracy.
In January 2009, several UW-Madison professors visited Senegal, where a Muslim majority and a Christian minority peacefully coexist. The group stopped at Gaston Berger University in Saint Louis where they talked to Senegalese friends about the country’s religious tolerance.
In the first video clip below, three Senegalese professors explain to the UW-Madison group several reasons for the peaceful relations between the country’s religions. First, there is the culture of Teranga or hospitality, a deeply engrained Senegalese value taught at home and in school, said Badara Sall, one of the Senegalese professors who teaches English at the university. When you encounter a person who doesn’t share your religious belief, added Khadidiatou Diallo, another English professor, you don’t see that person as an enemy, but as a brother who at least shares the same culture. Continue reading