Najeeba Syeed has been recognized for her work in interfaith peacebuilding, restorative justice, and religious leadership in Muslim contexts. She is co-editor of a forthcoming volume on interreligious learning and theological education.
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When Democracy Is Threatened, Seek Interfaith Coalitions
IN MY TEACHING, I seek to educate students toward a robust democracy. Religious education is so often engaged with abstract concepts such as “peace” and “justice” without considering how to put these ideas into daily action. What does religious pluralism in the real world look like? How do we prepare clergy and community to face the urgent issues of our time, which are sometimes caused by religion? How can interfaith solidarity deepen solutions and build durable partnerships that will benefit all creation, especially in times of state violence?
The starting point of many theologies of religious pluralism is the notion of salvation and how a particular tradition views the “afterlife.” This paradigm, not surprising, is often future-oriented; it is hard to translate into behaviors that are inclusive not just at the belief level but also in the lived religion of individuals, communities, and institutions.
From Theologies of Tolerance to Active Strategies for Peace
IN THE WAKE of the terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seamlessly incorporated Muslim rituals into the public rites of grieving. Her response to the attacks was striking for its cultural competence in engaging Muslim tradition and also projecting it in ways that engaged a broader audience to build empathy and not further structural violence. It allowed for immediate national unity and rehumanizing of the Muslim community.
The prime minister’s response to the violent attacks in New Zealand pointed out the importance of extending interreligious education to state actors.
Want to Stop Islamophobia? Talk To Your Fellow Christians
My life depends on Christians announcing the good news AND that Muslims are not demonic worshippers of some foreign God. My life depends on Christians having those complex, emotionally exhausting conversations during the holidays with uncle Harry when he makes a derogatory remark. My life depends on you, as Christians, being willing to be uncomfortable in your own spaces and not being silent when someone says something Islamophobic.