Building Bridges

I was deeply saddened to learn in Eboo Patel’s coumn “Bridges: Beyond Barrier, Bubble, or Bomb” (January 2010) of April’s experience in a student group at Carleton 11 years ago.

At Carleton, we have had a very strong interfaith dialogue group for at least two decades, bringing together students for meaningful discussions every two weeks. It was in this group that April first got to know Muslims. More recently, students have also founded an interfaith social action group. Still, isolationist or antagonistic groups can continue to exist on this open campus.

How do we continue to develop the “bridge” perspective and actions for ourselves, while also learning better how to interact with people within our tradition who disagree with us? Given more time, how could April have reached out to the student group? Perhaps this is a question not just for religious people, but for all of us: to learn to see the humanity of people with whom we may profoundly disagree.

Carolyn Fure-Slocum
Carleton College Chaplain
Northfield, Minnesota

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