Office of Chaplain hosts panel discussion on Islamophobia

Chaplain Tim Auman introduces panelists Michaelle Browers, Imam Adeel Zeb, Manzoor Cheema, Jade Brooks, Dani Moore, and Khalid Griggs.

Chaplain Tim Auman introduces panelists Michaelle Browers, Imam Adeel Zeb, Manzoor Cheema, Jade Brooks, Dani Moore, and Imam Khalid Griggs.

The Office of the Chaplain recently hosted a panel discussion, “Islamophobia: The Anatomy of Difference,” aimed at creating greater interfaith understanding.

The March 2 event was held in Wait Chapel and attended by faculty, staff, students and community members.

“We want people to practice deep listening, to hear personal stories about what it means to be Muslim and what Islamophobia looks like in people’s everyday lives with the goal of opening the door for relationships that include our differences – even the subtle and the most difficult ones,” said Chaplain Tim Auman, who planned the event. In his introduction, Auman encouraged talking “constructively and compassionately about difference.”

The panel featured Michaelle Browers, co-director of Wake Forest’s Middle East & South Asia studies program and associate professor of political science and international affairs, and Imam Khalid Griggs, associate chaplain for Muslim life at Wake Forest, as well as the following guest speakers:

  • Imam Adeel Zeb– Muslim Chaplain/Director of Muslim Life at Duke University
  • Manzoor Cheema– Founder of Muslims for Social Justice and Board Member of the Triangle Interfaith Alliance.
  • Beth Bruch– Founding member of Jewish Voice for Peace – North Carolina
  • Dani Moore – Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Project of North Carolina and a 1991 Wake Forest graduate.

The discussion is among a number of events sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain and other campus organizations to focus on spiritual wellbeing.  “Our programming explores the idea that religious and spiritual diversity can be a resource rather than a barrier to the creation of community,” Auman said.

The panelists shared their perspectives and responded to the following questions submitted by members of the audience:

Does Islam lend itself to violence more than other religions?

Can you explain how Sharia law and the Constitution are compatible?

Are stats given by the FBI regarding hate crimes accurate?

Is it fair to say Islam is one of the main reasons behind the oppression of Muslim women? Should the West do everything in its power to liberate these women?

Do the teachers of Islam prevent people from embracing freedom of speech and expression?

What advice would you give to an American Muslim student born and raised in a Southern state that continually struggles with her public Muslim identity?