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Panel to explore what it means to be Muslim, American

Monday, October 28, 2013

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at dickinsonh@beloit.edu or 608-363-2849

What it’s like to be Muslim and American will be the topic of an upcoming panel discussion featuring a professor and student from Beloit College and a member of the Beloit Muslim Center. Free and open to the public, the panel discussion will take place Monday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium on the Beloit College campus, 700 College St.

Beloit College Professor of Religious Studies Debra Majeed will moderate the panel, which is composed of Beloit College teaching fellow Catherine Bronson who teaches Arabic and Islamic studies, Beloit College sophomore Mohammed Abbed, and Salih Erschen, a member of the Beloit Muslim Center.

“When you say ‘Muslim’ and ‘American’ in the same breath, it can bring up a lot of controversy and confusion in post-9/11 America,” said Bill Conover, director of Beloit College’s Spiritual Life Program and the organizer of the event. “But under those two little words are some very complex and generally misunderstood personal and social realities. Beyond the noise and confusion of the controversy, millions of Muslim-Americans defy stereotypes by the actual commitments and choices they make every day. We’re hoping to give people the opportunity to ask questions and hear three Muslim-Americans tell about the blessings and challenges of their lives.”

The panel discussion is the first in a series organized by Beloit College called Intersections, which aims to explore the social identities that make us who we are. Each month, a new intersection of social identities will be explored. In January, the focus will be on the experience of being "mixed race," and in February, the intersection explored will be "immigrant" and "American."

Sponsors of the Intersections series include the Spiritual Life Program, the Office of Intercultural Affairs, the department of critical identity studies, and the department of philosophy and religious studies of Beloit College.