Discussion at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington centers on prejudice against Muslim religion
The media has helped distort the public’s perception about Islam and Muslims, according to one of the keynote speakers at a day-long conference in reducing public fear.
“My impression is Islam is the most misunderstood religion,” the Rev. M’Ellen Kennedy said during a workshop “Facing Islamophobia” at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington on Saturday.
“People are afraid of what they don’t know. When people are afraid they don’t think clearly,” said Kennedy, the founder of Peace and Unity Bridge.
“All you have to do is to get people afraid,” she said about causing the divide that can easily split a country.
She said there have been a barrage of anti-Muslim events throughout the United States in the past year or so.
Kennedy, who is both a Unitarian and a Sufi minister, said the workshop was designed to allow non-Muslims and Muslims to meet and talk and to get to know each other and explore Islam.
During an interview, Kennedy told the Burlington Free Press that the mosque in Colchester — the only one in Vermont — is a valuable resource. It has a weekly worship Fridays at 1 p.m.
She also urged people to visit a website PeaceandUnityBridge.org and watch the documentary “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Think.”
During her talk, Kennedy said Americans can learn much from the Muslims, including stopping multiple times during the day to pray. She said also being generous and fasting from not just food, but activities food are strong traits.
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