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Christian Islamophobia Past and Present

March 30 @ 11:45 am - 1:00 pm

In 2019, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly passed a policy statement entitled “A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment” describing the Church’s commitments to and aspirations for inter-religious relations. The document states that “[a]s a church, we must consider anew our calling and commitments in a multi-religious world… The ELCA must play an active role in dispelling fear of our neighbors, opposing religious bigotry, and standing with those who are the targets of fear, discrimination, hatred, and violence” (3,4).

As a Lutheran-affiliated institution, St. Olaf strives to live into these commitments. The Lutheran Center’s spring symposium will address historical, theological, and political forces that have shaped anti-Muslim prejudice among Christians from the Middle Ages to the present.

Todd Green, Associate Professor of Religion at Luther College, and Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), will facilitate a discussion on Islamophobia that addresses the Reformation’s role in fueling Islamophobia; the tendency in European and U.S. imperialism to set “barbaric” Muslims against “civilized” Christians; how the intersection of race and religion factors into contemporary hostility toward Muslims; how Islamophobia translates into discrimination, exclusion, and violence against Muslims and those perceived as Muslims in Minnesota and the United States; and what resources within the Lutheran and Christian traditions exist to help counter Islamophobia and build bridges between Christians and Muslims.


Todd Green is Associate Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement at Luther College. In 2016-2017, he served as an advisor at the US State Department on Islamophobia in Europe. His views on Islamophobia have been featured on a variety of media outlets, including CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, and Al Jazeera. He is the author of The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West and Presumed Guilty: Why We Shouldn’t Ask Muslims to Condemn Terrorism.

Jaylani Hussein is currently the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN). Hussein worked as the Community Liaison Officer at Metro State University and as a Planner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. In 2013, he created Zeila Consultants to develop and offer cross-cultural training workshops on East African cultures. Hussein has presented on the Somali Culture to diverse public and private organizations across the US. He specializes in the areas of urban planning, community development, youth development, legal and civil rights. Hussein has been active with various community organizations in Minnesota, including the Islamic Cultural Center of Minnesota Board of Directors, Wilder Foundation Advisory Board, Muslim Youth of Minnesota Advisory Board, Islamic Resource Group Speakers Bureau, and ARAHA Board of Directors. Hussein appears regularly on Minnesota’s local television and radio stations. He has also appeared on national and international outlets including ABC News, CNN, FOX BUSINESS, NPR, BBC among other outlets.


Questions about the event?
Contact Fiona Carson
Lutheran Center Administrative Assistant

Questions about registering?
Contact Alumni and Parent Relations


March 30
11:45 am - 1:00 pm
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