Nationally recognized leaders to deliver Lutheran Center Symposium on Islamophobia
Luther College Associate Professor of Religion Todd Green and Council on American-Islamic Relations-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein will deliver this year’s spring Lutheran Center Symposium, titled “Christian Islamophobia Past and Present.”
The free virtual talk will take place on Tuesday, March 30, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is open to the public. The lecture will be streamed and archived online.
Green and Hussein will address historical, theological, and political forces that have shaped anti-Muslim prejudice among Christians from the Middle Ages to the present and explore resources within Christian traditions to help counter Islamophobia.
“As an ELCA college, we have an obligation to 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,” says Lutheran Center Director Deanna Thompson. “We are grateful to be able to provide these opportunities for the exploration of diverse cultures that inform the religion, faith, and values that ground and orient so many of our lives.”
As an ELCA college, we have an obligation to 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. We are grateful to be able to provide these opportunities for the exploration of diverse cultures that inform the religion, faith, and values that ground and orient so many of our lives.Lutheran Center Director Deanna Thompson
The event is co-sponsored by the Lutheran Center and the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations.
About the speakers
A nationally recognized expert on Islamophobia, Todd Green served as a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. State Department from 2016-2017, where he analyzed and assessed the impact of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe on countering violent extremism initiatives, refugee and migrant policies, and human rights.
“We’re doing a lousy job in the West when it comes to having a calm, rational, measured conversation about Islam,” Green said. “The historical, the political, cultural and religious forces that have given shape to the way that many in the West imagine the Muslim ‘other.’ We need to learn about where these fears come from so that these fears no longer control us. So that these fears no longer fuel politics, policies, and practices that dehumanize Muslims.”
Green 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. His commentary has appeared in several national media outlets, including CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, and Al Jazeera.
A leading advocate for the Somali American community, Jaylani Hussein specializes in the areas of urban planning, community development, youth development, and legal and civil rights. A former Community Liaison Officer at Metro State University and Planner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, he has developed and presented cross-cultural training workshops on East African cultures across the U.S. From the Islamic Cultural Center of Minnesota Board of Directors and the Wilder Foundation Advisory Board to the Islamic Resource Group Speakers Bureau, he has been an active community organizer. Hussein is a regular guest on state television and radio stations, plus ABC News, CNN, Fox Business, NPR, and BBC.
Hussein says the state’s concentration of anti-Muslim work, coupled with a visible, majority-Black and immigrant Muslim population, have pushed racial discrimination to the forefront of conversation.
“Those trifectas create this otherization that is easy to marginalize,” he says.
About the Lutheran Center
Established in 2019, St. Olaf College’s Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community encourages the interreligious exploration of faith, values, and vocation and provides opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to connect with each other around questions of belief, meaning, purpose, and life choices. The center also provides programming and guidance to Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations, as well as other denominations, faiths, and higher education institutions.