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Muslims and Catholics: Sharing Stories, Building Bridges

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Year: 2017
COI code: ICJE01_118
Paper Language: English

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Authors Muslims and Catholics: Sharing Stories, Building Bridges

Mary Tamara Sonn - PhD Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in the History of Islam at Georgetown University


It is no secret that there is a great deal of anti-Musim prejudice in the U.S.It has been raising since 9/11 and spiked during the 2016 presidentialcampaign. The result of that election do not bode well for its cessation in thenear future. But fear of the religious other is nothing new in America. Theabove quotation is not about Muslims. It was written about Catholic inAmerica -in the 19th century: the unwashed Irish, Poles, Germans,Lithuanians, Slovanians and Italians. The anti-religion, thought, speech andassembly, all of which had been condemned by the Vatican. They believed,therefore, that Catholics were a danger to America. But the Catholic churchhas come a long way since the 19th century. Since the 1960s it has officiallysupported democracy and civil right, including religious freedom. The churchhas also officially supported inter-religious dialogue. In the contemporary era,the Vatican has led the world in fostering inter-faith understanding andsolidarity. That is the topic of my presentation. I will first, describe thedevelopment of the Catholic position on interfaith relations, and then focusspecifically on Catholic-Muslim relation. I will conclude with a discussion ofAmerican Catholics, sensitivity to the scourge of Islamophobia, describing thework of The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, an innovative projectdesigned to monitor and counter anti-Islamic propaganda on the Internet.


Muslims, Catholics, Islamophobia, Catholic-Muslim relation

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COI code: ICJE01_118

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