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Barbjwoolley

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Review for Salaam Network Inc, Louisville, KY, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

BARBARA J. WOOLLEY MSW

I was present at the Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion, when the first meeting of about 150 persons, including many religious leaders and teachers, took place on May 1, 2018. This meeting had been called by Dr. Riffat Hassan, Professor Emerita of University of Louisville, a renowned Islamic scholar who had been engaged in interreligious dialogue since the 1970s. Her reason for organizing this meeting was to initiate serious reflection on how to counter the dangerous and dramatic acceleration of Islamophobia in the U.S.

There was a general consensus among those present at the brainstorming meeting, that there was urgent need to educate the larger community about Islam and its historical, as well as ongoing, contributions to the Western World. A lesson taught both by our national, as well as global, history, is that fear is divisive and – at times – deadly, provoking people to think, speak and act in ways they might not otherwise. Fear is often rooted in ignorance. Believing in the efficacy of a sound educational approach to open hearts and minds, The Salaam Network was created to address the serious situation.

Since 2016, the dedicated team of TSN scholars, writers, artists, and justice advocates, have provided a wide array of presentations to the greater Louisville community. Many of the programs have focused on disseminating accurate knowledge about various aspects of Islam including its core beliefs and practices, its cordial relationship with Christians at the time of Prophet Muhammad, the cultural interchange among Muslims, Jews and Christians during the Middle Ages which were regarded as the “Golden Age” due to the stupendous flowering of intellectual, mystical and artistic genius in Muslim Spain. Commonalities among the three Abrahamic faiths and the wisdom of other religious traditions including the Native American, has been highlighted in a number of presentations. TSN has also made presentations which relate to the issues of women in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, and on revisiting their scriptural texts relating to LGBTQ issues.

TSN programs and panel presentations have done much to raise awareness about the need for dialogue among st our religiously and culturally diverse groups which make Louisville such a great city. TSN has contributed toward creating an open and empathetic culture where people can be real with other people, learn from one another, and begin to move together toward a harmonious and integrated community.

TSN’s past achievements are a sure sign of its potential to do so much more if it had greater financial resources. In my view, TSN should be deemed a most worthy recipient of an Atlantic Renewals Award.

Barbara J. Woolley MSW, Spiritual Teacher/Facilitator
November 26, 2019

Role:  General Member of the Public