My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Salaam Network Inc, Louisville, KY, USA
I write to strongly endorse The Salaam Network in Louisville, Kentucky for the Atlantic Renewal Award. This nonprofit organization has worked to counter the destructive power of Islamophobia through interfaith discussions and education programs throughout our city.
While its first programs focused on educating people about Islam and the sources of Islamophobia, its founder, Dr. Riffat Hassan, soon recognized that we could have a broader impact by adding interfaith programs centered on the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Programs on Islamophobia included presentations by scholars of Islam as well as Muslim university students who had experienced harassment because they are Muslims. Interfaith presentations held at numerous churches, educational venues, and community centers covered basic beliefs, history, culture, the position of women, and art. Audiences especially responded to examples of interfaith cooperation in earlier history as providing grounding for present-day interactions.
Because I have participated in interfaith discussions both here and overseas (including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, sponsored by the U.S. State Department), I recognize their value in changing understandings and removing prejudices. Breaking through polarizations and pre-judgments is challenging but necessary to reduce harassment and violence toward people seen as “other”.
Louisville calls itself a city of compassion; yet it, like other cities, has experienced acts of hatred against Muslim and Jewish places of worship. The Salaam Network plays a crucial role in countering this hatred and furthering understanding and compassion among Louisville’s diverse population.
I encourage your support of this creative endeavor as the Salaam Network works to broaden its impact through multi-media programs. These will be available to many more groups in Louisville. Given the many demands on scholars’ time, scheduling programs is often difficult. Using diverse media, the presentations can be made once and then disseminated widely.
I hope that you will find The Salaam Network a fitting recipient of the Atlantic Renewal Award.
Mary Ann Stenger
Professor Emerita, Humanities (Religious Studies)
University of Louisville