“Being Muslim in America – Islamic Identity in the U.S.” is the topic of a presentation by Meira Neggaz on Mon., Oct. 29, at 12:30 and 7 p.m., in West Shore Community College’s Arts and Sciences Center.
Neggaz, who is the Executive Director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), will discuss what it is like to be a Muslim and American living in a country where the modern introduction to Islam was 9/11.
Her appearance is part of the college’s Humankind series focusing, this year, on cultural, social and political parallels between the Middle East and the U.S. The series of lectures, exhibits, activities and performances provides diverse perspectives on a region of the world that sparks many debates and controversies.
Neggaz believes American Muslims, as a part of the country’s great melting pot, mirror their fellow Americans in many respects.
“Yet, despite being a community that is so often talked about, Muslims are less often talked to. In fact, roughly half of Americans say they have never met a Muslim. This, coupled with political and social rhetoric, has led to mistrust, a lack of understanding and in some cases violence.”
Neggaz is responsible for ISPU’s overall leadership, representation, strategy and growth. She leads the institution’s team to conduct and broadly disseminate research on the American Muslim community and issues impacting on it. In this role, she frequently shares research findings and recommendations through media appearances, training workshops, public presentations and targeted outreach to policy makers, media professionals, advocates, community and religious leaders.
Before joining ISPU, she worked internationally for more than a decade, leading large scale health and development programs.
She holds a BA from Huron University, a master of arts in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy focused on human rights law and development, and an international health certificate from Boston University.
One of the series organizers, Dr. Matt Sanderson, professor of philosophy and instructor of WSCC’s world religions course, states the distribution of Muslims across the globe is much more widespread than the common American belief that almost all of them reside in the Middle East.
“In fact, fewer than 15% of the total Muslim population worldwide are Arab. Furthermore, there are as many as seven million Muslims who reside in the U.S. and they live normal, ordinary lives just like the rest of Americans. But those are the faces with whom many Americans, including many Northwest Michiganders, are mostly unfamiliar.”
For information about the entire series, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845-6211. All Humankind events are free and open to the public.