Allegheny Listens

In September 2016, the Project Nur chapter cosponsored an event called “Allegheny Listens: A Dialogue on Islamophobia.” They plan on beginning a program that introduces critical cultural, political, and/or social justice conversations. Their goal is to “start thinking of the community we wish to build and be a part of, as a form of conscious advocacy in which each of us can participate. Creating a culture of inclusivity and ethical compassion is the focus of this conversation on religious diversity.”

About the Panelists

Edward Curtis IV is the Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University.  His work focuses on U.S history, Islam and the African diaspora. He is the author or editor of six books, including Muslims in America: A Short History (2009) and the two volume Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History (2010), which is the largest scholarly encyclopedia on the experience of Muslims in the United States. Professor Curtis is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Africana Religions. He has been awarded Carnegie, Fulbright, and Mellon fellowships.

Muslims in America: A Short History traces the history of Muslims in America from colonial times, beginning with the story of Job Ben Soloman, an African Muslim slave, to the present. The book shows the diversity of the Muslim American communities, which includes Sunni, Shia, Sufi, and many other forms of theology. Muslims in America also gives insight into the numerous ways that Islam has been imagined and practiced in the life Muslims in the United States. The book underscores that Islam is historically a part of the American religious landscape. Finally, Muslims in America demonstrates how Muslim Americans are not only part of the worldwide Muslim community, but that they are integral members of the American community as well.

Maha Hilal: Executive Director at National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

Dr. Maha Hilal is the Deputy Executive Director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, an organization dedicated to addressing civil and human rights abuses related to preemptive prosecutions and thoughts crimes in the War on Terror. She is also an Islamophobia consultant for the Team Baluchi Defense Team of the Office of the Chief of Defense, where she supports research on disparities in the legal system that Muslims face, such as selective prosecutions. Maha earned her doctorate from the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. The title of her dissertation is “Too damn Muslim to be trusted”: The War on Terror and the Muslim American response.

Dr. Maha Hilal has worked at a number of human rights/social justice organizations including the Center for Victims of Torture, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and the Government Accountability Project. Maha was previously a Christine Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and was a recipient of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship for Arabic study in Morocco.



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