Matt Huffman, the Organizer and Executive Director for the Lexington chapter of B.U.I.L.D., spoke about how residents can influence social justice issues in the Lexington area. You’ll find B.U.I.L.D. on the web at https://www.facebook.com/BUILDlex. B.U.I.L.D is a community group that selects important issues in the community and works to keep attention on these issues.
Representatives of four local Kentucky organizations spoke about their efforts to assist Afghan refugees as they move to Kentucky.
Nadia Rasheed, M.D., is a human rights activist and community leader. She has served on the executive committee of Masjid Bilal, the Mayors International Affairs Advisory commission, and on the Advisory board of KRM Kentucky refugee ministries. She is a member of the Steering Committee of Christian Muslim Dialogue.
Mary Cobb is Director of Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a role she began in 2016. KRM is central KY’s only refugee resettlement agency, but also offers a variety of services to a range of other vulnerable immigrants.
Dominique Olbert is the President of the Community Response Coalition of Kentucky (CRCKY), a nonprofit program that helps immigrants negatively impacted by immigration issues.
Marilyn S. Daniel, an attorney in the Lexington area for 45 years, has served on the Mayor’s Immigration Commission (LFUCG-2007) and the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission (2015-present).
A recording of the Zoom program can be found here: https://youtu.be/rXJzAxGdgaI
From desegregation to the school-to-prison pipeline to critical race theory, race has defined twentieth- and twenty-first-century public education. In this talk, Dr. Leslie Ribovich, Assistant Professor of Religion at Transylvania University, spoke about her research on mid-twentieth-century New York City and contemporary conversations to show how religion has, too.
Dr. Salah Shakir, Chairman of the Kentucky Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Rabbi Shlomo Litvin, together with his wife Shoshi, serve as Director of Chabad of the Bluegrass, and The Reverend Carol Ruthven, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Lexington, spoke about increasing violence against houses of worship.
Dr. Ihsan Bagby, associate professor in the department of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Mark Johnson, the Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Church, spoke about how extremist political and religious views, and recent political fractures, affect specific congregations and how pastors and imams navigate those turbulent waters.
Internationally acknowledged as a pioneer of Islamic feminist theology, Dr. Riffat Hassan of the University of Louisville is recognized as an activist who has done much to promote women’s rights in Muslim societies and to combat honor” crimes against women in Pakistan.
Presenters were: Andrew Boone, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Kentucky where he also serves as the Anti-Terrorism Coordinator.
Michael Brown, Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Hydee R. Hawkins, Civil Rights Coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Paul Prather is probably best-known in Central Kentucky as a contributing columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he currently writes about faith and values, and previously served as a staff writer for nine years in the 1980s and 1990s. Mr. Prather is also the pastor of a rural, charismatic/Pentecostal congregation in Montgomery County. He’s been a part-time or full-time minister for more than 40 years.
Here is a link to his article about his experience talking to us, posted April 29, 2021. It is behind a pay wall. https://www.kentucky.com/article250999354.html
Dr. Jamal Badawi, noted author and speaker, spoke about what Islam teaches us about social justice. The message of justice is central to the Quran, teaching its followers how act and behave in a society. He spoke about current understandings and misunderstandings of Islamic justice
Dr. Bella Mukonyora from WKU spoke on “Ecological Grief and Divine Reason.” Modern humanity has a disruptive relationship with our planet and the environment. Dr. Mukonyora spoke about ecological grief, a human response to the loss caused by environmental destruction or climate change.
The Rev Carol Devine spoke on “Living out our Faith.” and provided guidance and resources on how our houses and communities of worship can move toward carbon neutrality.
Rabbi David Wirtschafter of Temple Adath Israel (https://lextai.org) applied the story of Jacob and Esau to social justice issues of our time. “We are Jacob because we have benefited from the ongoing injustice of the pain and suffering of others, the tears and torment of the Esaus of our times for far too long.”
Abdul Muhammad, president of the NAACP in Lexington and a Senior VP of Mortgage at WesBanco, and Brian Maynard, Assistant Chief over the Bureau Patrol in the Lexington Police Department, presented on the results of Mayor Linda Gorton’s commission on Racial Justice and Equality.
Mark S. Medley, Professor of Theology at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky in Louisville, KY, spoke to us about using an ethics of deliberately encountering others in order to develop a sincere love of others. (via Zoom)
Tom Eblen, former columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader from 2008-2019, gave us his perspective on the current state of the rocky relationship between news and politics. (via Zoom)
Dr. Jamil Farooqui spoke about grass roots level promotion of free speech, religious harmony and tolerance. He currently serves as the Medical Director of the SHARE Center Free Charity Clinic, Board of Trustees of Bilal Mosque, Board of the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky, Board of CAIR, KY Chapter and Board of Directors of Lexington Universal Academy [Islamic School]. He is also an active member of Bluegrass Interfaith and United Interfaith Encounter groups.
Shahied and Ollie Rashid spent 2 years in Guinea, Africa from 2017-2019, where Ollie taught English as a Second Language. They returned in the summer of 2019, and shared their experiences with us.
Those attending shared their thoughts and thanksgivings, before we shared a wonderful pot luck dinner.
A panel of ordained and lay Christians from several different Christian denominations shared how they became involved in interfaith dialogue with their Muslim friends and neighbors, how they remain active in Christian-Muslim dialogue and events, and how it has enriched their own lives and broadened their understanding of what it means to be a faithful person.
The Reverend Carol Ruthven moderated a panel, consisting of Mark Sloss, Pastor at Faith Lutheran Church; Kory Wilcoxson, Senior Minister at Crestwood Christian Church; Alan Fryar, professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Nancy Jo Kemper, past Executive Director of the Kentucky Council of Churches ; and Jim Smith, DVM, retired from Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.
Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade from Lexington Theological Seminary shared insights from a survey of protestant clergy about controversial justice issues in preaching and her book based on that research.
Charles Upton presented on The Covenants Initiative—now the Covenants of the Prophet Foundation— which is a Muslim interfaith peace movement that, since its debut in 2013 at the Bilal Mosque in Lexington, Kentucky, has become international in scope. It’s based on the ground-breaking book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World by Dr. John Andrew Morrow.
Dr. Ann Wainscott, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Miami (Ohio) University spoke about her book "Bureaucritizing Islam: Morocco and the War on Terror." Morocco has a unique approach to combating terrorism by reforming religious institutions to reward loyalty and discourage dissent by religious elites.
Dr. Oliver Leaman, professor of philosophy at UK, spoke about Andalusia – Christian, Jews and Muslims in the medieval Iberian peninsula. The long period when three different religious communities lived in what is today Spain and Portugal has been described very differently by historians.
Tony Goodwin, Kentucky Field Organizer for Amnesty International USA, introduced the audience to Amnesty International USA, human rights, and grassroots advocacy. One of the current human rights crises AI is highlighting is concerning the surveillance and mass detention of the Uighur Muslims in China.
The Rev. Dean Bucalos, Executive Director of Mission Behind Bars and Beyond (MB3,) spoke about Prison Ministry, and how faith communities can prepare and welcome those who have been imprisoned make a successful reentry into society.
Professor Emeritus Seethalakshmi (Seetha) Rao Subramanian gave us an introduction to Hinduism.
Rabbi David Wirtschafter presented on the Crisis in Burma. The UN considers actions taken by the Myanmar security forces to be genocide and ethnic cleansing. Rabbi Wirtschafter spoke on parallels to Jewish history and what actions concerned people can take.
Dr. Aiuyub Palmer, Professor of Islam and Arabic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Matthew Pierce, Assistant Professor of Religion at Centre College, presented on Jesus in the Koran.
Dr. Richard Cahill, just back from a summer living in Jerusalem, where he has visited many times, presented on a history of Jerusalem over the past 101 years.
Dr. Beth Goldstein, professor and chair of Department of Education Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky, presented on Women in Leadership in Judaism, at Ohavay Zion Synagogue.
Daniela Herzog presented an inquiry about how the Buddhist notion of “no-self”, “emptiness" and "dependent origination” can help create connection, compassion and meaningful action in a seemingly divided, alienating and polarized world.
Dr. Tara Strauch, Professor of History at Centre College, spoke about how religious minorities were treated during the Revolutionary War.
Janet Quigg, Dave Little, and Anne Wood spoke about native American spirituality. All 3 are involved with organizations that advocate for native Americans – Janet organizes the annual Pow Wowprogram in Richmond, KY, Dave is a speaker and lives in southern Ohio, and Anne serves as a representative of the Native American Community to the Kentucky Council of Churches
Jeremy Rogers, from the Louisville office of Dinsmore and Shohl, is a 1st amendment attorney. with experience representing media, churches, and religious groups. He shared stories, insights, and lessons learned from his First Amendment practice.
Dr. Deborah Alexander spoke of her decade in Afghanistan while serving as a U.S. Diplomat in the years just after 9/11.
Siddique Malik, president of Americans United Louisville Chapter and columnist for the Louisville Courier Journal, and Doug Culp, Secretary for Pastoral Life & Bishop’s Delegate for Administration, spoke about the historic and ongoing tensions in the "Separation of Church and State."
The Right Reverend John Stowe, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, spoke about "Welcoming the Stranger." . Exodus 22:21 – "Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt."
Moshe Smolkin, Rabbi of Ohavay Zion Synangogue, Dr. Aiyub Palmer Professor of Islamic Studies at UK, and Bruce Caldwell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington answered questions posed by the moderator. Our special location for this event was Ohavay Zion Synagogue.
Dr. Dina Badie, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Studies at Centre College, spoke about the prospects for peace in the Middle East under the Trump administration.
Panelists: Isabel Taylor, Multicultural Affairs Coordinator for Lexington Fayette Govt; the Rev. Kenneth Golphin, Pastor, Quinn Chapel AME Church; and Dr. Nadia Rasheed, member of CMD Steering Committee and civic activist. They spoke on understanding their human and civil rights and be able to advocate on their behalf for the protection of those rights.
Brother Paul Quenon spoke about the impact that Islam has had on his life as a monk.
Panelists Dr. Aiyub Palmer, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, and The Right Reverend Bruce Caldwell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, answered the same questions posed by the moderator. These included whether we worship the same God; if one can be faithful to Jesus or Mohammed and still be accepting of other faiths, and more.
Dr. Rob Bosco, Associate Professor of International Studies at Centre College, spoke about the complications when political institutions intervene in religious issues and attempt to co-opt religious leaders.
This 55-minute documentary, a product of a six-year survey conducted by Gallup, was shown, followed by moderated discussion.
Dr. Richard Cahilll, Director of International Education and Associate Professor of History, Berea College, spoke to us about the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.
A panel consisting of Sgt.. Rahsaan Berry, Lexington Police Officer; Mr. Andres Cruz, editor of La Voz, Lexington’s bilingual newspaper; and Mr. Charlie Lanter, Director of the LFUCG Office of Homelessness Prevention and Intervention., spoke to us about Lexington initiatives to keep dialogue open, welcoming, and friendly between peoples of different cultures.
Dr. Matthew Pierce spoke about the History of Islam in America, including early Muslims who aided explorers of the Americas, Muslim Africans who were captured and sent as slaves to North America, and up to the 20th c. with the Nation of Islam . The autobiography of Malcolm X was highly recommended as "required reading."
Richard Mitchell, Quaker, Shahied Rashied, Imam, and Dr. Clayton Thyne, UK professor and Director of the Peace Studies program, led a discussion on peace and peacemaking. Mitchell and Rashied emphasized that peace starts from within, while Thyne presented statistics showing a decline in all manner of non-natural deaths.
Question and answer session led by Imam Shahied Rasheed.