As part of the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, Blumberg Memorial Library is now home to 25 books, three films and an online database geared toward helping the campus better understand Muslim culture and religion. Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association, the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University, Oxford University Press and Twin Cities Public Television. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Doris Duke Foundation provided media components for Islamic Art.
As one of roughly 1,000 libraries around the country to receive a collection of books and films chosen by experts in the field of Islamic studies, Blumberg Memorial Library offers students, faculty and staff opportunities to deepen their understanding of the Muslim culture.
“I want the library to be a center for conversation and diversity,” said Amelia Koford, TLU outreach and information literacy librarian. “We have students here who have never met someone who is Muslim and this is a way to create connections and break down stereotypes. TLU was honored to receive the award and we want to keep pursuing opportunities like this, because they allow us to offer students the best resources possible.”
As part of the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, Koford taught an activity module where students engaged in cross-cultural discussions about several of the new books and films. TLU also hosted a panel discussion, Islam: Beyond Stereotypes, to explore the common misconceptions about the religion. TLU Professor of Information Systems and Math Sam Hijazi participated on the panel, sharing his experiences as a Muslim. He spoke about how diverse religions should interact with each other and how this grant allows the TLU campus to engage in a dialogue about these types of issues.
“Prophet Mohammad [saw] said, ‘A Muslim is that person from whose hands and from whose tongue all people are safe,’ [Bukhari],” Hijazi said. “It is our job as Muslims to make sure that we live and act on this statement. The intention of the panel on Islam was to build connections with different islands of faiths. All Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, originate from the same source. Isn't a wonderful attempt to focus on what brings us together better instead of what separates us? God wants us to be different in order to learn, share, coexist and grow from each other. Interfaith dialogue should be a common practice in order to replace some of the fear with understanding. Awareness will bring our oneness regardless of our differences.”