Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. In 2010, researchers counted 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe; approximately 23 percent of the world population.
There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States; approximately 1 percent of our population. In the wake of 9/11, President George Bush said this about Muslim Americans:
“America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”
Fifteen years later, how well have we heeded that call? Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his first 100 days in office.
In a media climate that commonly pairs the words Muslim and Islamic with the terms terrorism, radicalism and extremism, the simple answer is not enough.
This year KUOW’s Community Engagement team began a project to address this knowledge gap. Their goal was to create a safe and respectful environment for people to explore each other’s cultures.
The “Ask A Muslim” event brought together small groups of Muslims and non-Muslims to begin a conversation.
The most recent event took place at the New Holly Gathering Hall on July 24. We’re featuring sample recordings here.