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January 2023

The Enduring Cultural Impact of the Crusades

Although the Crusades happened centuries ago, their historical and cultural memory still evoke strong emotions and reactions. Need evidence? Look no further than the recently concluded World Cup in Qatar. FIFA, the international soccer federation, banned English fans from wearing Crusader costumes, including play chain mail, shields and swords in the stands during their team’s matches.

“As soon as you know anything about crusading history, you know it would produce a reaction like this in the Islamic world,” Simon John, a senior lecturer in medieval history at Swansea University in south Wales, told NBC News. “We’re talking about a period of history that is still very much remembered and talked about in the Muslim world in quite a detailed way.”

It is this continuing power and influence of Crusader vocabulary and imagery that our ICJS scholars will explore in our upcoming online course, The Crusades: Are We Prisoners of our Interreligious History? Join us and learn how these memes are impacting us in ways that go unnoticed.

Highlights in this Issue:

 

Why do the Crusades Have Such a Cultural Hold Over Us?

Our first online course of the year examines how the imagery and vocabulary of the Crusades inhabit our interreligious imaginations and structure our conceptions of violence. ICJS scholars Benjamin Sax and Matthew D. Taylor and visiting Muslim scholar Halla Attallah will excavate the origins of these narratives from the perspectives of their respective faith traditions, and also call into question whether they are applicable to our interreligious encounters in the present.

Tuesdays for four weeks
Jan. 17, 24, 31, and Feb. 7
Online: 7:00–8:30 PM EST

 

Has It Been Two Years Already? 

Watching the shocking footage of the January 6 insurrection, Brad Onishi wondered: If I hadn't left evangelicalism would I have been there? Onishi, a religion scholar and former evangelical insider, believes the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was not a blip or an aberration. It was the logical outcome of years of a White evangelical subculture's preparation for war. 

In this online forum, taking place on the second anniversary of the Capitol Riot, Onishi will talk about his new book, Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism—and What Comes Next, in which he maps the origins of White Christian nationalism, with its steady blending of White grievance politics with evangelicalism, and traces its offshoots. Matt Taylor, ICJS scholar, will lead the conversation. 

And tune in on Thursday, Jan. 5 at noon EST when Brad Onishi and Matt Taylor will be interviewed about Christian Nationalism on the Midday show on 88.1 WYPR-FM, Baltimore's NPR affiliate.

Friday, January 6
Online: Noon–1:00 PM EST

 
 
 
 

Recognizing and Responding to Everyday Antisemitism and Islamophobia

What do Antisemitism and Islamophobia look like in everyday life? Can we recognize them? How do we respond when we see them? Join scholars Benjamin Sax and Matthew Taylor—and visiting scholar Halla Attallah—for this 90-minute online event as we examine instances of religious bias and bigotry in our everyday lives that are sometimes subtle and go unnoticed or unconfronted. This session will include case studies with small group discussion and role-play that will help participants recognize and respond to these microaggressions.

Thursday, Feb. 16
Online: 7–8:30 PM EST

 

People First: Meeting those in need where they are
By Evana Upshaw

Caring for people who have experienced trauma means everything to U.S. Army Chaplain (1st Lieutenant) Edrees Bridges, the Maryland National Guard’s first Muslim chaplain and an alum of the ICJS Justice Leaders Fellowship.

Read More

 

Intersectional Instruction Against Islamophobia
By  Diana Degnan-LaFon, 2021–2022 ICJS Teacher Fellow

Diana helped the students at the Catholic high school where she teaches learn about the beauty of Islam through the poetry of Rumi—whose work has often been separated from its Muslim roots in contemporary Western culture.

Read More

 
 

Spotlight | CCJR Statement on U.S. Crisis of Rising Antisemitism

The Council Of Centers On Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) recently issued a powerful statement, “A National Reckoning of the Soul: A Call to the Churches of the United States to Confront the Crisis of Antisemitism.” ICJS is a member of the CCJR and is a signatory to the statement, which called on U.S. Christian clergy and churches to publicly denounce what it called “the greatest crisis of public antisemitism in a century.”

“We may be witnessing the normalization of antisemitism in American discourse, which recalls events that happened in Germany when the Nazis rose to power in the 1930s,” the statement said.  

The statement issued a strong call to action: “We implore all churches to redouble their efforts to denounce antisemitism publicly as antithetical to the very essence of Christianity itself.

Recap | On Demand Programs: ICJS Year in Review

How many ICJS courses and events did you attend this year? ICJS’ offerings have fostered incisive and challenging learning experiences. 

We went on quite a journey in 2022, beginning with sessions on confronting hate in our neighborhood and reflections on economic justice and continuing to courses and events on the Catholic Synod; a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra special event on composers suppressed by the Nazis; a look at the dialogic philosophy of Martin Buber; views on Muslim spiritual life; and the effects of Christian nationalism.

If you’d like to catch up on any of ICJS’ courses and events over the past year, or review one you attended, all of our offerings are available on our On Demand Programs page on the ICJS website

 
 
 
 
 

Resources | Planning an Interfaith Event? 10 Questions to Consider

Anyone who has been involved in planning an interfaith event knows that path is littered with potential hazards. From differing theologies, customs, religious calendars and rituals, the potential for misunderstandings and bruised feelings abound.

Working with some of our board members, ICJS has developed a resource for groups planning interfaith events that raises 10 questions to spark important conversations among planners and decision-makers to create an experience that is  inclusive and respectful of all. 

 

Staff Pick | NPR: How to Address Antisemitic Rhetoric When You Encounter It

Christine Krieger, ICJS  program director for congregations, recommends this NPR article on addressing antisemitic rhetoric. It offers a great preview for our February online event, Recognizing & Responding to Everyday Antisemitism & Islamophobia, when we’ll have the opportunity to discuss and strategize on these vital issues.

 

About Us 

The Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS) works to dismantle religious bias and bigotry to foster an interreligious society in which dialogue replaces division, friendship overcomes fear, and education eradicates ignorance. Through courses, fellowships, online events, and scholarship initiatives, ICJS builds learning communities where religious difference becomes a powerful force for good. ICJS is an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization.

 
 
 

Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies
956 Dulaney Valley Rd  | Baltimore, Maryland 21204
410.494.7161 | info@icjs.org | icjs.org

 
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