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October 2022

A Portrait of American Muslims—Backed by Data

Did you know that nearly half of Muslim families with school-age children reported having faced religious-based bullying in the past year, with one-fifth saying the bullying occurred nearly every day?

Were you aware that one of the highest levels of Islamophobia was found among American Muslims themselves?

Or that American Muslims were more likely than all other groups to express optimism about  the  direction of the country, and yet were more likely than all other faith and non-faith groups to face obstacles to casting their vote?

American Muslims are a diverse and vibrant community. But their portrayal in media and public discourse is often shallow and biased. Demographer Dalia Mogahed will draw upon years of data compiled through the American Muslim poll, a national survey of Muslims and Americans of other religious traditions, to analyze what its fiindiings mean for an interreligious audience at the ICJS 2022 Manekin-Clark Lecture, “American Muslims at a crossroads: Navigating identity in an interreligious world." Please join us online or in person at the Islamic Society of Baltimore in Catonsville on Monday, Oct. 24. Attendees will be invited to tour the mosque prior to the event, and to share in light refreshments and conversation afterward.

Highlights in this Issue:


American Muslims at a Crossroads: Navigating Identity in an Interreligious World

Join us for the 2022 Manekin-Clark Lecture, which will take an in-depth look at opinions and issues of American Muslims and the possibilities these insights open up for interreligious dialogue.

Monday, October 24, 2022
7:00–8:30 PM
At Islamic Society of Baltimore, 6631 Johnnycake Rd., Windsor Mill, MD 21244

Or via live stream


ALLAH: Same as the Biblical God or Totally Other?

Course taught by ICJS Muslim Scholar Zeyneb Sayilgan

In the popular imagination, the God that Muslims call Allah is often perceived as alien and other than Christian and Jewish conceptions of God. In this three-week course, we will turn to primary sources like the Qur’an and Hadith (Prophetic sayings), as well as Muslim prayer, poetry and music, to see what pictures emerge of the Divine, both similar and different.

Wednesdays for three weeks
November 2, 9, and 16
In person at ICJS: 10 AM–noon
Online via Zoom: 7–8:30 PM Eastern time


God on the Ballot?
A Discussion of Christian Nationalism on the Eve of the Election

Join us for a noontime panel discussion on Christian nationalism, its impact on the midterm elections as well how it stands to influence the presidential elections in 2024. The panel includes sociologists Philip Gorski of Yale University and Samuel Perry of the University of Oklahoma, co-authors of “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy;” and religion scholars Amir Hussain of Loyola Marymount University and Matthew D. Taylor of ICJS

Monday, November 7
Noon–1:00 PM EST
Online via Zoom

The Crusades: Are we Prisoners of our Interreligious History?

The imagery and vocabulary of the Crusades inhabit our interreligious imaginations and structure our connceptions of violence, including in video games like Assassin’s Creed, in pop literature like The Da Vinci Code, and in President Bush’s invocation of a crusade against terrorism in the wake on 9/11. But how were the Crusades experienced and viewed at the time by Christians, Jews, and Muslims? In this course, three ICJS scholars will excavate the origins of these narratives and also call into question whether they are applicable to our interreligious encounters in the present.

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

Recruiting Now for 2023 Congregational Leaders Fellowship

Is your congregation looking for a way to deepen its work and learning around a civic issue? Do you want to partner with other religious communities to address this issue? If so, consider participating in the ICJS 2023 Congregational Leaders Fellowship, a cohort experience from January to June 2023

We invite you to apply with another congregation of a different faith (e.g., Protestant church partnering with a mosque or synagogue). This partnership may be new or well-established. If you don’t have a partner, we will find one for you. 

For more information or to apply, visit our website.


Creating Connections through Storytelling    
By John Rivera, Director of Communications and Marketing

Stories have the power to create connections, build community, and catalyze change. This insight inspired a dozen members of the ICJS 2022 Congregational Leaders Fellowship to gather to learn the art of storytelling and to tell stories of their own.

Read More

There is no Progress without a Commitment to Others
By Brendan O'Kane, 2021-2022 Teacher Fellow

Jewish scholar Martin Buber's quote, "All real living is meeting," felt transformational to O'Kane. He realized that his personal way toward nuanced interreligious dialogue is to see people in their entirety and to not diminish his own personal beliefs in the process. 

Read More

Spotlight | Harvard Theologian Named Inaugural ICJS Silber-Obrecht Lecturer

Francis X. Clooney, S.J., a Harvard Divinity School comparative theologian, will deliver the inaugural ICJS Silber-Obrecht Lecture, the first endowed lectureship in the emerging field of Interreligious and Interfaith Studies. It is an annual week-long academic residency in Baltimore, with the inaugural lectureship taking place April 25-28, 2023 at Loyola University Maryland.

Read More

Spotlight | Zeyneb on the Psalms

Muslim scholar Zeyneb Sayilgan shared her insights on Psalm 19 with the Oxford Interfaith Forum, finding echoes of its praise of God’s creation in passages from the Qur’an. “The Qur’an speaks about nature or the cosmos as being the book of the universe,” she said. “There are very similar themes that Psalm 19 is conveying to us, that creation is constantly glorifying God, giving revelation of God, praising God, having a voice declaring God’s glory."

Watch the Video

Recap | Advocating for Democracy

Laura Wallace, Maryland Organizing Director for Jews United for Justice, shared how religious values inform her work to promote  democracy on a local level. She also shared valuable online resources, including the What’s at Stake in Local Elections in Maryland civic education program.

Watch a Video Highlight

Staff Pick | Ken Burns Documentary Series: Advocating for the Holocaust

Christine Gallagher, program director for teachers, recommends this latest work by master documentarian Ken Burns on how the U.S. responded—or more to the point, failed to respond—to the Holocaust. Episodes can be streamed on the PBS website. For educators, there is also a downloadable viewing guide with discussion questions.

Watch the Documentary Series


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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