“Getting to Know Your Muslim Neighbors”

The Congregational Church in South Glastonbury‘s “Getting to Know Your Muslim Neighbors” program promises to be an excellent interfaith learning opportunity.

Rev. Richard Allen and South Church have been on the vanguard of interfaith collaborations for years. I’ve seen first hand the good works of South Church and the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut through my work with them at Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity.

Please read Hartford Courant reporter Peter Marteka’s  March 31, 2016 article titled Church To Host Series On Islam, which I printed in its entirety below.

Don Shaw, Jr.
Writer and Editor

Church To Host Series On Islam



GLASTONBURY — Over the past decade Richard Allen, the senior minister at Congregational Church in South Glastonbury, has worked with what he calls his “Muslim neighbors” on everything from Habitat for Humanity to sharing worship experiences.

“Walking together to end hunger, sharing worship experiences in church and mosque, having coffee at local cafes, have allowed me to discover the humanity of my neighbors,” he said. “My many Muslim friends have enabled me to leave my stereotypical thinking behind. I am a much better person today because of these friendships.”

The Congregational Church in South Glastonbury, which has a long history of working with other faith communities, is hosting a new series: “Getting to Know Your Muslim Neighbors.” Allen said the church is “committed to building strong relationships with all people, including people of different religious faiths and ethnic backgrounds.”

The series, given by members of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, will be held on the first Monday in April, May and June. The talks are free and open to the public and are held at 7 p.m. at the church, at 949 Main St. in South Glastonbury.

On Monday, the subject will be: “Understanding Islam and Muslims”; May 2 “Women in Islam”; and June 6 “Hot Button Issues Pertaining to Islam and Muslims.” The programs will be presented by Dr.Reza Mansoor, founding member of the Muslim Coalition, and Aida Mansoor, president of the coalition.

Aida Mansoor said 62 percent of Americans have never met a Muslim and are “more likely to believe the misperceptions and stereotypes.”

“The concern of American Muslims is that there is so much misinformation about Islam and Muslims,” she said. “The goal of these community conversations is to address these misconceptions and stereotypes and also provide a human connection. We need to humanize one another and this can only be done by face-to-face interactions.”

The coalition was founded in 2004 by a group of local leaders to provide an alternative to the negative illustrations of Muslims. The organization focuses on educating the public on Islam and Muslims and building alliances with other faith communities.

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