‘Understanding Islam’ seminar offered

How familiar are you with Islam, the world’s second largest and fastest-growing religion? Many of us know very little about this faith and are familiar only with myths and half-truths surrounding Islam and its adherents. But Cedar City residents will soon have an opportunity to learn more about Islam and the Muslim world during a free seminar hosted by St. Jude’s Episcopal Church.

The seminar, entitled “Understanding Islam and Our Muslim Neighbors,” will be led by Southern Utah University Provost Dr. Brad Cook and will feature three Thursday evening sessions held on October 19, 26, and November 6. The sessions will be presented in the St. Jude’s Parish Hall located at 200 West and Harding Avenue (70 North) at 6:30 p.m.

According to Dr. Cook, who holds a DPhil in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University, the seminar is intended help participants better understand Islam and its deep impact on world affairs both historically and today.

“It is important to understand what Muslims believe and also how their beliefs are carried out privately and publicly as individuals and as members of a larger community.” Dr. Cook said.  “The focus of this seminar will be to better understand Islam as a religion and as a way of life.”

Through presentations and conversations with practicing members of the faith, seminar participants will explore Muslim beliefs, practices, and history and their impact on Muslim life and society as well as on world events today. According to Dr. Cook, topics covered will include a general history of Islam, the Five Pillars of Islam, various sects of Islam, beliefs and customs surrounding the culture of Islam, and the radicalization of Islam.

According to The Rev. Dr. Lee Montgomery, Vicar of St. Jude’s, Islam is one of the three great monotheistic faiths that traces its ancestry to Abraham. He noted that there are many similarities between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

“In light of the ever-increasing conflicts being played out in America as well as on the global stage, we must learn to understand and accept Muslims as our colleagues and neighbors,” The Rev. Montgomery said. “Differences in religious belief should never be allowed to create artificial barriers between us.”

The series of seminars is free to the public and refreshments will be served. For additional information please contact The Rev. Dr. Lee Montgomery at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church (435) 592-0034 or visit the church’s web site at www.stjudescedarcity.net.


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