|September 22, 2006|
President of major Islamic group speaks Oct. 10
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president of Islamic Society of North America
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, the newly elected president of the Islamic Society of North America and the first woman to hold the position, will speak at 5 p.m. today in the Nott Memorial.
Mattson's talk, "The Challenge of Diversity in the American Muslim Community," is free and open to the public.
Mattson's appearance comes at a time when many in the Muslim community remain deeply offended by recent remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI in Germany. The pope cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."
In an extraordinary move, the pope publicly apologized for his remarks and insisted they did not reflect his own opinions. The pope's apology did not deter some radical Muslim groups from violent actions.
ISNA said that while it "appreciates the Pope's apology as an indication of a sincere desire for respective dialogue," the group also wanted to correct some of the misinformation about Muslims and Islam generated by the pope's comments.
ISNA condemned those who sought retribution against Christian groups.
"Ingrid Mattson is a celebrated leader in Islam," said the Rev. Viki Brooks-McDonald, campus Protestant minister and interfaith chaplain at the College. Brooks-McDonald was instrumental in getting Mattson to visit Union.
"Her presence at Union College will offer students and the community a chance to hear from a well respected Islamic scholar who is very good at dispelling the myths and misinformation that cloud our understanding of her faith tradition."
Mattson's appearance, which comes during the month-long holiday of Ramadan, is sponsored by the Campus Protestant Ministry and the Muslim Student Association.
Mattson, who earlier served as the first female ISNA vice president, is professor of Islamic Studies and director of Islamic Chaplaincy at the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. Born in Canada, she studied Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario and earned her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago.
Mattson has numerous publications exploring the relationship between Islamic law and society, as well as gender and leadership issues in Muslim communities. She is author of the forthcoming book, "The Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Societies." She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
ISNA, established in 1963, is the largest religious organization representing Muslims in North America.