"Meet a Muslim" Monday night in Arlington

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ARLINGTON — Many in Bennington County may not have had the opportunity to "Meet a Muslim." The Federated Church of East Arlington hopes to change that in their upcoming event on Monday, Oct 2.

"At the Federated Church of East Arlington we're constantly trying to learn and grow, and open up avenues of communication," said Reverend Kathleen Clark, Pastor for the Church. "We also realized that the average person living in Bennington County may not have had the opportunity to meet a practicing Muslim in person, who is willing to talk about their religion from a personal perspective."

The Church will open its doors for a potluck supper at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct 2. A discussion with speaker Moina Shaiq will follow at 6:30 p.m., in which audience members will have the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have.

"Moina's really an ordinary woman; she's a mother, grandmother, and an active member of her community," said Clark. "We hope that the discussion can help to dispel some of the myths or ideas that exist regarding Islam."

Shaiq has traveled across the country speaking about her religion and life as a Muslim woman, but the endeavor started fairly modestly in her hometown of Fremont California.

"A few years ago she realized that some of her friends were hesitant to ask her questions about Islam, and she ended up putting an ad in her local newspaper saying that'd she'd be available to meet people at a local coffee shop at a certain date and time," said Clark. "Over 100 people showed up, and it gave birth to the idea of sharing those experiences on a larger scale."

Monday's discussion will be the only Vermont stop for Shaiq, who will be speaking in New Jersey that morning and in Boston the next day.

"It's really intended to be a discussion, she won't be making a formal presentation," said Clark. "This is more of a conversation where people can ask any questions they may have, and she'll try to be as honest and forthright as she can."

Clark hopes that in this discussion community members gain a greater knowledge of Islam, and maybe a new understanding along the way. "We hope that people will gain a greater understanding of what Islam is and what it isn't, and perhaps have a new appreciation for a major world religion," said Clark. "Listening to Moina, they'll have a name, a face, a person, attached to that understanding."

For more information, contact the Federated Church of East Arlington at 802-375-2548.



Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.

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