Since the events of 9/11, the Western New York Muslim Public Affairs Council has run the Understanding Islam Series every February. That’s 17 straight years. The goal is to educate non-Muslims about Islam and engage in interfaith conversations.
One topic later this month deals with the impact urban farming has on immigrants and refugees. Founding President Khalid Qazi said setting an accurate image of Islam starts with our leaders.
“There is certainly significant ignorance and misinformation in this case about Muslims and Islam. And it is perpetuated by certain figures, Islamaphobes that keep spewing anti-Muslim anti-Islamic messages,” Qazi said.
Qazi said those same people have the ability to reach a larger audience. Their platforms and positions often gain more media coverage.
“The entire world has almost become like a village where there is instant transfer of information and news,” said Qazi. “Therefore, events no matter where the happen in the world have (an) impact in our neighborhood.”
Qazi said the understanding of Islam has greatly enhanced in Western New York over the past 17 years. He has seen more willingness recently to partner with Muslim organizations and institutions.
“We continue to work with organizations of all stripes,” said Qazi. “Whether they be civic organizations, educational institutions, religious and faith groups to enhance cooperation and building bridges with other communities across the region.”
Every Sunday for the rest of the month, each presentation starts at 9 AM at Westminster Presbyterian Church on 724 Delaware Avenue. Sessions are free and open to the public.
Qazi said this series is one of the best kept secrets in Buffalo— and it’s only getting stronger.