Interfaith Group Hopes to Combat 'Islamophobia'

October 26, 2009

Author: Pat McCaughan

Source: Episcopal Life Online

Terry Beasley converted to Islam a short six months ago but on October 25 said she has already experienced a lifetime's worth of "hatred from people with Muslim-phobia."

Beasley joined about 100 participants at St. John's ProCathedral on October 25 for "The Intersection of Islamophobia and Torture," an event sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP).

"The hatred comes from ignorance," said Beasely. "Without knowledge of another person it's much easier to hate. I came here to see how together we can stop it in Los Angeles."

"Islamophobia" was coi ned to describe misunderstandings about Islam, and also the fear, mistrust and anger directed at members of the Muslim community in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, according to the Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, program officer for ecumenical and interreligious concerns for the Los Angeles diocese, who helped organize the event.

That fear and mistrust rendered torture as acceptable at such places as the Abu Ghraib prison camp in Iraq where incidents of physical, psychological and sexual torture were widely publicized in 2004, according to Dr. Malek Moazzam-Doulat, who teaches at Occidental College in Los Angeles.