Dr. Mehnaz Afridi will speak on May 10th as an Upstander speaker and guest of the Dallas Holocaust Museum. Afridi has spent the bulk of her academic career exploring religions other than her own to teach interfaith education. Her work and research aim to understand Muslim, Jewish, Christian relations and to promote interfaith dialogue.
During her studies at Syracuse University, Dr. Afridi served as a teaching assistant to a professor of Holocaust literature. Educated in the Middle East and Western Europe, this was her first real experience with studying the Holocaust. She explored the subjects of Judaism and the Holocaust through the lens of her background, examining the role of Muslims, Islamophobia, and antisemitism in these fields. Taking her professor’s advice, she spent a summer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before entering a Ph.D. program at the University of South Africa.
UPSTANDERS: SPREADING THE MESSAGE
From 2003 to 2005, Dr. Afridi recorded oral histories of Holocaust survivors and further empathized with the need for the State of Israel. In 2007, she presented a paper in Germany titled Judaism through Muslim Eyes and Islam through Jewish Eyes. After the presentation, she took her husband and daughter to the infamous Dachau concentration camp. Much of her writing focuses on the antisemitic ideologies expressed by her contemporaries. Her book, Shoah Through Muslim Eyes, details her personal and academic journey into Judaism as a Muslim.
Last year, Afridi was one of two leading faith-based social activists and educators who spoke with Regis High School students in New York last year about their efforts to build understanding, and foster collaboration, across religious lines. She encouraged them, saying, “Young people can engage with people of other faiths by working together on issues we all care about.”
“Young people can engage with people of other faiths by working together on issues we all care about.”
Her personal mission statement appears on the Manhattan College website, “I am a Muslim who believes that we should focus on trying to understand other faiths and beliefs. My scholarship puts into question the problems of religious bias, competition, and identity. I love to teach and work with students on various projects. My focus on keeping the memory alive of Holocaust survivors has involved the work of students, community, and local survivors.”
Raised in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, England, and Switzerland, in 1984, she and her family settled in Scarsdale, NY as a High School student. There, she and her family were personally affected by racism; her parents endured ridicule for their ethnicity and faith, and Menhaz faced bullying from her soccer teammates. Dr. Afridi’s work in interfaith education and her passionate dedication to preserving the memory of the Holocaust are why we at the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center honor her as part of our 2017 Upstander Speaker Series.
Join us to learn more about Dr. Afridi by attending her talk, with a Q & A session to follow. Tickets available here.
Want more information? Reference: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/
SAVE THE DATE
Upstanders Speaker Series 2017:
Dr. Samantha Nutt
When: Nov. 9, 2017
About the speaker: As a recent medical-school graduate in 1995, Dr. Samantha Nutt found work as a field volunteer with UNICEF in Baidoa, Somalia, alias “city of death.” Impassioned and emboldened by what she witnessed there, Nutt began her lifetime career as an advocate for children’s and women’s rights in major war zones around the world. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Somalia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria to Darfur, Sudan, Nutt has been on the frontlines of the world’s major conflict zones, and her work has helped thousands of children affected by war. Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid, Nutt’s critically-acclaimed debut book is a No. 1 bestseller. It combines original research with personal stories that span her career of hands-on care with children and families impacted by violence. She did this while founding the renowned global humanitarian organizations War Child Canada and War Child USA. A leading authority on war, current affairs, and international policy, Nutt is one of the most fearless and recognized humanitarian speakers in the field.
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