he forum was the concluding session of a workshop on Islamophobia sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fund for Social Responsibility and All Souls New London Congregation, and lead by Rev. M'ellen Kennedy.
"We value every opportunity to engage the wider community in New London and elsewhere in a conversation to clear up misconceptions about Islam and Muslims and to get to know one another," said CAIR-CT Executive Director Mongi Dhaouadi.
Emen Beshtawii, a CAIR-CT member and cofounder of Al Hedaya Islamic Center in Newtown, Conn., spoke about the importance of differentiating between cultural influences and religious teachings.
She said: "My faith, Islam, has compelled me to assume a leadership role in my Newton community and be part of the decision-makers in my center. In some cases it is cultural norms that present obstacles to some women in our community and not religious teachings, and we have to understand the difference before we pass a judgment."
Rev. M'Ellen Kennedy led the workshop with a presentation on the fundamentals of faith and the five pillars of Islam. During her talk, she stressed the importance of knowing Islam by referring to Muslims and its authentic sources.
Mahmoud Mansour, resident Imam at ICNL, added: "Our friends at All Souls received us with open arms and generous hearts, and we hope to return the favor by hosting similar programs at our Mosque."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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