The best way to understand religious differences of neighbors and colleagues is to explore those differences together, say the people who run Scottsdale’s diversity program.

Scottsdale is hosting a discussion about similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam at noon today at the Granite Reef Senior Center, Room 8, 1700 N. Granite Reef Road, and 6 p.m. Thursday at the Pinnacle Training Room, 7575 E. Main St. as part of a cross-cultural communication series.

Azra Hussain, president of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona, will lead the discussion and give attendees a brief orientation into the history and culture of Islam.

“Interface dialog is crucial,” said Hussain who since 1999 has led discussions at colleges, churches and schools to clear public misconceptions about Muslims’ faith and Islam.

“We as a community, as a nation, as a world, would be in a far better place if all of us had an understanding about our faiths,” she said. “Not just others understanding Muslims, but Muslims understanding others as well.”

About 19,800 Muslims lived in Phoenix and Mesa in 2000, according to the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research for the University of Albany in New York.


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