TN: OLIVE TREE SEEKS TO INFORM PUBLIC OF MUSLIMS, ISLAM
Olive Tree Education is a non-profit group that has been formed in Nashville to address the issue of Islamic education and outreach.
The importance of education of society has become a vital part of our lives as, indeed, education removes one from a state for being unaware and uninformed. Our world is alarmingly out of balance and polarized, and lack of education has entrenched patterns of hostility and mistrust.
In a post 9/11 era, Islam has come under intense scrutiny, and the ability of Muslims to coexist with people of other faith has been questioned. This can be attributed to lack of understanding of Islam and Muslims and the legacy of the 1.5 billion followers of Islam. Specifically, meaningful and structured programs for the public to learn about this major world religion are not available in this part of the world.
Over the last six years, I have visited many churches, civic clubs, schools and colleges to talk about the truth with respect to Islam. I continue to meet many Americans that are still poorly informed about Muslims and their faith.
As a Nashvillian, I want to continue to make a difference in educating the public and correcting the understanding of people about my faith and about what is going on in the Muslim world.
The way forward would be to provide a forum of learning for everyone and programs are warranted that will be geared towards building bridges which will connect nations of people through intellectual and intercultural understandings. Through learning, we can collectively counter the stereotypes and misconceptions and remove this mistrust among societies.
In this context, the need to build bridges between societies, to promote dialogue and understanding and to forge the collective political will to address the world's imbalances has never been greater.
Olive Tree Education was born out of this need and seeks to create a cohesive environment by which the American public can learn about this major world religion and its followers. Additionally, Olive Tree Education recognizes the need to reduce widening rifts between societies by reaffirming a paradigm of mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious traditions and by helping to mobilize concerted action toward this end.