April 23, 2012
Dallas Islam Examiner
While the Dallas/Fort Worth community has had numerous opportunities to visit and learn about local Muslim mosques through open houses, interfaith visits, activities, and academic panel discussions, SMU’s latest event marked a milestone in academics and in fostering liberal and pluralistic visions to understand contemporary society in relation to the historical and contemporary roles of religion. On Wednesday, April 11th, SMU’s Department of Religious Studies and Perkins School of Theology presented a Scott-Hawkins lecture by renowned Muslim Scholar, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, who spoke about “The Evolving Role of The Mosque in American Society.”
Dr. Mattson is the first Muslim female and first Muslim convert to serve as President of Islamic Society of North America, a position that she successfully completed for two terms after previously serving two terms as Vice President. She is currently Professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut and Director of the Duncan Black McDonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. Dr. Mattson is the founder of the first Islamic Chaplaincy program in America - the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary. She has authored numerous articles and her book, The Story of the Quran: its history and place in Muslim life, became a widely used textbook on Islamic sacred scripture.
Dr. Mark Chancey, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Dedman College, introduced Dr. Mattson to a large audience in SMU’s Dallas Hall. Identifying American mosques as part of American history and heritage, Dr. Mattson stated that the first American mosque was established more than a100 years ago. Today, there are more than 2000 mosques in America with 75 percent established during the last 30 years. Moreover, one fourth of American Muslims are African Americans, thus indigenous citizens, which further signifies that Islam is neither foreign nor Eastern in America as Dr. Mattson pointed out.
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