Men and Women all across the country face harassment and violence due to their religion. Muslims in America have faced mal-treatment through out American history, However one seemingly unlikely place has been taking a stand against prejudice and for understanding since the early 20th century. Hartford Seminary with the nations first center for Christian-Muslim relations has sought to end prejudice through understanding.
This would be an image of Hartford Seminary but this site won't let me upload images for free This would be an image of Hartford Seminary but this site won't let me upload images for free
This would be an image of Hartford Seminary but this site won't let me upload images for free
Many of the first Muslims in America came over as slaves. Islam as well as most other traditions and beliefs they carried with them from their home land were outlawed by plantation owners. This forced a lot of slaves into converting to Christianity, however many slaves continued to follow the Prophet Muhammad's teachings in secrecy despite the harsh punishment that would befall them should their masters have found out.
Ideally i'll voice over a video of a ship and an image of a slave for this part
Around the time Hartford Seminary founded it's Muslim mission there was an increased influx of Syrian immigrants, most of whom were Christian however many were denied citizenship on the mere premise that they looked like Muslims. This mandate of xenophobia continued in states across the U.S. until the 1940's. At the same time in the late 19th century western imperialism was at it's height, connecting Europe and America with Eastern cultures that had remained largely separate for most of history. Christian missionaries were a focal point of the imperialist strategy and had proven to be effective at gentrifying cultures in the past. However they struggled in the Middle East and Africa largely because the people there already worshiped a strong religion with it's own distinct culture, and values.
Amidst this road block for the missionary community, and persistent racism at home, Hartford Seminary took a stand for their Muslim brothers by founding the Macdonald center who's purpose was and is to create an inter faith dialogue that promotes understanding and relationship building amongst our two communities.
The immediate response to the seminaries new program was met with a fair degree of acceptance. Similar education practices, that involved submersing potential missionaries in Muslim culture to promote better understanding, quickly began to circulate in theological schools across the country.
In the long term Hartford seminary hasn't been able to effect public bias significantly. Across the country people of Muslim faith and heritage are harassed because of the way they look and dress. However Hartford seminary has stood for an excepting, diverse and inter-faith enviornment to better their community despite the hatred around the country