September 11: Interfaith Relations ‘Much Stronger’ Than Before 9/11 Attacks

[ 0 ] September 11, 2013 |

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interfaith relations were strained, to say the least. In the 12 years that have passed since that horrific day, relations have improved drastically, despite some initial trepidation to forget ahead in peace, says Dr. Ingrid Mattson is the author of The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life, and several articles examining the relationship between Islamic law and society, gender, interfaith relations, and leadership issues in modern Muslim communities. In fact, the improvement between relations of these faiths is one of the best developments in the last decade, Dr. Mattson says.

Watch as genConnect discusses the place of Islam in the modern world with Ingrid Mattson:

WATCH: Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Journey to Freedom

Dr. Mattson says that after 9/11, interfaith dialogue was tense but since 2001, the situation has improved drastically, despite some initial trepidation. “The Muslim community has experienced this extraordinary outreach of friendship and compassion from so many faith leaders, specially in the Jewish and Christian communities,” she says. Dr. Mattson describes a shift from other faiths defending Islam to friendship based on mutual benefit, making interfaith relations muchquranbook stronger than they were prior to the September 11 attacks. “They started standing up for us and on behalf of us and then beside us. What happened was this amazing transformation from simply wanting to help us get through a difficult time to becoming friends and saying, ‘what can we do together?'”

“I think we’re much stronger than we were before September 11,” she added about interfaith relations in America now.

Related: Robert Steel on 9/11, 10 Years Stronger

Dr. Mattson, however, realizes that there are still several challenges facing Islam. She says a cause of  most of the strife between faiths is the fusion of religion and politics. She also says that the Quran is still greatly misunderstood and according to her, “the biggest misconception is that people say ‘Well because Muslims understand the Quran to be the literal word of God, then they take everything literally’, and that’s not true.” She says that although a small minority of people take verses from the Quran out of context and use them to legitimize violent acts, most interpret the Quran through a historical framework because, “some principles and values are timeless and others really deal with the seventh-century reality.”

WATCH: September 11 – Interviews With Eyewitnesses ad Change Leaders

“Muslims – like Christians and Jews – have an interpretive tradition which we read those verses and reinterpret them for our life today,” she added.

From 2006-2010 Dr. Mattson was the first female to serve as President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). She is currently the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. She was previously a professor of Islamic Studies, founder of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and director of the MacDonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary.

Click here to subscribe to genConnect’s new YouTube Channel for more great wisdom from experts in health and fitness, business and career, relationships and love, and giving back and charity.

Follow us on:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013, Lifestyle, Politics, Videos

Profile photo of Ingrid Mattson

About Ingrid Mattson: Dr. Ingrid Mattson is the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. Formerly, she was professor of Islamic Studies, founder of [...]
View author profile.

Comments are closed.

Skip to toolbar