Two iconic figures in the Torah, Abraham and Moses, are depicted as prophets in the Quran. We will delve into the differences in the way these two personalities emerge in Jewish and Islamic scripture, what similarities they share and what we can learn about the differences between Islam and Judaism from those depictions.
Documentary (up to 30 min.)
“The Secret History of Muslims in the US,” Zeyba Rahman, Hussein Rashid, Joshua Seftel, Negin Farsad, Maria Stanisheva; Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Smartypants Pictures & Animadocs, Brooklyn, New York
When former Barnard adjunct professor Hussein Rashid, CC ’96, first came to Columbia, he navigated his way through his undergraduate years as a first-generation low-income student with some difficulty. Twenty years later, when he returned as an adjunct professor of religion, he also took on an informal advising role in order to pass on his knowledge to students at Barnard.
“I’d talk to students about being a student of color when I was in school versus what it’s like now, what it’s like being a Muslim on campus, what it’s like being first generation and being on a lot of financial aid and still being conscious of class, as they themselves try to navigate that space,” Rashid said.
Rashid is just one of Barnard’s many adjunct faculty members who have been making an active effort to facilitate conversations surrounding diversity, inclusivity, and equity in the classroom.
HUSSEIN RASHID: Why did you decide to write a book about Muslim girls and their education? And why Muslim South Asia? SHENILA
KHOJA-MOOLJI: I had been researching and writing about the convergence on the figure of the girl in international development policy and practice for some time. I noticed that many development campaigns portray girls in the Global South as not only threatened by poverty, disease, and terrorism, but also as holding the potential to resolve these problems.
Hussein reflected a bit on human rights as that which we owe one another but “from a faith perspective, human dignity is vouchsafed by the divine, it is something is inherent and promised to us, over which we have no agency except to forget that we have it. And that’s an important way to think through, ‘How do we assure dignity?'”
Appreciating the expertise that farmworkers brought to creating the Fair Food Program’s human rights solution and how important it is to resist challenges to such expertise Hussein continued, “People say ‘who are you to say what it is that you need? How do you know what you need when you haven’t studied it?’ These are questions of performance that take away from human dignity. As a child of immigrants, as a person of color, as a Muslim in this country, I know that these goal posts are always moving. I have got a bachelor’s degree and three graduate degrees from Harvard and it’s not good enough.”
I’ll be speaking on a panel on Jan. 28 on food workers’ rights.
"On Monday, January 28 join us at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in NYC as we explore the vital connection between faith and the advancement of human rights through a panel discussion with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, theologians Brian McLaren, Obery Hendricks, and Hussein Rashid, Rachel Kahn-Troster of T’ruah and moderated by Noelle Damico of the Alliance for Fair Food!
Today tens of thousands of farmworkers in seven states are harvesting free from slavery, sexual violence, and fear through the Fair Food Program which Harvard Business Review called “among the most important social impact stories of the past century.” Now the program’s model is being translated to supply chains around the world.”
Islamophobic fearmongering about Muslims in the United States ignores the ways they have influenced the country from its inception. Dr. Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Barnard College, chronicles this history from 1492 to today in an animated short from The New York Times yesterday (December 17)
Imaginary worlds extend and expand our visions of what is possible. In these worlds, we can fly with dragons or shoot lightning from our fingertips. Yet, this expansiveness does not always apply to the religious lives of the characters populating our narratives. Religion can be made flat, so that the lived religious experiences and ideals of characters are signified by objects: head coverings, prayer beads, or feathers. As a result, both the religion and practitioner are not fully realized. Conversely, imaginary worlds can add depth and nuance to religions that have been flattened in real life. This panel explores the tensions of how religion is (re)presented in fiction and in real life, and how it is actually practiced by adherents.