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contact theory

Shedding Religious Exclusivism in the College Classroom

Dakota grew up in a Baptist church in Lawn, Texas. Her first trip to India with McMurry University precipitated a crisis of faith. Though friendly, accepting, and open to others, Dakota’s religious upbringing taught her that non-Christians “go to hell.” She never questioned this teaching until she went to India. There she met, served alongside and was served by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Christians. The dissonance between the faith of her childhood and the new people she met kept her awake at night talking to peers, other leaders on the trip, and me.

Building Jewish-Muslim Friendship One Woman at a Time

Five years ago, Atiya Aftab, a Muslim woman, and I, a Jewish woman, invited a group of 12 women – six Muslim women and six Jewish women – to meet together once a month. Other Muslim and Jewish women heard about our effort and asked to join our group and/or help them start their own group in another geographic area. In response to these requests, Atiya and I formed a national non-profit organization at the end of 2013 – the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom (SOSS).