Confronting Islamophobia in Tucson

    May 19, 2017 @ 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
    Jewish History Museum
    564 S Stone Ave
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Photo above: “Desecrated Qu’rans left after a break-in of the Islamic Center of Tucson on the morning of March 13th, 2017”

    “Join the Jewish History Museum for our final gallery chat of the season, Confronting Islamophobia in Tucson. This talk will feature long-time local peace activist, nurse, and mother, Rula Khalidi. ”

    Free and open to the public.

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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


    1. About 35 people at this talk this morning by Rula Khalidi. Opening remarks by E.D. Bryan Davis that these gallery talks were about a “sense of conscience” to “make connections with other vulnerable communities”. Rula started off w/ # of Mulims worldwide (1.3 billion), 3-7 M in U.S., about 3,000 to 7000 in Tucson, but only 40% of American population has actually met a Muslim in person. She went over history of Islam, starting off in the birth place of Mecca, Saudi Arabic, then migration to Medina, with creation of Charter of Medina, signed by one Rabbi and several Imams. She mentioned her Khalidi family library since 1900 in Jerusalem. Islamophobia is an “irrational, exaggerated” fear of Islam, which started up: post 9/11, fear of the Other, due to racism/xenophobia/Orientalism, rejection of multi-culturalism & neo-liberalism, and a tool of geopolitical strategy. But most fears come from the terrorists/extremists. Website called Islamophobia Network – Fear Inc.2.0 is a resource to learn more. She urged “constructive dialogue” and tolerance/understanding. Questions from audience were about Tucson incidents against Muslims, death threats at Mosques, with comments by several in the audience about multi-faith services, Muslim-Jewish peace walks, unity responses needed, here and elsewhere.

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