MWL signs partnership agreement with Columbia University to launch research lab in interfaith coexistence

MWL signs partnership agreement with Columbia University to launch research lab in interfaith coexistence

New York (UNA-OIC) – His Excellency the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, and Chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars,  Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, witnessed the signing of a partnership agreement by the Muslim World League to launch the “International Lab for Research and Leadership in Interfaith Collaboration and Coexistence ” with the prestigious Columbia University in New York City, USA, in a large ceremony attended by the university’s leaders, the Cardinal of the Grand Cathedral of New York, Mr. Dolan, the Chief Rabbi, Mr. Arthur Schneier, and members of the US Congress.

The university held an international symposium on the sidelines of the launching ceremony for His Excellency Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa on common values and methods of confronting the challenges and dangers of hate. The symposium was attended by the President of the Great Cathedral in New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and the Chief Rabbi of the United States, Arthur Schneier, the university’s leaders, professors, students, and members of the US Congress.

The “International Lab for Research and Leadership in Interfaith Collaboration and Coexistence” aims to build capabilities against the concepts of hatred, violence, and civilizational clash, and it will be a global platform for research and training on the protection of societies against all forms of hate. The lab will be also a center for research, leadership, and training, a matter which will enhance protection factors against all forms of hatred based on religion, race, etc. It will also develop reliable training programs for teachers to deter the dangers of extremism, strengthen protection factors against global forms of hate and discriminatory violence, promote joint efforts, and support initiatives and research aimed at improving coexistence and cooperation to create a more peaceful and cooperative world.

In his speech during the ceremony, Dr al-Issa expressed his happiness for the prestigious Columbia University’s hosting of the lab project, which aims, in the first place, to address all forms of hatred and racism all over the world.

His Excellency explained that the International Lab for Research and Leadership in Interfaith Collaboration and Coexistence at Columbia University will address the dilemma of hatred, racism, and violence around the world, through multiple options, foremost of which are research and training, because this college is known as an international institution for research, training, and qualification of educational leaders.

His Excellency explained that many of our world’s current problems can be summed up in the absence of the common values upon which everyone agrees. This led to man’s inability to feel his humanity, a matter which is considered the main reason behind the absence of logic and reason. He indicated further that the amazing materialistic civilization was not accompanied by parallel progress of the effective and tangible awareness of the common humanitarian values.

His Excellency warned that the world today is threatened by the spread of hatred and racism, as well as the false pretexts according to which haters and racists carry out their acts of violence. Therefore, it is important to hasten to contribute to creating a world of more understanding, cooperation, and peace, and national societies that are more coexistent and harmonious.

The lab’s executive manager is Dr. Amra Subach L. Rice, a Columbia University professor who has taught, researched, and published on a range of issues in education. Her findings are taught in general education curricula, as well as in higher education courses across the United States, as educational subjects encouraging hate resistance and empowerment through Education. She has received research grants from several government agencies, think tanks, and prominent international organizations.

Dr. Amra Subach L. Rice confirmed that hatred represents a global challenge to social cohesion and coexistence, stressing that the mechanisms adopted to combat the spread of extremism among young people still need further review and evaluation. She further revealed that she conducted research in 2021 that included 300 teachers from 25 US states, in which she revealed that 68% of teachers see prejudice from students against their Muslim colleagues in schools, while 92% of teachers see bias against Muslims from their fellow teachers, which confirms the urgent need to design training programs and innovative curricula that address these prejudices in their infancy inside classrooms.

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