Love is a Verb movie

In United States of Americaby

01Feb2016
13Feb2016

CIE is organizing publicity for the screening and discussion at St. Cloud Public Library of "Love is a Verb" on the eve of Valentine's Day

From 11:00am until 12:30pm

At Great River Regional Library, Mississippi Room

1300 W. St. Germain St. St. Cloud, MN 56301

Center for Interfaith Encounter (CIE) / Library: 320-650-7500; Mariani Nazareth (home): 320-230-6669

St. Cloud has been nicknamed "White Cloud" because it has long been a predominantly White Christian city. My wife Mariani and I moved here in 1999. The population was approx. 60,000. From 2000-2001 on, there was an influx of Somali refugees. This increased steadily. Today Somalis number roughly 8,000 or 9,000 in a total population of about 75,000. Somalis, similar to African Americans and other Blacks, have not at all been well received by the people of St. Cloud. However, some open-hearted White Christians have been hospitable to these immigrants. A few have even shown exceptional kindness and concern to such oppressed people of color. St. Cloud has recently become a hotbed for extraordinary racial animosity and religious bigotry shown by some White Christian extremists toward the new immigrant Somali community. Following weblinks will make this clear: First, was an event on 28 October 2015 at the VFW by an Iranian American woman, a combat army reserve veteran and conservative speaker, Ms. A.J. Kern. There the flames of anti-refugee fear were fanned. She is a volunteer columnist for the "St. Cloud Times." Kerns shared her perspectives on Islam, refugee resettlement, and political correctness in the USA today, for example. This event was reported in the "City Pages" on 19 January 2016, just a day after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day: http://www.citypages.com/news/st-cloud-times-columnist-aj-kern-fans-the-flames-of-anti-refugee-fears-7974107 A chain of events followed causing disturbance, fear and outrage in the St. Cloud Muslim community. 1) An article in "City Pages" by Susan Du brings to light the severity of the problem which is about 10 to 15 years in the making in St. Cloud: http://www.citypages.com/news/st-cloud-is-the-worst-place-in-minnesota-to-be-somali-7976833 2) Another article by Ms. Du in "City Pages" tells of an upcoming hate-spreading meeting which pretends to be an educational event called "Shariah 101": http://www.citypages.com/news/jeffrey-baumann-sen-david-brown-warn-against-gasp-sharia-law-in-st-cloud-7991783 3) Ms. Natalie Ringsmuth's blog #unitecloud addresses the challenge posed by the forthcoming hate-event: http://www.unitecloud.org/our-city-our-problem/ 4) A Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) public event "Muslims in Minnesota" is announced at the St. Cloud Public Library in which four Somalis (2 male, 2 female) are interviewed: http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2016/01/25/mpr-hosts-muslims-minnesota-event/79299768/ 5) A Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR Minnesota) meeting is announced for tomorrow, 2nd February, at St. Cloud State University https://www.stcloudstate.edu/events/event.asp?eventID=18224&scheduleID=197865 While these events were in progress, mid-December, 2015, Mariani & I participated in a Muslim-Christian dialogue event at St. Francis Xavier Church, Sartell, MN. From January 10th to 15th, at our home on 3 separate afternoons for roughly 2 to 3 hours each, we met with 4 diverse Muslims: Bangla Deshi, White, Turkish, and Saudi Arabian. We wanted to assess the situation of local Muslims first-hand. We invited an Iraqi family and also a Somali family on separate days independently, but they didn't show up and never excused themselves. From these visits, we got a few valuable leads, and things have moved quite fast since. Mid-December, Mariani & I participated in a Muslim-Christian dialogue event at St. Xavier's, Sartell, MN. From January 10th to 15th, at our home on 3 separate afternoons for roughly 2 to 3 hours each, we met with 4 diverse Muslims: Bangla Deshi, White, Turkish, and Saudi Arabian. We wanted to assess the situation of local Muslims first-hand. We invited an Iraqi family and also a Somali family on separate days independently, but they didn't show up and never excused themselves. From these visits, we got a few valuable leads, and things have moved quite fast since Mid-December, Mariani & I participated in a Muslim-Christian dialogue event at St. Xavier's, Sartell, MN. From January 10th to 15th, at our home on 3 separate afternoons for roughly 2 to 3 hours each, we met with 4 diverse Muslims: Bangla Deshi, White, Turkish, and Saudi Arabian. We wanted to assess the situation of local Muslims first-hand. We invited an Iraqi family and also a Somali family on separate days independently, but they didn't show up and never excused themselves. From these visits, we got a few valuable leads, and things have moved quite fast since. With Dr. Tolga Misirli, Executive Director of Niagara Foundation, Minnesota, our organization the Center for Interfaith Encounter, St. Cloud, (CIE, founded in 2000), and with the co-sponsorship of the Federation of Christian Ministries, USA, has decided to screen an award winning documentary "Love is a Verb" in our city's beautiful Public Library on the eve of Valentine's Day this month. We would like people to gain a different perspective of Islam and Muslims. Dr. Fethullah Gulen is a Sufi from Turkey. He has been deemed the world's top public intellectual. The top 10 of the Top 100 intellectuals of the world in 2015 are Muslim. We ask: Why is this fact not known in the western world? We are trying to create harmony in our community by bringing correction and balance to the blatant misperceptions about Islam and Muslims which are current in the United States today. We are neither Muslim nor Turkish nor Arab nor Somali. We're South Asian Indian Christians (U.S. citizens) who have conducted well over 450 interfaith and intercultural programs in Central Minnesota after our arrival in Upper Midwestern USA.

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