Once You Were Strangers: Immigration, Pluralism & Religious Difference
A public conversation between Dr. Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and Dr. Matthew Kaemingk, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, moderated by Stephanie Summers, CEO at the Center for Public Justice. Hamid (a Muslim) and Kaemingk (a Christian) will discuss the nature of inter-religious encounter, and explore the challenges and opportunities that arise, specifically, as Muslims immigrate into Western, liberal democratic societies.
Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 7 pm CT
Coffman Theater, Coffman Memorial Union
University of Minnesota
300 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Center for Public Justice, Anselm House at University of Minnesota, Veritas Forum, Al-Madinah Center, UMN Muslim Student Association
(RSVP encouraged but not required)
Immigration pervades our current political and public debate in the United States, with the topic central in the 2016 presidential campaign and since then, with continuing policy conversations about border wall construction, family separation, refugee resettlement cuts, and more. As of 2017, 1 in 7 U.S. residents is foreign-born, a number that increases to 1 in 4 when U.S.-born children of immigrants are included. The underlying causes of worldwide mass-migration are deep and complex (including economic inequality, geopolitical conflict, and ecological displacement), and raise vexing moral and political questions.
The issue of immigration and pluralism in the United States is, perhaps, especially contentious when those who migrate into the United States are Muslim. In 2016, around 45% of all refugees resettled in America were Muslim (a percentage that has since decreased by 91% under the current president’s administration). Islam, in its resistance to secularization and privatization, presses the question of the value and limits of cultural and religious difference within a liberal democratic society in a particularly intense way. And our country is deeply divided over it. Some clamor for “high walls” and others push “open borders,” while many wonder whether there might be some third way forward?
What stance ought Christians and Muslims take toward the fear and antagonism that so often frames immigration as a “great challenge” to be confronted or “problem” to be solved? What are the conditions of possibility for, not only increased tolerance toward Muslim immigrants, but genuine encounter and mutual exchange with Islamic refugee and immigrant cultures? What religious and theological resources bear on this question from within both Christianity and Islam? For example, how might Christians, who have received a gracious and hospitable welcome in Jesus Christ, in turn extend hospitality to the stranger at their door, and, in doing so, demonstrate a witness of openness for broader society? Or, how might the Muslim understanding of humility (tada'a) encourage a “suspension of judgment” that creates a space for encounter between different cultures? What might a genuinely theological Christian-Muslim engagement look like in America today?
In partnership with the UMN Muslim Student Association, the Al-Madinah Cultural Center, the Center for Public Justice, and The Veritas Forum, Anselm House is excited to host a public conversation between Dr. Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and Dr. Matthew Kaemingk, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, moderated by Stephanie Summers, CEO at the Center for Public Justice. Hamid (a Muslim) and Kaemingk (a Christian) will discuss the nature of inter-religious encounter, and explore the challenges and opportunities that arise, specifically, as Muslims immigrate into Western, liberal democratic societies.
About the Speakers
Dr. Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution
Dr. Shadi Hamid is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Lionel Gelber Prize for best book on foreign affairs, and co-editor of Rethinking Political Islam. His first book Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East was named a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2014. Hamid was recently named one of the world’s top 50 thinkers of 2019 by Prospect magazine. An expert on Islam and politics, Hamid also served as director of research at the Brookings Doha Center until January 2014. He received his B.S. and M.A. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and his Ph.D. in political science from Oxford University.
Dr. Matthew Kaemingk, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, and Associate Dean at Fuller Theological Seminary (Houston)
Rev. Dr. Matthew Kaemingk is an assistant professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary and the associate dean of Fuller Texas in Houston. Matthew's research and teaching focuses on Islam and political ethics, workplace theology, and Reformed public theology. As of 2018, Matthew also serves as a fellow for the Center for Public Justice in Washington DC.
Matthew’s new book Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear engages the burgeoning conflict over Muslim immigration in both Europe and the United States. Critical of both right-wing nationalism and left-wing multiculturalism, the book explores a uniquely Christian response to the debate and the explosive politics of deep difference.
Matthew earned his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and holds doctoral degrees in Systematic Theology from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary. As a Fulbright Scholar in the Netherlands Matthew studied Reformed political theology and the European conflict over Islam.
Stephanie Summers, CEO at the Center for Public Justice
Stephanie Summers is the CEO of the Center for Public Justice, a Christian, independent, non-partisan civic education and public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. The Center works to equip citizens, develop leaders and shape policy through a variety of initiatives. She is a co-author with Michael J. Gerson and Katie Thompson of Unleashing Opportunity: Why Escaping Poverty Requires a Shared Vision of Justice (Falls City Press). A frequent speaker and moderator, she also contributed a chapter to the edited volume The Church’s Social Responsibility (Christian Library Press), and has written for publications including Comment and Q Ideas. Stephanie is an award recipient of the first-ever Duke Divinity Reflective Leadership Grant, which she fulfilled on behalf of the Center in 2019.
The Center operates, under Stephanie’s leadership, two publications for Christian political formation, Public Justice Review and Shared Justice; Political Discipleship, a small group curriculum; the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance and Sacred Sector, which encourage faith-based organizations to live out their faith-based callings; and Families Valued, which produces research on work and caregiving dynamics.
Stephanie serves on several faith-based nonprofit advisory boards. She earned her master’s degree in nonprofit management from Eastern University, where she holds an appointment to the board of fellows for the PhD in Organizational Leadership.