An upcoming Emmanuel College panel discussion featuring Indigenous and Muslim academic and community leaders will explore the topics of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. This online event, titled “Indigenous and Muslim Perspectives on Peace Education”, is happening on February 16, 2023, and is organized by Emmanuel College’s Nevin Reda, associate professor of Muslim Studies, and Katherine Bullock, a lecturer of political Islam in the Department of Political Science, UTM.
This talk is the fourth in a series dedicated to exploring and strengthening ties between Indigenous and Muslim communities. The panel discussion will feature Mohammed Abu-Nimer, a professor at the School of International Service at the American University, Lakehead University’s Fatima Ahmed and Traditional Teacher in Residence at U of T’s First Nations House Bonnie Jane Maracle from the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation, Tyendinaga Territory, Ontario.
Bullock says that this year’s subject matter is relevant to our present context because both Muslims and Indigenous people are greatly impacted by racism and negative media representations.
“As potential graves of children who were forced to attend residential schools show, the aim was to wipe out Indigenous cultures and assimilate the people into the majority society. Muslims experienced the same when they lived under European colonial rule,” says Bullock.
“This panel asks how people can maintain a concept of peacebuilding and peaceful living under such policies and life experiences.”
Bullock says the idea for this panel series emerged after a forum on Indigenous and Muslim traditional healing practices was held at the Victoria College chapel in 2019. The panel was fundraising on behalf of Anishnawbe Health Toronto, a community health centre based on Indigenous culture and traditions.
“Anishnawbe Health Toronto was building a new downtown facility for the Indigenous community that featured a unique model combining modern medicine and traditional healing. Since Muslims also have traditional medicine, we thought a good way to cultivate ties between the two communities would be to host a forum on Indigenous and Muslim traditional healing practices,” says Bullock. “A lot of people were excited by the forum, so the organizing team decided to make (the forum) an annual series.”
Bullock says while this panel discussion is not a specific response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the discussion does deal more generally with the TRC’s call for healing and restorative justice. She says her hope is that these panel discussions will continue to generate enthusiasm and interest within the community.
Those interested in attending this year’s panel discussion can register online today.