Carthage students visit Islamic Society of Midwest and Turkish American Society of Chicago
Students visited the Islamic Society of Midwest and Turkish American Society of Chicago on Nov. 7, as part of class activities for REL 3500 Christians and Muslims: Conflict vs. Dialogue.
At the Turquoise Cultural Center, filled with exciting experiences, the class explored some highlights of Turkish heritage. Students participated in various exhibitions and activities, including fantastic demonstrations of Ebru (water marbling), henna tattoo, calligraphy, and Turkish coffee tasting.
Ebru often referred to as the “dance of color on water,” is a water-marbling art that has been considered a spiritual art for centuries. This unique art form is produced by sprinkling color pigments into a trough of oily water, known as “size,” and utilizing special brushes to create various designs that are then transferred onto a sheet of paper. Students had an opportunity to create their own Ebru works.
Students listened to a short presentation given by the interfaith youth coordinator regarding the traditional Islamic understanding of interreligious dialogue and some recent Muslim community outreach activities in the Mount Prospect area. They also had a chance to visit the place of worship and observe the Muslim salat prayer.
“Overall, this field trip was very important, and I’m glad that my peers and I had this opportunity to participate in something that was so eye-opening. It is one thing to talk about Christian and Muslim relations, but it is another to experience them firsthand. I felt calm, inspired, and delighted after the experience.” — Donavan Campbell ’24
“…the most important tool I learned from part of the field trip was inclusivity. Throughout the whole building, nobody vanished from us and instead welcomed us in. Our class alpine came from different backgrounds, religions, and experiences, yet we were all treated as equal human beings…The field trip was well worth the time and provided our class an inclusive environment.” — Veronica Kocsis ’24
“After this entire experience, I realized how friendly these people are. I noticed the speaker would call us “friends,” and I really appreciated that. People who have stereotypes of Muslims should really visit some of these places because you can see how they truly are. They are so humble and generous and love giving back to the community.” — Samantha Sotelo ’24
“Dialogue is more than just a conversation, it’s about immersing yourself in the other perspective. This trip really enlarged my perspective on Islam and the people who call it their religion. The opening presentation really hit the nail on the head in what I now consider dialogue to be. That being said, dialogue is about challenging misconceptions, erasing stereotypes, and fostering friendships. The tour guides and leaders of the center did an amazing job at making us feel welcome, and gave us a space to feel comfortable enough to explore things we were not familiar with. After all, that’s what dialogue is all about.” — Daniel Villalobos ’24
“It was very fun for me to see these people so invested and excited about teaching their culture to me and the other students in the class. I’d never known how important someone’s ethnic background could be to them until this trip. It was a very enlightening experience and makes me want to find out more about my own cultural background and identity.” — Jaxson Washburn ’24
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