4 American Perspectives on Islam: A Conversation

Sponsored by the Carroll College Philosophy Department and Merlin CCC, this evening program took place on November 27th in the Sage Room of the Corrette Library at Carroll College.  Directed by philosopher Dr. Barry Ferst, who also served as the moderator, this symposium was an informal conversation about different understandings of the Islamic faith and Middle-East Islamic culture. Invited guest speakers/participants included:


  • Jeanette Fregulia, Professor, History (Carroll College)
  • Charlotte Neill, Instructor, Islam (Helena College of the University of Montana)
  • John Witcombe, Pastor (Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Helena)
  • Sean Conroe, Military deployed in Iraq & Student (Carroll College)


Program Overview

Guest participants were provided with set questions/topics, not as a debate, but rather as an illuminating conversation.  Sample questions include:

  1. Historically, Muslim “states” have been in conflict with European principalities (Christendom). However, there were times when Muslims, Christians, and Jews interacted peacefully. What can be said about the causes of the conflicts or the times of coexistence? Examples: The Muslim conquest of Spain, the Reconquista, and 1492; The life of Christians and Jews under the Ottoman Empire, and; Palestine, Israel, Palestinian territories.
  2. The scholar Samuel Huntington wrote (in)-famously about the “culture wars.” In what fashion does this concept apply to American culture and Islamic culture?  Examples:  The effects of 19th century colonialism in Islamic lands; The role of cultural imperialism today.
  3. How do you view the Muslim appreciation of Mohammed, the Quran, and sharia?
  4. How are Americans to understand the Muslim family practices, the division between religion and state, dress and social behavior?

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