Last week I did a profile on Professor Santi Tafarella and his idea for an "International Have a Meal with a Muslim Day" set to take place on September 17th. The idea was to open up communication and therefore improve knowledge between cultures. To kick start this new idea I participated in a meal with Professor Tafarella, some members of the community, and an Imam from the American Islamic Institute of the Antelope Valley on September 17th. The Imam Kamal M. Al-Khatib was very knowledgeable and open to any questions we posed regarding Islam. Conversation flowed freely across the table.
While the dinner remained very casual, we ate family style at PARS Fine Persian Cuisine Restaurant in Palmdale, we broached subjects that were very serious in nature. Questions varied from the detailed questions of the 5 pillars of Islam to the definition of an Infidel. Dinner began with introductions and we each gave voice to our own backgrounds and found common ground to bring us together before our discussions and question commenced. Everyone that was present at the meal shared two great things in common, we were all American, and we all were looking to enlighten ourselves on the differences and similarities between our various cultures and backgrounds. Despite our differences we came together as people of a greater culture, humanity and knowledge
Since the focus of this column is truly about fine arts and culture I feel it is important to maintain at least a basic foundation of knowledge regarding different cultures. As Sir Francis Bacon said, "Knowledge is power." With the knowledge of other cultures we can create a practice of tolerance and co-existence. Let's hope that with further communication knowledge will flow between worlds with greater ease and we can finally bridge the gap between cultures.
For More information about ProfessorTafarella's blog and "International Have a Meal with a Muslim Day" please visit his site: http://santitafarella.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/instead-of-burn-a-quran-day-how-about-an-international-have-a-meal-with-a-muslim-day/.