Muslim Education Resources

Asma Asfaruddin Interview: Islam and Violence – Debunking the Myths

In this conversation from November 2016, Raven Foundation co-founder Suzanne Ross speaks with Asthma Afsaruddin on debunking myths of Islam and violence.

Asma Afsaruddin is an American Islamic scholar and Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University in Bloomington. She has previously taught at Notre Dame University, Harvard University and the Johns Hopkins University, from which she received her PhD. Her fields of specialization include the religious and political thought of Islam, study of the primary Islamic texts (Qur’an and hadith), as well as gender studies.

In 2015, she was presented the Jayezeh Jahani (World Book Prize) for the best new book in Islamic studies by the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for her book Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought.

Jewish Education Resources

Vanessa Avery on Judaism, Atonement, and God’s Nonviolence

In March 2017, Pastor Adam Ericksen spoke with Vanessa Avery, a Hebrew Bible Scholar and Diversity and Organizational Consultant. Vanessa holds degrees from the University of Exeter, Yale Divinity School, King’s College London and McGill University. She uses mimetic theory to interpret the Bible and to help businesses inspire generosity, empathy, creativity, hospitality, strength and courage.

Some of the topics they discussed are:

  • How Vanessa has helped businesses diversify and end scapegoating practices.
  • The connections between being a diversity consultant, mimetic theory, and the Hebrew Scriptures.
  • The Bible is full of violence, but Vanessa claims that the Bible also holds the antidote to violence. How can that be?
  • On the Jewish Day of Atonement, Jews are commanded to listen to the book of Jonah. Vanessa explains why the book of Jonah is crucially important to understanding atonement.
  • The connection between justice and mercy in Judaism.
  • How the book of Jonah can help us navigate the current American social crisis.