550 local high school students gathered this week for the largest-ever interfaith day at Nazareth College's Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies. We discuss what the students learned, and what they shared about their own experiences regarding religious tolerance. Our guests:

  • Reverend Gordon V. Webster, co-chair of the Hickey Center's Global Citizenship Conference 
  • Nora Bradbury-Haehl, co-chair of the Hickey Center's Global Citizenship Conference
  • Awal Deu, junior at Bishop Kearney High School
  • Jake Evans, sophomore at Victor High School

Tarek Fatah is a writer, broadcaster, and liberal Muslim who founded the Muslim Canadian Congress. His book, The Jew Is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism, examines the historical, psychological, and political divide between Jews and Muslims. 

Fatah will be a guest of ROC4 Israel on Sunday, February 28, but first he joins Connections to discuss his book and the current state of Muslim-Jewish relations.

How much do you know about Islam? Most Americans don't know much about why Sunni and Shia have had conflicts over the centuries.

This hour, we open with a conversation about the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Who are they? What do they believe, and why? We also learn more about the interfaith vigil the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community is organizing on Saturday, December 19. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Baitun Naseer Mosque at 1609 East Main Street in Rochester.

We also discuss the nature of religious worship more broadly. You might have seen that a college professor was placed on administrative leave after she posted on Facebook that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. What do scholars say? What do our holy books say? Our guests:

Just three weeks after the attacks in Paris, a husband and wife killed 14 people and wounded at least 17 at a holiday party for staff at a social services center in San Bernardino, California. Authorities have learned the woman pledged her allegiance to ISIS.

In Rochester, the local interfaith and Islamic communities had previously scheduled a peace rally for December 4, but decided to postpone it after the shooting. Organizers say the wounds are too fresh, it is too sensitive of a time, and they are concerned about safety. 

Our panelists share their thoughts on Islamophobia, ISIS, and how the local Islamic community is reacting to the shooting.

First hour: Confronting Islamophobia after the San Bernardino shooting

Second hour: Reshaping Rochester Awards

We have a conversation about the impact of raising children to believe in a god, or not.

Dan Arel is the author of the new book, Parenting Without God. He'll explain why he thinks raising children in a religious household is a recipe for poor critical thinking, and more. Our guests in studio offer a counterpoint, talking about the possible benefits of raising children to have faith in a deity. Our guests:

We have an open-ended conversation on what the local Islamic community is experiencing and feeling since the terror attacks in Paris.

Our panelists share their thoughts on prejudice, refugees, ISIS, and how they view their religion. Our guests:

During this hour, we discuss antisemitism, Islamophobia, and bridging religious differences.

Mehnaz Afridi, Ph.D., is from Pakistan, is a practicing Muslim, and teaches at Manhattan College. She's the director of the college's Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center. She'll be in Rochester on November 12 for several events, including a panel discussion on antisemitism and Islamophobia at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, and a keynote speech about Jewish-Muslim reconciliation for MCC's Kristallnacht program.

Our guests:

Finding meaning without deities: we'll talk to documentary filmmaker Christopher Johnson about his new film, "A Better Life." It's coming to our area, and we'll get a sense for why he wanted to tell the story of how atheists find meaning. We'll also hear from listeners who share how they find meaning.

Major religions are trying to come together to address ecological issues, and a number of upcoming events in the Rochester area will target people of various faiths to respond to climate change. We'll talk to representatives of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths about how their religious beliefs tie in to climate action:

  • Nancy Rourke
  • Neely Kelley
  • Joyce Herman
  • Dr. Ron Wexler
  • Joseph Lombardi