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A conversation on religious discrimination.

By Annalisa Purser, communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications

The University of Utah honors the victims of the Holocaust with its annual U Remembers the Holocaust Oct. 25-27, 2016. This year, events will reflect on the historical actions leading to the Holocaust while pulling parallels from contemporary social issues. Events include a student workshop, a campus and community panel discussion and a keynote address.

U Remembers theme, “Misrepresented. Misunderstood.,” focuses on how various misconceptions toward a religious community perpetuate discrimination. The misrepresentation and misunderstanding toward a religious group often stems from individuals, systemic institutions, political figures, mass media and much more.

“U Remembers seeks to provide students, faculty and the community with an opportunity to consider how the lessons of the Holocaust help illuminate contemporary social, political and ethical concerns,” said Maeera Shreiber, associate professor at the U and chair for the U Remembers committee. “During an election season which has seen vitriolic attacks on religious freedom, our focus on the genesis and dynamics of religious discrimination could not be more timely.”

U Remembers events at the University of Utah include:

A Student Conversation on Religious Discrimination: “Hate, Myths, and Microaggressions”
Oct. 25, 2016 | 12-1 p.m. Union, Parlor A, 200 Central Campus Drive

This is a student-led discussion revolved around the concept of “fear” toward certain religious communities and the hostility that accompanies it. The conversation will focus on how students are impacted by anti-religious myths, stereotypes, microaggressions and hate-fueled crimes against their communities and loved ones. This event is designed to explore the perspective of students affected by anti-Muslim racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, but encourages everyone to contribute to the discussion, while appreciating the narratives and voices of students affected most by the current climate.

Hinckley Campus and Community Panel: Pizza and Politics: “The Dynamics of Religious Discrimination”
Oct. 26, 2016 | 12-1 p.m., Building 73, Room 110, 332 S. 1400 East

When a particular faith or a religious group has historically undergone discrimination and continues to be ostracized today, the results are catastrophic. This panel discussion will take a closer look at anti-Semitism and Islamophobia through a socio-political lens and the discriminatory measures used against Islamic and Jewish faiths.

Panelists include keynote guest, Simran Jeet Singh, assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University; Noor UI Hasan, Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake; Fredrick Gedicks, professor of law at Brigham Young University Law School; and moderator Julie Ault, assistant professor in the Department of History at the U.

Keynote Panel: “Misrepresented. Misunderstood.”
Oct. 27, 2016 | 12 p.m., Marriott Library, Gould Auditorium, 295 S. 1500 East

Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are two well-known phenomena that fuel religious discrimination. Though they stem from distinctly different histories and ideologies, both have historically and recently been triggered by economic, political and social stress, and its perpetrators relied heavily on misrepresentation of a religious community. In this dialogue, professors Reuven Firestone and Simran Jeet Singh will explore how these two phenomena differ, but also how they illuminate one another.

Firestone is a professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at the Hebrew Union College of the Jewish Institute of Religion, and the founder and co-director for the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement with the University of Southern California. Much of his work focuses on religious phenomenology, comparative religion and religious dialogue.

Singh is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University and a senior religion fellow for the Sikh Coalition. His work focuses on the history of religious communities, and more recently, on the examination of xenophobia, racial profiling and hate violence in post-9/11 America.

All events are free and open to the public. More information about U Remembers is available online at