What Being an Interfaith Scholar means to Me



By: Shourouk Abdalla

In a world as chaotic as today where people shun others because of their differences, interfaith dialogue is necessary. Focusing on what makes us different creates a lack of communication thus more space for large and negative assumptions about each other. Being from the Middle East, I sure do know a thing or two about religious divide, however, I believe that is out of ignorance of each others faith and people dehumanizing each other. Everybody, and I mean everyone, has engaged in interfaith dialogue here at DePaul. It happens all the time, as humans we are in a constant flow of interactions and citizens of today are much more connected to each other than people centuries ago. So just because you did not know that one guy you talked to in your Bio lab the other day was a Muslim or Buddhist doesn’t mean you’ve never met a Muslim or Buddhist before.

As an Egyptian, I put a strong importance on people of different faiths coming together.  Muslim Egyptians take pride in their Christian brothers and sisters as Christian Egyptians do the very same. This is one of my favorite aspects of Egypt and humanity as a whole because seeing people of different faiths hold hands and protect each other, especially in areas of conflict, is one of the most beautiful sights to see and experiences to be apart of.

Being an Interfaith scholar to me means I get to openly represent and uphold my Islamic faith in an acceptive environment while learning about and experiencing other faiths. Even though Chicago is a global city filled with worldly citizens who are open to differences because they are used to it, this is not the case all over America. My faith specifically, is constantly hated on by the media and actively attacked in the streets on a regular basis here in America. I’m here to show what an average day college Muslim girl looks like. It is more than important to have interfaith dialogue, as humans we should be obligated to because that simple understanding of each other and acceptance would make the world a much better place than where we’re at today.

What We Do: Interfaith scholars create a space for weekly interfaith dialogue where we openly discuss our faiths, share prayers, explain traditions, and talk about our own personal experiences. Besides hosting large-scale inter-religious campus events we are also open to attending and facilitating any group if a Professor needs a student to talk about a certain topic to their class or if students have their own personal questions.