Sixty-nine percent of Americans are not familiar with Islam or Muslim culture, according to a Pew Research poll. Students at the University of Idaho have a chance to buck that statistic and learn from a collection of educational materials entitled “Bridging Cultures, Muslim Journeys.”
The UI library is one of 842 libraries around the country that was selected to receive a collection of 25 books and three films from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.
The collection is “intended to address both the need and desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations,” according to the NEH.
UI Librarian Kristin Henrich applied for the grant along with Jeremy Kenyon, another UI librarian. Henrich said there was a lot of interest in this collection from campus and community partners.
“We applied for it because we thought it was something that is always relevant and something that we don’t have a lot of other programming on campus for,” Henrich said.
The library is planning on hosting an event in cooperation with the Muslim Student Association and a summer program in cooperation with the Moscow Human Rights Commission.
Kenyon said they hope the books and films
will serve as a set of resources for anyone who might want to learn about Muslim culture.
“I think potentially any student working on a project … or anything like that might find value in it,” Kenyon said. “Or anybody in the community who just wants to learn more about Islam and the Muslim world might want to use it.”
The materials, Kenyon said, are selected by well-renowned Muslim scholars for the ALA and the NEH.
“We’re hoping that it raises awareness and provides opportunities for discussion and interaction with people from other cultures in an informal setting,” Henrich said.
Kaitlin Moroney can be reached at email@example.com