News Archive

Town Hall Event in Lynchburg to Examine U.S.-Muslim Relations Five Years After 9-11

Sept. 12 event is part of global series bringing together young leaders, musicians, policymakers, scholars, and journalists to develop a blueprint for promoting U.S-Islamic understanding

9/6/2006 2:01:09 PM


LYNCHBURG- Five years after 9-11, U.S.-Islamic relations continue to deteriorate at a rapid pace. Recent polls reveal that 90% of people in predominantly Muslim countries view the U.S. as the primary threat to their country, and an August 2006 Gallup survey of Americans found nearly four in ten Americans asked to “honestly” assess themselves said they have “at least some feelings of prejudice against Muslims.”

Recognizing the current tensions in the U.S.-Islamic world relationship, members of the United Muslimahs (UMMAH) club at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (R-MWC) have joined together to promote “Hope not Hate” with a town hall meeting on Sept. 12 from 7:30pm-8:45pmin the Houston Memorial Chapel. Participants in the meeting willdiscuss “The Future of U.S.-Islamic World Relations.” The town hall will look back at the lessons and changes over the five years since the 9-11 attacks, as well as look forward to how U.S.-Islamic world relations can be improved in the years to come.

The town hall event will feature a presentation and questions and answers with Salameh Nematt, the Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Hayat International Arab Daily and the LBC, the Lebanon-based Arab satellite channel. Among his previous posts, he has been diplomatic correspondent in Londonfor Al-Hayat, as well as the Amman Bureau Chief for Al-Hayat and freelance correspondent for the BBC Arabic Service. He also served as Head of the Strategy Unit at Jordan's Royal Court, an advisory post for the king. Over the past 20 years, his work involved reporting on and analyzing developments related to the Iran-Iraq war, the 1990-1991 Iraq invasion of Kuwaitand the second Gulf war, and the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The town hall is part of a broader series of events called Hope not Hate. Hope not Hate is a town hall and videoconference series that Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) coordinates annually in the weeks following September 11th to raise awareness about how the U.S. and the Islamic world can work together toward a better future. The Boston Globe editorial board has called the Hope not Hate initiative “a victory of knowledge and inquiry over fear and blind pledges of revenge.” This year, Hope not Hate events are planned in more than fifty communities across America—from Tallahassee, Florida, to Madison, Wisconsin—to engage communities in broad, inclusive dialogue with a bipartisan coalition of Congresspersons, Ambassadors, journalists, and military officials. The series will also feature videoconference dialogues that allow young leaders in the speak “face-to-face” with young leaders in the Middle East. Speakers participating in this year’s series include South Asian rock star Salman Ahmad, former U.S. Senator and 9-11 Commissioner Slade Gorton (R-WA), Islam scholar Shibley Telhami, former Pakistani High Commissioner to Great Britain Akbar Ahmed, MTV News correspondent Gideon Yago, and many others.

The town hall is being hosted by R-MWC’s UMMAH organization in cooperation with AID, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to shape a new generation of global leaders. AID coordinates town hall meetings on America's role in the world, hosts international videoconference dialogues, and more – all to get Americans talking about our role in the world.

For more information, contact Brenda Edson, strategic communications manager at R-MWC at (434-947-8142) or Seth Green, of AID, at

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations