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Janine commented on Bridge Building Project with American Muslims

Hi Kate - Thank you for reaching out and for your patience while we got this response together. Yes we do have a trailer for the film at the bottom of this webpage: https://franciscanaction.org/article/sultan-and-saint-has-been-blessing

Ideally, what we hope to establish is a set of groups we would refer to as Solidarity Tables. Inspired by the Damietta Peace Project which has been successful in Africa, we aim to establish an adaptation for U.S. participants. The Damietta Peace Initiative is a Franciscan, inter-faith driven peace enterprise for the continent of Africa. It was started in 2004 and built around the core values of nonviolence, reconciliation and respect for creation. It is a pro-active response to a hunger that is widely felt among people today, that the sectarian divisions in our society must yield to the big shared human questions, namely, that we humans are locked inside another story. The evolving universe story. And part of this evolutionary story is that humans must learn to live as friendly beings towards each other and towards nature. These Solidarity Tables are local groups of Franciscans working with people of all faiths and the people we serve, networking in a given region thereby pooling talent and resources in the areas of peace-building and care for creation. Inherent in each Table is the listening of the call of the Holy Spirit to be in solidarity with the poor and oppressed (locally, nationally, and globally) through building bridges of dialogue and cooperation. Within one year, we hope to have 25 regional gatherings in at least 20 states. After the initial gathering at the film screening, these Tables would meet regularly to continue to build the relationships necessary to combat racial injustice, Islamophobia and other dehumanizing attitudes. They would be a place for non-judgemental listening in order to overcome fears from misinformation. Interfaith dialogue through Muslim/Franciscan perspective can inform and give us a lens through which we look at society.

By the second year, both the number of groups across the country as well as membership within each group would grow. They will start to work together on projects centered around both community service and social justice. For example, based on the local community desires, gun safety regulations, programs such as food security issues, clean air and water safety, immigration and sex and labor human trafficking issues. These Solidarity Tables would also serve as a rapid response team within their communities when instances of Islamophobia, fear, hatred or violence against other groups erupt. FAN will facilitate, through webinars and social media, national discussions where people can share their stories and best practices about how participating in these Tables has helped changed their attitudes toward each other. They will start to build support within their local community (mosques, churches, local government, etc).

By the third year, the goal would be well-established, self-sustaining Solidarity Tables, coming together to create consistently engaged communities and developing the credibility and safe spaces to help alleviate the fear of "the other." Established Tables will not only work locally, but will begin to network nationally with one another and FAN to promote peace and understanding. At the same time we will begin to target regions in states where we are yet to be represented. We will work to increase the number of regional gatherings by five in each year thereafter. Using the established groups in network with the new groups, we would hopefully expand to have Solidarity Tables in all 50 states. Professional training regionally and nationally will be offered through webinar courses developed on nonviolence, peace keeping and social justice. These courses will transcend our national political divide (creating peacemaking within the tables) while reaching out to other groups and Franciscan Hearted People to better coordinate our voices and actions on behalf of the poor, marginalized and all creation (creating peace in our world).

Please let me know if we can answer any more questions for you. Peace and all good.