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Upstander Speaker Series:

Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at Unity of Dallas

Dr. Mehnaz Afridi is a Muslim educator who teaches the history of the Holocaust. She is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College, a Lasallian Catholic institution. Her work and research aim to understand Muslim, Jewish, Christian relations and to promote interfaith dialogue.

Dr. Afridi was raised in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, England and Switzerland. In 1984, she and her family settled in Scarsdale, NY for her last two years of high school. In Scarsdale, Dr. Afridi and her family were personally affected by racism; her parents were ridiculed for their ethnicity and faith and she was mercilessly bullied by her soccer team.

During her studies at Syracuse University, Dr. Afridi served as a teaching assistant to a Jewish professor of Holocaust literature. As a Muslim educated in the Middle East and Western Europe, this was her first experience studying the Holocaust. She explored the subjects of Judaism and the Holocaust through the lens of her own background, examining the role of Muslims, Islamophobia and antisemitism in these fields.  Taking her professor’s advice, she spent a summer at Hebrew University of Jerusalem before entering a Ph.D. program at the University of South Africa.

From 2003 to 2005, Dr. Afridi recorded oral histories of Holocaust survivors and further empathized with the need for the State of Israel. In 2007, she presented a paper in Germany titled “Judaism through Muslim Eyes and Islam through Jewish Eyes”. After the presentation, she took her husband and daughter to the Dachau concentration camp, where over 30,000 inmates were murdered by the Nazis. Dr. Afridi prayed for the dead and realized the danger of Holocaust denial in the Islamic world.

Dr. Afridi urges Jews, Muslims and Christians to speak openly and honestly with each other about their similarities and differences so they may understand the deeper issues that perpetuate the tensions between them. Much of her writing focuses on the antisemitic ideologies expressed by her contemporaries. Her book, Shoah Through Muslim Eyes, details her personal and academic journey into Judaism as a Muslim.

Dr. Afridi’s work in interfaith education and her passionate dedication to preserving the memory of the Holocaust are why we honor her as part of our 2017 Upstander Speaker Series.

Dr. Afridi will speak on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at Unity of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas. Tickets available through Eventbrite. $10 General Admission. Members are FREE. $30 VIP Reception. $20 Member VIP Reception. VIP Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. Program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Supported By: The Dallas Morning News

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