Watertown Conversation with Real Muslim Draws Couple Dozen

Klan-lite rallies featuring non-Muslims explaining the evils of Islam draw a couple hundred fearful South Dakotans needing their prejudices affirmed. Pastors in Rapid City recruit a Muslim neighbor to discuss his faith and answer questions, and they get a couple dozen to come listen:

With the forum overseen by Trinity Episcopal Church Rev. Portia Corbin and First Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC) Rev. Carl Kline and attended by about two dozen members of the public, Fathi Halaweish, a representative from the Brookings Islamic Center and a 20-year chemistry and biochemistry instructor at South Dakota State University who originates from Egypt, led a 75-minute discussion about his faith and sought to dispel negative perceptions surrounding it.

…Kline also maintained that Christian-majority societies could seek better understanding with the Islamic faith by extending invitations to Muslims within their communities and allow them to share their experiences and beliefs.

“As it is, we kind of inform ourselves through the media. A lot of that is sensationalized and focuses on the negative,” Kline said [Dan Crisler, “Religion of Islam Discussed During Interfaith Dialogues,” Watertown Public Opinion, 2017.05.08].

Crisler does not report the attendance at this peaceable, informative interfaith dialogue of any public officials like Marty Jackley or Shantel Krebs. Pastor Portia, Pastor Carl, keep trying!

10 Responses to Watertown Conversation with Real Muslim Draws Couple Dozen

  1. Porter Lansing

    Very proud of my church (UCC) and am wondering if Pastor Kline is a relative of my Pastor Kline of the 60’s.

  2. This Mr. Kline fellow is not a relative of your pastor from the 60’s, Mr. Lansing, according to the information given to me.

    On a happier note, South Dakota is one of the top 5 funnest states in the nation, as it your home of Colorado. But we beat you.

  3. Porter Lansing

    That’s great Grudz. My research showed a wealth of International good will from Pastor Kline, also. Just a coincidence of names, though.
    Fun, huh? Of course you know that Germans find enjoyment by denying themselves enjoyment. There’s big fun in self discipline, you know. And you folks are all over it. heh heh

  4. Carl Kline

    Actually, my father was a pastor in the 60’s in Aberdeen, SD.

  5. mike from iowa

    Funny as in laughingstock?

  6. Porter Lansing

    Thanks, Rev. Kline. I was confirmed in the church in the early 60’s (right after the fire) and our Pastor was Rev. Kline or Klein. He had a son named Waldo. Wonderful minister. It’s heartwarming to hear of your attempts to mitigate the horrible hate speech that’s sweeping across SoDak like a tornado. Proud that you’re spending time at the church.

  7. This was a great discussion. There were 30 people in the room that afternoon, and while I agree that the hate and fear mongers can turn out 3-4 times that number, I was impressed with the number we had. We even had a former legislator present. You can see the whole group here: https://www.facebook.com/firstcongregationalwatertown/posts/1927154977559673:0
    There is a second discussion on Buddhism this coming Sunday, May 21 at 4:00 pm at First Congregational UCC, 121 1st Av SE in Watertown.

  8. Thanks for the eyewitness info, Rich! Any number in attendance is useful; any thoughts on how we can get more people interested enough to come listen to facts?

  9. Porter Lansing

    Frozen pizza? 🍕 😊

  10. Rich Mittelstedt

    I wish I did know a sure fire way to interest more people outside of old-fashioned relationship building. It is hard and time-consuming, but well worth the effort.