Seeking common ground

Student groups promote community service and interfaith dialogue.

Daily Editorial Board

This year, members of the Lutheran Campus Ministry proposed a unique idea for their annual spring break community engagement trip. In the spirit of leading social change within and beyond the University of Minnesota community, the students of the LCM and the Al-Madinah Cultural Center will travel together to promote interfaith service and understanding.

By sharing this trip to New York City, 30 Christian and Muslim students will not only be volunteering to help soup kitchens and the elderly but will also exemplify the constructive cooperation between religions that is sorely lacking in much of the global community.

Though the different religions these groups represent have sometimes been in conflict with one another, their student groups at the University are working to encourage respectful interaction and discussion.

This is especially important at a time of political and social unrest where religious groups so often find themselves at odds with one another despite their similar goals and values.

As we occasionally see in the U.S., there can still be distrust between religions, as well as between those who are not religious. The same can be said for countries around the world.

A dialogue with those one doesnâÄôt understand is crucial to overcoming distrust. There is no better place than a university to promote this kind of interaction.

While people may differ in their faith, political ideologies, and cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, a university can encourage open intellectual discourse in our society. These religious groups have taken initiative in demonstrating the value of such collaborative learning, and the rest of us would do well to follow their example.