• Hillary and Flynt Leverett on Iran-U.S. Nuclear Negotiations

    Hillary and Flynt Leverett on Iran-U.S. Nuclear Negotiations

  • Community discussion in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings

    Community discussion in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings



Building resilient communities through dialogue, analysis, and outreach


BUILDING CONNECTIONS

BUILDING CONNECTIONS

Addressing divides within American-Muslim communities and society at large through public dialogues, panel discussions, and outreach.
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STRENGTHENING CONNECTIONS

STRENGTHENING CONNECTIONS

Strengthening Muslim communities in the U.S. and internationally by addressing critical gaps through lectures, workshops and intra-communal dialogues
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KIDS' CONNECTIONS

KIDS' CONNECTIONS

Bringing together elementary school-age children of all backgrounds to engage in joint community service projects
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Spotlight

Spotlight

Kids' Connections will assemble Eid Gift Boxes for recently arrived refugee children in our community on Friday, July 25, 4:30-6:30pm at the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts (377 Amostown Road, West Springfield, MA) For more information, please contact Kids' Connections Coordinator, Kulsoom Kagzi at cckidzcharity@gmail.com.
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Afghanistan at a Crossroads by Bernie Pelletier

  As the crow flies, South Windsor, Connecticut is 6,622 miles from Afghanistan. But on May 29th a group of people in South Windsor had a window directly into this small and troubled nation. Three experts – each of whom had direct experience in Afghanistan spoke to a group people drawn together by Critical Connections (http://www.criticalconnections.org) and the Karuna Center for Peace-building (http://www.karunacenter.org). Mayor M. Saud Anwar of South Windsor proudly introduced the panel of speakers. First to speak was Matt Waldman, who has recently returned from Afghanistan, where he is conducting research on conflict resolution in Afghanistan. He describes Read more…

Green Shoots of Reconciliation by Bernie Pelletier

  Just as Critical Connections is determined to resist misrepresentation, push back against intolerance, and defend against misunderstanding we must seek, support, and welcome those who work from any side towards the goal of a resilient diverse world community. We have a prominent example of such outreach in Pope Francis, the new Catholic pope. There were early signs of his intent to reach across the divide starting with the name that he chose when he assumed the papacy. In recent centuries Catholic popes have chosen a name that signals their go forward agenda. Sometimes the name is in deference to Read more…

Countering Militancy in Pakistan: Dr. Haroon K. Ullah’s talk in Springfield, MA

On May 28, Critical Connections partnered with the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts to host Dr. Haroon K. Ullah, an international scholar, U.S. diplomat, and field researcher specializing in the Middle East and South Asia.  He currently serves on Secretary Kerry’s Policy Planning Staff and is a Countering Violent Extremism specialist at the U.S. Department of State.  To watch the event, please click below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zv9HdfBvKyc

Boko Haram, Islamists, and the New York Times by Mehlaqa Samdani

Two weeks ago the New York Times published an excellent article on the controversy surrounding the opening of the 9/11 museum.  At the center of the debate is a short video produced by the museum that describes members of Al-Qaida as Islamists and refers to their campaign as jihad.  The interfaith advisory group that was shown the video was appalled by “what they felt was an inflammatory tone and use of the words ‘jihad’ and ‘Islamist’ without….sufficient explanation”.  They recommended changes; the museum refused, and controversy ensued. While the New York Times’ coverage of the museum story captured well the Read more…

Rethinking “Normal”: Challenging Western Narratives of Muslim Women

The second event in the “Bridging the Muslim/non-Muslim Divide” series co-sponsored by Critical Connections and Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, centered on the question “Do Muslim Women Need Saving?”  Throughout the evening around 50 participants engaged this provocative question by examining their own assumptions and biases about Islam, Muslim women, their conceptions of ‘normal’ and the politics of ‘saving.’ Critical Connections’ Executive Director Mehlaqa Samdani interviewed Dr. Falguni Sheth, associate professor of philosophy and political theory at Hampshire College, about why Muslim women are perceived to be in need of ‘saving’ in the West, while acknowledging that there is no homogenous Read more…