The Heights

Updated: March 13, 2017

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Photography exhibit showcases peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians

There are only two weeks left to see Messengers of Peace, photography professor Ron Herman’s exhibiton display in the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) Gallery at Foothill College. The exhibit showcases images from Senegal, a country where the Muslim majority peacefully coexists with the Christian minority.

Most Senegalese belong to one of four Sufi Muslim brotherhoods, a mystical sect of Islam. Herman’s images focus on the Muridiyya, Senegal’s most influential brotherhood, which blends African customs with traditional Islamic practices. Their doctrine consists of pacifism, prayer and work.  

Herman received a Fulbright in 2016 to research religious diversity in West Africa. He was based at the West African Research Center in Dakar, but traveled throughout the country for four weeks studying the Muridiyya and other Sufi Muslim brotherhoods.  

“To be engaged citizens in our ever-changing global society, it’s important that we all work toward intercultural understanding,” Herman said. “How we treat people is largely based on how we see them, and photography is the most popular form of representation in contemporary society.” 

To support the exhibit, Herman also gave two gallery talks and hosted a screening of the film, Touba late last month. Messengers of Peace is on display until March 30.  “I hope my photographs challenge common stereotypes and misperceptions of Muslims, and that they contribute, even in a small way, to us celebrating diversity and treating each other with kindness,” said Herman.

The KCI Gallery is open Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

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