LDS Public Affairs hosted the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable and Utah Valley Ministerial Association on Brigham Young University campus Thursday night.
Members of the SLIR and UVMA visited the Beauty and Belief exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art after eating dinner at the BYU Hinckley Alumni Center. They were given tours of the exhibit at the MOA.
Kena Mathews, executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Utah County attended the event as Chair of the UVMA. “This is the first time the Utah Valley Ministerial Association and the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable have come together like this,” Mathews said.
In 1999, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games formed an Interfaith Roundtable whose purpose was to fulfill the Olympic Charter requirements to “provide religious support” for athletes and families. Leaders from over 22 faiths joined together as the SLOC Interfaith Roundtable.
The SLIR has continued to meet monthly ever since and collaborates on mutual interfaith goals, which include, facilitating respect, understanding and appreciation, increasing interfaith dialogue and exploring ways to address issues of religiously motivated hate and conflict in the community.
“I became involved in UVMA as a way to provide Habitat for Humanity as a resource, and it has become a exciting new partnership,” Mathews said.
Members of the SLIR and UVMA include Muslims, Quakers, Episcopalians and Buddhists. As they toured the exhibit they learned more about Muslim culture, especially during the interactive part of the exhibit. Members wrote notes on the wishing tree and put together pieces of Islamic puzzles.
“Here is a religious community that is actually inviting and accepting a different way to see the world,” Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, the exhibit’s director, said in a press release.
The Beauty and Belief exhibit is the largest traveling survey exhibition of Islamic art ever assembled in the United States. Under the direction of Khemir, the exhibition features more than 250 objects from 10 countries.
Dr. Stephen Jones, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications said in a press release, “It is our hope that these works of art and the meaning and spirit they convey will enable our students, the Utah Mormon and Muslim communities and people all across the nation to develop a greater understanding and shared sense of purpose and affinity one with another.”
The exhibit will be on display at the MOA through September 29.