Michal Meulenberg teaches Islamic studies at two Christian institutions in Southern California, serving as an adjunct assistant professor in Islamic Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Peace & Conflict Transformation Studies at Biola University.
Her classes focus on the history of Muslim-Christian relationships, Islam in North America, Islam in the global context, peace and conflict transformation, and grassroots peace building and social justice advocacy.
Meulenberg used the curriculum “Christian Leadership in a Multifaith World,” co-designed by IFYC and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), which together awarded grants for educators to use the curriculum on Christian campuses. The program explores the Christian foundation for interfaith bridge-building, enhances students’ religious literacy, and highlights the ways interfaith cooperation fueled the American civil rights movement.
In a recent program for the cohort of grantees, Meulenberg spoke with IFYC Program Manager Don Abram about interfaith cooperation within a Christian context. The following conversation has been edited for clarity.
Don Abram: I am curious, you are someone who has been able to carry out the curriculum, not just in one campus context, but in two, and I’m really interested in your perspective on engaging interfaith conversations within a predominantly Christian context. As we know, it presents unique opportunities and also unique challenges. Tell us about how you’ve navigated challenges and opportunities in your classroom as an interfaith leader.
Michal Meulenberg: Last spring, I was able to use the curriculum in a class that’s specifically focused on helping Biola students engage in Islam. And then I also taught a class on action and advocacy. All of these students were interested in social justice, human rights, and then it brought interfaith in there, so it came from two different angles.
American Civic Life