Camden County groups to hold public forum on Islam

 Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash is leading a move by the board to fight hate speech and violence directed at the county's Muslims. Jewish and Muslim leaders will speak at a public meeting Monday at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill. (Joe Hernandez/WHYY, file)

Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash is leading a move by the board to fight hate speech and violence directed at the county's Muslims. Jewish and Muslim leaders will speak at a public meeting Monday at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill. (Joe Hernandez/WHYY, file)

A public forum Monday evening aims to bring together a diverse group of Camden County residents for a discussion on Islam and how we talk about it.

“The forum is designed to educate, to have a broader dialogue on these issues,” said Freeholder Jeffrey Nash, one of the organizers of the event.

Just a few weeks ago, the Camden County Freeholder Board passed a resolution condemning hate speech and lauding several local cultural groups for fostering a healthy dialogue around the politically charged issue.

“To educate the public, I think, is an important part in the responsibility of our community,” he said.

Part of the reason for the forum, according to Nash, is an unease among some of his constituents about the way some presidential candidates have been discussing Islam and the Muslim population.

Several Republican candidates have advocated stopping the flow of Syrian refugees into America, and Donald Trump suggested an all-out ban on Muslims entering the country after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

“We sense that they are upset about some of the language,” said Nash, “and it’s important that we embrace that community, which are our neighbors and friends and loyal Americans that share all of our values.”

Among the sponsors are the board of freeholders, the Muslim American Community Association, the Jewish Catholic Muslim Dialogue, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey.

The event takes place Monday at 7 p.m. at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.