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Dormont Library Program Explores Muslim Culture

Dormont Library received a programming grant for Muslim Journeys, a study of Muslim culture and religion.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Muslim culture, Dormont librarian Diana D’Agostino said. Talk is often negative, and the religion is often misunderstood.

Dormont Public Library—and more than 800 others across the country—are hoping to change that perspective through a new, grant-funded program that explores Muslim culture and religion.

“We’re really not that different, which is something a lot of people don’t realize,” D’Agostino said. “We’re hoping, mostly, that people will come to these programs and come away with a more informed opinion of Islam.”

The Muslim Journeys program was made possible by a one-year grant from the National Endowment for Humanities and the American Library Association.

In addition to Dormont Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and the public libraries of Avalon, Monroeville, Cranberry, Upper St. Clair, Baldwin Borough, and Whitehall also received grants and will have related programming through the year.

A number of university libraries are participating.

Each participating library received a set of 25 books and three DVDs related to the religion and culture of Muslim life. The libraries will keep the materials after the one-year program ends.

Each library’s programming is slightly different, but most include discussions with Muslim scholars, book discussions and programs for children, and an asset from Dormont Library will be shared throughout the county.

D’Agostino, who was raised Christian and is now a practicing Muslim, put together a “book trunk” of items that better explain Muslim culture, to supplement the grant materials.

The trunk will travel to other Allegheny County libraries throughout the year, to be used for their own programming. It includes Muslim boy and girl dolls that say phrases used in Islam, a copy of the Qur’an that is color coded with Arabic language translation, prayer rugs, books for children and adults and music.

Library director Cindy D’Agostino said her daughter’s commitment to and teaching of Islam has opened her eyes to the ways Muslim culture is similar to the Christian and Jewish cultures, and she hopes the program will help others see that, too. 

“There’s a lot of overlaps between three religions,” she said. “Just like when you learn about any group that’s different, you also learn the similarities and learn that there are things to be appreciated.”

The following items are attached to this article in PDF format:

  • Muslim Journeys programming schedule for Dormont Library.
  • Muslim Journeys programming schedule for Carnegie Library, Forbes Avenue.
  • A full list of participating libraries.

Information also will be available on the Dormont Library website.

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T&B T February 28, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Be sure to clearly show & explore how wonderfully the Muslim religion treats their women. With honor killings and such. Also make sure to point out the verses in the koran where it says to murder the infidels. Very uplifting stuff.
Erin Faulk February 28, 2013 at 11:41 PM
For those who have left negative comments about this culture, please provide sources or documentation proving what you allege. Please note that the Patch Terms of Use (http://dormont-brookline.patch.com/terms) prohibit comments of the following nature: - defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive - threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual - inaccurate, false or misleading in any way Comments in violation of those terms will be deleted.
Erin Faulk February 28, 2013 at 11:42 PM
And as always, we do not require that your comments be of a positive nature. If you disagree with this program that is fine, and you are allowed to say so. However, please follow the Terms of Use, and say so without insult to other readers.
T&B T March 01, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Here's some facts at this web page. Take it directly from the wonderful koran: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/quran/023-violence.htm
Drew Lehman March 01, 2013 at 01:17 AM
So much anger about a program offered to educate those that may want to learn. Some of you folks would be much better off going to the library to learn more about a religion that you seem to have a narrow view of. If you wanted to you could research the history of Christianity and find that there were periods that may make some people uncomfortable. There are many Muslims right here in Pittsburgh that don't agree with all of what has been written in the Koran. That may be why they are here in the first place, because they are free to pray and live by whatever beliefs that they have. Open your minds folks.... or don't, it's your choice.
Erin Faulk March 01, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Thanks for posting this link, T&B T. I appreciate the effort and I'll let your previous comment stand; however, I do want to note that this website appears to contain independent analysis of writing in the Qur'an by people who are not necessarily associated with Muslim culture. Additionally, I have deleted several other comments on this thread because they contained personal attacks. This is obviously a touchy subject, but I'm happy to let discussion continue. However, comments containing personal attacks, and comments alleging information without citing sources, will be deleted per Patch Terms of Use. Thanks.
Mike March 01, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Thank you Drew! Education is the key element in knocking down the barriers of ignorance between cultures.
Ebert March 01, 2013 at 05:48 PM
When I was a child I learned about coexistence, beliefs, philosophies and traditions. And a fundamental coexistence principle (in a civilized world) is reciprocity: Treat others the same way you want to be treated (with respect, certainly). By the same token, yes, we should be free to do what makes us happy, but as long as we respect others' freedom to do so too (all within civility). I am Christian, raised Catholic, and I do respect Islam and other religions. There are good people all over the world, and not because I happened to be born in a mostly Christian country I believe that I do have the right to discredit other faiths. So I congratulate Dormont Library and its wonderful team for spreading very valuable knowledge that should make us a better place to live in (and coexist) with respect for each other and decency. Have a great day! Ebert
Erin Faulk March 01, 2013 at 06:27 PM
To some who have questioned the monitoring of this comment thread—I am monitoring this site appropriately, according to the Patch Terms of Use (http://dormont-brookline.patch.com/terms). If you have questions about that, you are welcome to email me at erin.faulk@patch.com. Thanks.
Mike March 01, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Bravo! I agree completely! Education and enlightenment are never a bad thing.

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