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Multicultural affairs liaison pushes for peace and understanding between groups

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A multicultural world, with all of the problems and challenges that go along with it, makes for a very interesting time at the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  This week Kenneth Anderson of Huntsville Multicultural Affairs stopped by WHNT News 19 to give us his view on global issues such as terrorism and concerns about the Islamic religion.

There has been a lot of unease between groups of people lately.  Anti-terrorism sentiments have recently brought on a wave of anti-Islamic sentiment.  Kenneth Anderson explains how people tend to fear what they don’t understand about the “other group”.

“We refer to that as the other, and in many people’s experiences it’s the other group, the other people, it’s the other identity that causes the concern. And it’s across the board. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about gender. It could be male female issues that still exist, it could be disability related issues. And it’s a very vigorous discussion in society today and it’s about mental health and balancing the needs of those that have mental health issues and being able to come up with clear diagnoses and directions for those. In the areas of race and ethnicity there are certainly those challenges. And in faith of course…in the context of that we have so many conversations going on right now. Often times in the context of us and them. And when we do that, we alienate people and we tend to isolate ourselves in that we don’t really give ourselves and opportunity to understand other people.”

In a time when people are suspicious of others and unwilling to understand, it is a great time to push the message of peace, Anderson says.  He believes that, “Interestingly that’s one of the points of common ground that many religions share. In any religious circle, or faith community, or spiritual group…there’s some component of faith and acceptance and love, a place of peace, and reconciliation and collaboration.  Every single faith tradition has that, I don’t any one that doesn’t.  I don’t know any one that says, we don’t want to be involved with people, we don’t want to make people’s lives better.  We don’t want something better for ourselves.  And so for me that’s a point of common ground that we really can find, and agree on and stand on and make that work in communities to make that a better thing.”

See our entire conversation with Kenneth Anderson here in three parts: