Imam Exchange Visit Program
The current “Imam Exchange Program” seeks to engage Chadian Muslim communities on issues of religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence and Islam in America in order to facilitate an open dialogue on these issues in Chadian society, and, provide relevant and accurate information on American culture, laws, and attitudes towards the practice of Islam in the United States of America. This innovative pilot project is bringing five American Imams and renowned Islamic scholars on speaking tours throughout 17 regions of Chad. The Imams are engaging a range of different audiences including governors, church leaders, Imams, traditional and religious leaders, and members of non-governmental organizations. The workshops, lectures and meetings also seek to engage youth and women, two populations often marginalized in development interventions in the region. So far, over 15,000 people have been directly reached and tens of thousands indirectly through television and radio interviews.
Initial feedback on the project has been extremely positive, with participants and leaders conveying the importance of raising awareness and promoting greater understanding of concepts of religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence and Islam in America. Individuals have expressed a willingness to listen to American Imams and an interest in their perspectives. Questions, dialogue and feedback from the various discussions, lectures and workshops have conveyed that there is on-ground recognition of changing societal dynamics and of how these changes are affecting Imams and other religious leaders. The Salam Institute is excited to be implementing such projects, as we feel they have the potential for positively influencing this recognition and promoting more tolerant, moderate and pluralistic interpretations, beliefs and actions.
This project is generously supported by the US Department of State through the US Embassy in Chad.