The Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar – Critical Questions

 By Leif Maynard   Who are the Rohingya? The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority residing in Myanmar, one of the 135 ethnic groups of the South Asian country. The majority of the estimated one million Rohingya are concentrated in the Rakhine State on Myanmar’s western border with Bangladesh, where they make up one third […]

How do we heal?

  By Leif Maynard There is a certain kind of shock that follows an act of violence by an extremist group. In the case of Charlottesville, this shock stems from the realization of the widespread prevalence of these extremists. Through the attacks in Barcelona, we see how effective radicalization has become, and how it has […]

The Orlando Massacre and a Note to American-Muslims

  Critical Connections stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community and extends heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the deadliest mass shooting in American history. A note to American-Muslims: Fellow American-Muslims, please don’t let the Orlando shooter’s religious identity consume and paralyze you. He never claimed to, nor does he, represent you so please […]

Honest Conversations with Muslim Neighbors

By Katherine Bruns (Guest Blogger) The CT Council for Interreligious Understanding (CCIU), the Muslim Coalition of CT, and Hartford Seminary presented the seventh in a series called “Honest Conversations with Muslim Neighbors” on January 28th, at the First Church in Middletown, CT, hosted by the Middletown Refugee Resettlement Coalition, of which First Church is a member. […]

Righting our Narrative

by Bernie Pelletier     On December 20th, 2015, Mr. John Larson, U.S. Representative for Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District convened an interfaith panel of 4 muslim representatives (2 imams and 2 heads of Islamic centers), a rabbi, and a priest for a roundtable discussion on tolerance and inclusion. The event took place at the Hartford […]

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): A Backgrounder

  Who is a violent extremist?  The U.S. Government defines violent extremists as individuals “who support or commit ideologically motivated violence to advance political goals”. While there are a range of violent extremist groups operating in the United States, including right-wing neo-Nazi groups, Sovereign Citizens, and other anti-government outfits, the U.S. government has currently prioritized […]

Syria Backgrounder: Diplomatic and Humanitarian Dimensions of U.S. Policy in Syria

  What is the current U.S. strategy in Syria? As it currently stands, U.S. policy towards Syria includes ratcheted up air strikes against ISIS targets in both Syria and Iraq, a $500 million program to equip and train the moderate opposition, and a $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnership Fund that aims to strengthen Syria’s neighbors’ capacity […]

Critical Review: “The Two-State Delusion, Israel and Palestine, A Tale of Two Narratives” by Padraig O’Malley

By Bernard Pelletier (Program Director, Critical Connections)  Padraig O’Malley, the author of “The Two State Delusion”, is no stranger to intractable conflicts. He was a key participant in ending the centuries long strife between Catholic and Protestant Ireland. From there he turned his attention to South Africa documenting the transition from apartheid to freedom. In […]

They died, but not in vain

Deah Barakah, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 The American-Muslim community is still reeling from the cold-blooded murders of three young American-Muslim students killed in their Chapel Hill, N.C. home on February 10.  And yet, just as in their short lives these beautiful souls mobilized their communities to help the homeless, the hungry and […]

Afghanistan at a Crossroads

Written by Bernie Pelletier As the crow flies, South Windsor, Connecticut is 6,622 miles from Afghanistan. But on May 29, a group of people in South Windsor had a window directly into this small and troubled nation. Three experts – each of whom had direct experience in Afghanistan – spoke to a group people drawn together by […]

Pakistani Taliban Backgrounder

Written by Mehlaqa Samdani 1. Who are the Pakistani Taliban? While the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was formally established in December 2007 under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud, Taliban groups in Pakistan’s tribal belt had emerged many years earlier. During the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets, the Pakistani, Saudi and American governments colluded to socialize […]

Geneva II: A brief backgrounder on the Syria peace conference

Written by XXX 1. What is the aim of the Syria peace conference in Montreaux, Switzerland? The original aim of the UN-backed peace conference on Syria scheduled for January 22, 2014 (actual negotiations begin Jan. 24 in Geneva) was to establish a transitional government with comprehensive executive powers that could potentially include members of both the government […]



Dr. Peter Coleman

THURS, OCT. 19, 7-9 PM


Bangs Community Center       70 Boltwood Walk        Amherst, MA


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These events are part of our Transforming this Moment series and are organized in partnership with the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. For more details, please click here. Our events are made possible by Mass Humanities, whose grants inspire considered thoughts, conversations, and action


Friday, December 8, 2017        9-4pm                               Holyoke Community College Holyoke, MA

A daylong event with  educators, religious clergy, law-enforcement personnel, social workers, and Muslim community leaders committed to building inclusive communities.


Prof. Sudha Setty on the future of American-Muslims under the Trump administration


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Mr. Daryl Johnson on homegrown extremism


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