Robert Azzi will present a program, “Being Muslim in America c2024” which is a variation of his popular program “Ask a Muslim Anything” which he has been presenting over the past few years, a program which in recent months has come to include issues on conflict, identity, and oppression between Palestinians and Israelis.
Azzi has found that most people, even those critical of Islam and Muslims, when engaged in small scale or in one-one-one conversation, are willing to listen and engage with Muslims if that engagement occurs in what are perceived to be safe places: houses of worship, libraries, schools, civic organizations, etc..
Azzi speaks not as a scholar or academic but as neighbor, fellow citizen, person of faith.
Azzi has travelled throughout New Hampshire and beyond – as far west as Wyoming – at the invitation of local communities to speak about his life, what it’s like to be Muslim in America, how he came to convert to Islam, about the religion of Islam and its history – especially in America – and about the Middle East, terrorism and associated political and social issues.
Nothing is off the table except rudeness and disrespect: while there’ll always be the odd person who will refuse to engage – or whose mind is closed to dialogue – the vast majority of people want to know who their neighbors are and what they believe. Most will, Robert Azzi believes – and experience suggests – that to know each other we must reach out and talk to each other.
NB In Zoom presentations Azzi will not respond to questions posed by attendees who have their image and/or identity blocked.
BIO: Robert Azzi is a photojournalist, columnist and public speaker who lives in Exeter NH. An Arab American Muslim born in the Granite State, he has lived in Beirut, Cairo, Athens, Jeddah, and New York. Today, he writes on issues of identity, conflict, and Islam, particularly as they apply in the Middle East and the Global South.
Azzi has been a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University and has also served terms as a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard Divinity School and as an advisor to Tufts University’s Fletcher School committee on Islam and South-West Asia. He is a board member of ACLU-NH.
Today, Azzi is a columnist whose work appears (almost) weekly in The Concord Monitor, Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover), and The Portsmouth Herald. He also posts weekly on substack: https://robertazzitheother.substack.com/
“People don’t know what they don’t know,” Azzi tells his audience. “I want to open up new perspectives for my readers – especially for those who don’t often agree with me – and expose them to points-of-view I believe are important and which they might not have previously considered.”