TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- Omid Safi has taken his lectures about Islamophobia around the country, but the professor from Duke University has probably never had quite so effective an opening act.
Safi spoke at Salt Lake Community College students and faculty on Monday, the day after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints devoted a prime speaking slot at its general conference to the subject of helping Middle Eastern and North African refugees.
"Personally, I'm not particularly concerned with how religious people present themselves," Safi said. "My question is always, ‘what kind of religiosity.’"
Safi spoke to a group of about 100 students and staff at the college, relating his faith and work to Christians and Jews who fight for civil rights in the U.S.
On Sunday, the LDS General Authority who administers the church's activity in Europe, Patrick Kearon, spoke about the need for compassion for migrants fleeing war-torn Syria and other regions of the Middle East and North Africa.
"We see many of them coming with only the clothes they're wearing and what they can carry in one small bag. A large proportion of them are well educated and all have left behind homes, schools and jobs," Kearon said.