Panel discussion on faith slated for OCCC

March 5, 2016 Latest, News Print Print

Advocating tolerance rather than animosity will be the message when a panel of religious scholars talk from noon to 2 p.m. Monday, March 7, in the Bruce Owen Theater on campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

The scholars will speak on interreligious relationships and they will answer questions from the audience during the discussion.
Dr. Imad S. Enchassi, one of the guest speakers, is the president, founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.

The other scholars attending Monday are Dr. Charles Kimball, a professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma,  and Dr. William Tabbernee, director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.

Kimball and Tabbernee are well known published scholars and experts in their religious fields, said Student Life Coordinator Travis Ruddle, who planned this event.

“It’s a very timely and important event that we can give to the students,” Ruddle said of the Interfaith panel.
Tabbernae is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), according to the website of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.

Kimball is an ordained Baptist minister who earned his doctorate in theology at Harvard University, according to his biography on the OU website.

Enchassi was interviewed on a podcast hosted by OCCC Professor Gwin Faulconer-Lippert on Feb. 28 on KTOK news radio.  He discussed the importance of such interfaith talks during this particular political climate.

“It seems like a lot of our politicians, as we gear up to an election, are using the politics of fear to divide people,” Enchassi said on the program.

“We’re the people (who) are refusing to be divided,” said Enchassi of himself, and fellow scholars comprising the panel.
The reality of religious intolerance needs to be acknowledged and addressed, Ruddle said.

“I think people in the back of their minds…believe that religious intolerance is not an issue anymore in the 21st century, that (intolerance) is something (seen) in the 1800s and 1900s,” he said. “But it’s still very prevalent today.”

All are invited to ask questions during the forum and are welcome to stay after the event to talk with the speakers personally, Ruddle said.

For more information about this event, call Ruddle in the Student Life office at (405) 682-1611 ext. 7683 or listen to Faulconer-Lippert’s podcast online at

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