Dr. Mehnaz Afridi is a Muslim scholar of the Holocaust. She is director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College, a Catholic college in New York City. The Center’s mission is to promote interfaith dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, raised in Europe, the Middle East and Scarsdale, New York, Dr. Afridi brings a unique perspective to her interfaith work.
Dr Afridi spoke February 4th 2016 at the University of Washington as part of the Public Lecture Series “Equity and Difference: Keeping the Conversation Going.”
As Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, her work focuses on ways people control history and on depictions of the other as a way to deny the complexity of all human beings. At the deepest levels of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, she says notions of the sacred have to be confronted and deconstructed.
Dr. Aridi has interviewed holocaust survivors and prayed at the Dachau concentration camp. She also researches the stories of Muslims who saved Jews during the holocaust. She brings these stories to groups around the world. By doing so, she is able to interact with others who also care deeply about finding pathways through the prejudice surrounding them.
She is the co-editor of Orhan Pamuk and Global Literature: Existentialism and Politics (May 2012, Palgrave Macmillan), and is part of a podcast series, “Voices of Anti-Semitism” for United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, DC.
The lecture series continues February 10th, as does our podcast series with K. Tsianina Lomawaima, professor of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. Her lecture is titled “More Than Mascots! Less Than Citizens? American Indians Talk: Why Isn’t the U.S. Listening?”