New reading, discussion group focuses on Islam

Farmington Museum and San Juan College will present reading and discussion group on Islam in America

Noel Lyn Smith,
Ned O'Malia

FARMINGTON — Beginning this month, the Farmington Museum and San Juan College will present a five-part reading and discussion group that focuses on Islam in America.

Ned O'Malia, a professor of Asian Religions at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, will lead the free program, which is funded by the New Mexico Humanities Council.

O'Malia said he thinks Islam is the most misunderstood religion in the country and many people have misgivings about Muslims. One way to counter those misconceptions and negative sentiments is by learning about Islam and Muslims, he said.

"The world changes and people don't know much about the changes they see," O'Malia said.

The program is open to 15 people. Each participant will receive four books, including the Quran, that focus on the various aspects and teachings of the religion.

In September, O'Malia delivered the Chautauqua presentation "Our Muslim Neighbors," at San Juan College. About 80 people attended that event, he said. Based on the event's success, O'Malia and the humanities council thought the community would react well to the new reading and discussion group.

The program will be offered through a partnership between San Juan College and the Farmington Museum.

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Jeffery Richardson, curator of exhibits at the museum, said the series will start with a presentation by O'Malia on Saturday, which is open to the public.

Subsequent discussions will focus on the reading material, and participants can share their opinions about the materials, as well as ask questions.

"It's designed to provide an intimate discussion about the books," Richardson said, adding that registration is required to participate in the reading and discussion group.

He said six people had registered as of today.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

If you go

What: Islam in America: A reading and discussion group

When: Sessions will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

  • March 4 at the Farmington Museum, 3041 E. Main St.
  • April 8 at San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd., room 1908 in the West Classroom Complex
  • April 22 at the Farmington Museum, 3041 E. Main St.
  • June 3 at San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd., room 1908 in the West Classroom Complex
  • June 17 at the Farmington Museum, 3041 E. Main St.

Register: Go to and click on the "Cultural and Special events" box

More info: Call 505-599-1400