Statement of Interfaith Solidarity

As an interfaith community including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim brothers and sisters as well as other religious and non-religious perspectives, we, Dubuque’s Children of Abraham, stand in solidarity with those who are victims of violence, fear, ignorance, and hatred. We make this commitment at a time when the beliefs and practices of many faithful, civically-minded people are being judged by the terrible actions of a few, and we reject the irrational fear of entire religious traditions because such fear blocks the pursuit of greater purpose. We specifically repudiate those unfounded attitudes toward Islam that some public figures promote; when these figures speak, our community hears echoes of past persecutions against other religious groups, including Jews and Christians. The Children of Abraham is convinced that such fears, and the ideas they advance, often result in unjust actions that, over time, will foster anger, resentment, and further violence. In this conviction, we stand with those individuals and communities affected by prejudice and fear and call for a continued open dialogue to pursue pathways of peace and active non-violence. The Children of Abraham remains convinced that by listening to and learning from one another we all move closer to peaceful and lasting relationships and a civil, democratic society.    12-18-15

Mission Statement: Dubuque’s Children of Abraham creates an atmosphere of civic life that builds inter-religious solidarity, cooperation, and friendship. It does so through regular monthly topical conversations, service, activities, education outreach, and expressions of cross-cultural hospitality in sacred spaces.

Welcome to C of A: another year, another series of awesome discussions. This year makes 13. And while 13 is often seen as an unlucky number, it has its positive attributes as well. In Catholic devotional practice, the number 13 is associated with Saint Anthony of Padua, since his feast day falls on June 13. In Shia Islam, the number 13 signifies the 13th day of the month of Rajab (the Lunar calendar), which is the birth of Imam Ali. 13 also is a total of 1 Prophet and 12 Shia Imams in the Islamic School of Thought. In Judaism, 13 is clearly a lucky number with 13 attributes of Mercy (in Exodus) and 13 Jewish principles of faith, according to Moses Maimonides. And for us at CofA, it signifies a joyous 13 years of talking, trusting and sharing. Come join us, please.

In-person or Facebook - your choice. Join us and keep our interfaith dialogue active. If you would like to be on our very infrequent mailing list, email John ( Or, just view our Facebook page - on the proper Thursday (see below).
Schedule and Venues for 2023-2024 (7pm unless noted; regularly updated as needed.)

   Sept. 7: Loras College ACC Ballroom — Broken Faith: Religious Affiliation and Discontent
   Oct. 5: Temple Beth El — Holy Days. Sukkot celebration begins 6:30pm.
   Nov. 2: Wartburg Seminary — Living Well, Considering Death
   Jan. 18: St. Anthony Catholic Church — Blasphemy and Cancel Culture
   Feb. 15: Emmaus Bible College — Conversion
   Mar. 7: Tri-State Islamic Center — Women in Holy Books
   Apr. 11: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — Intra-Faith: a Glimpse at Diversity within Religions

Download our 11x8.5" 2023-2024 pdf poster:     2023-2024 11x8.5.pdf

A Statement of Solidarity: Identity Violence
Political Discourse and Civility by John Eby (Editorial in the TH 11-25-18)
Children of Abraham Activities and Hospitality Festivals:

In addition to our exciting conversations, we organize activities and other events. For example, there is Qur’an Study every Tuesday: 5:30-6:30pm in the Interfaith Prayer Space (Alumni Campus Center 580) at Loras College. You are certainly welcome.


What inspired this series of faith based conversations?

Dubuque’s Children of Abraham grew out of inter-religious friendships that were simply too rich not to share. John Eby (a Christian professor of History, Loras College), Alan Garfield (a Jewish professor of Digital Art and Design at the University of Dubuque), Adib Kassas (a Muslim psychiatrist at Mercy Hospital), Bonnie Sue Lewis (a Presbyterian Christian professor of Mission at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary), and John Waldmeir (a Catholic professor of Religion at Loras College) decided to organize interfaith conversations so as to broaden the dialogue and learn from others.

Who and What We Are:

We are an organized group in the Dubuque, Iowa, area that believes in and acts to have meaningful interfaith conversations. We have finished our third year,'s time to get serious - website, more activities - that sort of stuff. So, plan to join us for our fourth year, coming up 2014-2015. These conversations are aimed at enhancing understanding of religious traditions in a non-threatening, non-competitive environment. These conversations are not debates but rather dialogues grounded in civility, a willingness to listen to others, and a commitment to learn and reflect with respect. We love round table group discussions, when possible - often with a bit of food (who doesn't?).


Who and What We Are - the Video

10 minute documentary from Spring 2015 by Loras students Lina Rodriguez Araujo and Mareah Adolphs. Thanks to Lina, Mareah and all who participated. Yes, it's 3 years old. But very little has changed except the shrill from Washington. Once again, a great reflection on our community.

- Interview with Adib Kassas in the Telegraph Herald, March 9, 2019
Interview with Adib Kassas in the Telegraph Herald

Read the entire interview, click here.

- Video of the 11-15-18 Q&A session, hosted by Stacia McDermott at Loras College. Topic: Evil.

- October 26, 2017: Martin Luther and Antisemitism
Martin Luther and Antisemitism
In this, the 500 year anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 theses nailed to the door of Wittenberg Castle church, we will discuss antisemitism in Luther's writings.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1755 Delhi St, Dubuque. 7-8:15pm.

There are three distinct parts to this presentation. First, Professor Craig Nessan, Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology at Wartburg Theological Seminary, will present his Luther research and his recent publication about Luther and antisemitism. Second, Professor John Eby, Associate Professor of History and Chairperson for Faculty Senate at Loras College will address issues of Medieval antisemitism. Third, Professor Alan Garfield, Professor of Digital Art and Design and Director of the Bisignano Art Gallery at the University of Dubuque, will talk about the rise of antisemitism in America in the 21st century.

- September 24, 2017: Concert for NonViolence at U of Dubuque
Concert for NonViolence, Against Gun Violence
Our inter-religious group believes in the sacredness of life. Civil discourse and love of humanity are at the core of everything we try to do. In this event, we joined with DACU - Dubuque Area Congregations United (, the Dubuque Coalition for Non-Violence and the Dubuque International Day of Peace in sponsoring this Concert for NonViolence.

As part of the week long International Day of Peace celebration, the Concert for NonViolence is a combination two-hour concert and reflection on nonviolence. The power of music to reach far and wide has fueled countless important movements in recent decades. Now is the time to turn up the music to turn down the hateful rhetoric that has become a hallmark of the gun debate. All invited. Musicians: Kristina Castaneda, Ralph Kluseman, and Linda Niemann. Speaker: Alan Garfield “Nonviolence in the Abrahamic Tradition”.

WI Council of Churches Interfaith Report
Sr. Betty Kugi shares this marvelous resource from the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Their publication is "Loving our Interfaith Neighbors: A Study-Action Guide" which can be downloaded here.

Various Events 2015-2016 (in addition to our Thursday night discussions):
- February 20, 2016. RIVERCROSSING Storytelling and Interfaith Conference at Loras College, sponsored by IFYC, Clarke University, Loras College and the University of Dubuque.

Recent Past Highlights.
- Interfaith Discussion at the Dyersville Library, 9-2-17.
John Eby, Adib Kassas and Alan Garfield
- Peace Rally - From Paris to Chapel Hill: A Neighborly Stand Against Religious Prejudice.
        Monday, March 9, 2015.

This was a time for the Dubuque community to join together (hence the neighborly) with UD/Loras/Clarke/Wartburg and other students, faculty, and Dubuquers to rally against religious intolerance. Over 200 folks came. Local, regional and national interest.

Why? (Do you really have to ask?) We have been witnessing violence because of intolerance with increased frequency this year. This is not only about the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, though it is clearly about that, but also about the savage violence done to those of different races and religions. Plain and simple, we’re doing this because this is, in fact, what we at the Children of Abraham stand for. And we feel compelled to stand in solidarity especially with our Jewish and Muslim neighbors at this time.

- C of Abraham article in PC(USA) online in 2015.
Thank you Bonnie Sue Lewis, from Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Children of Abraham Board, and Melody Smith, from Prebyterian News Service, for an online article in PC(USA)'s website:
- Comedian Azhar Usman, March 5, 2015 at 7pm.
This was indeed a special event. This Muslim comedian came to Dubuque to do a stand up comedy act at Loras College at 7 pm. Thanks to grants from the City of Dubuque Arts and Culture Commission and Loras College's Kucera Center for Catholic Studies, this event was open and free to the public, and 300 people came - laughed and reflected. Thanks John and Stacia for all your hard work.  azhar usman poster 8.5x11.pdf    
Past Topics have included:
- Love and Sex.
- Creation.
- God.
- Abraham.
- Moses.
- Women.
- Conversion and Proselytizing.
- Civil Disobedience.
- Prayer.
- Joseph.
- Scripture Studies.

Don't forget to visit us at Children of Abraham Facebook page

See some of our past events (we do so many, we need a separate page to show them).


Join our next conversation:
April 11: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — Intra-Faith: a Glimpse at Diversity within Religions 7-8:15pm.


Qur’an Study on Tuesdays. Email Adib or John. 5:30-6:30pm in the Interfaith Prayer Space (Alumni Campus Center 580) at Loras College.


Questions or concerns? Just email us.

Recent Events: 2022-2019:
Exciting conversation on 10-27-22 at Temple Beth El. The emcee was John Eby, with presenters Kate Cooper, Alan Garfield, Jackie Burnett, and Adib Kassas. 170 in attendance. A lively event with warm hospitality.
Money and Interest with Brenna Cussen, Adib Kassas and Alan Garfield.Our host for this topic, “Money and Interest”, held at the Tri-State Islamic Center was Matt Rissler. On the panel: Brenna Cussen, Adib Kassas, and Alan Garfield. Some pictures…

Hope with Mona Chicks, Alan Garfield and Adib Kassas.Topic was HOPE. A fascinated Zoom discussion led by John Eby with panelists Mona Chicks, Alan Garfield and Adib Kassas.

Surprise Retirement Zoom Meeting.Surprise Zoom Meeting congratulating Bonnie Sue Lewis upon her retirement from the Seminary Faculty at the University of Dubuque. It's fun to surprise friends, even remotely.

Our first coronavirus zoom meeting.Organized by John and Alan, there were 20 folks who participated in Zoom. This picture taken when 14 were active after 40 minutes.

Pictures from our 02-20-20 conversation at the Tri States Islamic Center (the Mosque) in Dubuque. Hosted by Bonnie Sue Lewis, presenters were Kate Scheinman, Anderson Sainci, and Adib Kassas. All the seats were filled and the overflow was on the floor. Special guests this night included Prof Chuck Cohen (whose book we'll use for our Spring book group) from Madison and Rabbi Emeritus Henry Karp, Cantor Gail Karp, and Imam Qasim Siddiqui from Davenport. A lively event with warm hospitality.
Pictures from our 01-30-20 conversation at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Along with our conversation ('the community that you think you know), we had a musical demo and conversation with Peter and Sami from Shesh Besh. Presenters were: Hannah Eby, Taj Suleyman, Alan Garfield and Nathan Utt.
Pictures from our 10-17-19 conversation at Temple Beth El. This was a combination 'build the Sukkah', 'service in the Sukkah', 'dinner in the social hall' and conversation. About 90 came for the Sukkah and dinner; 147 were in the Sanctuary for the conversation. Wow. This was a festival of hospitality - CoA folks brought a dish to share in addition to the food prepared by Phyllis Garfield, Ellie Landau and Fern Reinstein. We're not used to seeing our little congregation so packed. Thank you presenters Tauseef Khan, Kerry Brown, Christina Edwards and Kate Scheinman. Topic: Food in your tradition. Participation from a Muslim, Christian/Protestant, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Jewish perspective.

Pictures from our 9-19-19 conversation at Loras College. Presenters were Stacia McDermott, Adib Kassas and Alan Garfield. Topic: Heavenly Minded and Earthly Good - How does your faith inform your life? Stories from Catholic, Muslim and Jewish perspectives.

A few of our events from last year, Spring 2019:
Pictures from our 3-21-19 conversation at the Tri-States Islamic Center (the Dubuque Mosque). The Mosque was packed, with over 275 folks including our friends from the Dubuque Police Department. Presenters were Mrs. Tania Khan, Dr. Adib Kassas, Dr. Rami al-Tibi, Prof Alan Garfield, Rev Ed Moreano, Mr. Jody Dernin and Prof John Eby. This was a rather free-form discussion of Death and Dying plus a Memorial for the Christchurch, New Zealand Mosque Shootings on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Pictures from our 2-21-19 conversation at the University of Dubuque. Hadley Auditorium was packed with every seat taken and folks sitting on the steps. Presenters were Sr. Toni Harris (Sinsinawa), Prof. Taj Suleyman (Tri-State Islamic Center) and Prof Alan Garfield (Temple Beth El)h. Kate Scheinman was the emcee and led us on this illustrated discussion of how the Arts figure in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Our Friends:

We are very thankful for the encouraging support (financial and enthusiastic) by the following institutions:

- Loras College

- University of Dubuque