ONLINE: Understanding Islam Introductory Course

Virtual! (on Zoom)













NOTICE: In response to Covid-19, this class is now being taught online over Zoom. New to Zoom and unsure? We want to support you! Contact with tech questions.


Wednesdays evenings, 7:00-8:30pm EST, March 25 - April 29, 2020 (5 sessions, no class April 8), online over Zoom (Zoom information will be sent after registration)


Course Description

Back by popular demand, we are excited to offer this introductory course again! By some accounts, over 60% of US citizens say they have never met a Muslim or know much about the religion of Islam. Yet, despite the lack of contact and interaction, a majority of Americans continue to define all Muslims as “fanatics”, “violent” and “ignorant”. This is not surprising because their impression of Muslims is derived largely from narrow and biased reporting by media and other sources. 

This course is designed to bring an alternative voice, and a glimpse of the wider, sweeping, story of the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. Islam is the fastest growing faith in the world. Hayat will answer questions such as: Who are we? What do Muslims find so appealing in Islam? What do we believe? What underlies Islamic culture and community? What is our experience with non-Muslims? 

As an American Muslim, who has lived and worked in many Muslim countries, Hayat will share facts and figures about Islam, as well as her personal lived experiences as a practicing Muslim, an immigrant, and a peace activist. In the brief time together, Hayat will share the story of her growing up years and the influence of her Muslim parents. From Hayat’s 40 years of disciplined study and practice of the religion, she will discuss the fundamental principles of Islam and the essence of the religion, illustrated by relevant passages from the Quran. The course will touch upon the impact of Islamic scholars on Western civilization and tackle some typical questions such as women’s status in Islam, and how Islam views violence. 

In this increasingly connected globe, it’s imperative for our survival to foster greater understanding and build bridges. This course will offer information that may feel challenging, but participants may end up being surprised and delighted to find that, beyond the differences, people have more in common than initially thought!  

The course is offered in five sessions that will cover the following topics: 

  1. Islamic Culture and the Diversity of the Muslim World
  2. What’s at the Heart of Islam
  3. The Early History of the Islamic Community, Islam’s Contributions to Civilization
  4. The Relationship between Muslims and the West, Historic Jewish/ Muslim Connections, Visualizing a way forward together.

Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion. Each session will include a presentation, interspersed with time for questions and answers. 

Weekly Prep: Occasional Readings

Course Location: Online over Zoom



Registration Cost:

Sliding scale (covers all 5 classes): $10 - $160

In our new current reality, we want to make our program offerings as widely accessible as possible. We know that many people are facing a lot of uncertainty right now, and we want to continue offering an open space for learning and connection. Please donate what you are able to for this class. If you can pay the full rate, you’re helping us to continue programming that is accessible, regardless of income. Please email with questions about tickets.



Instructor Bio: Hayat Imam

Hayat Imam is an American-Muslim of Bangladeshi origin. She is a feminist-activist committed to building global social justice movements. Former Executive Director of the Boston Women’s Fund and Board Chair of Grassroots International, she is an active member of Mass Peace Action and Dorchester People for Peace. Hayat was a keynote speaker at the Boston Women’s March in January 2017 and, in the summer of 2018, at the Poor People’s Campaign on the War Economy.