News & Blog

Atheists, Pastor, and Imam To Go Head-to-Head in Public Panel

Memphis, TN
On Monday, the national nonprofit American Atheists announced an interfaith panel discussion featuring experts on Islam, Christianity, and atheism from 4 to 5 pm on Wednesday, April 1 in the Skyway Ballroom of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. The public and media are invited to this free event, which serves as a “warm-up” to the start of the organization’s 2015 National Convention also at the Peabody Hotel, April 2-5.

The moderated panel, titled “Exploring Myths, Dispelling Stereotypes” will include Memphis’ First Evangelical Church pastor Dr. Cole Huffman, nationally known Islamic scholar and Rhodes College professor Dr. Yasir Qadhi, Ex-Muslims of North America President Muhammad Syed, and American Atheists President David Silverman. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions after the panel discussion.

“The stigma against openly identifying as an atheist is strong in America, specifically because many people don’t understand what an atheist is or what we actually believe,” said Silverman. “That’s why we do what we do. We’re bringing representatives from multiple groups together to address these stereotypes head-on.”

“There’s a huge necessity of dialogue between various groups—those with a background of faith and those of no faith,” said Syed. “The only way we can move forward is if we understand and respect each other. These conversations are vital to make that happen.”

“America’s shared civic space becomes more respectful when civility prevails in working through real differences between belief systems,” said Huffman. “Our discussion on April 1 at The Peabody is an opportunity to do that.”

“While people of faith might have strong—and at times even heated—disagreements with those of no faith, both sides can agree that we do need to work together for a better civil society,” said Qadhi. “There is no better way of accomplishing that than by engaging with one another and sharing ideas together.”

The American Atheists 2015 National Convention, April 2-5 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, will feature keynote human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, featured speakers founder and Discovery Channel host Marshall Brain, memeticist Dr. Susan Blackmore, comedians Trace Bealieu and Frank Conniff of the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a costume party, a Cards Against Humanity charity tournament, and more.

Anyone attending the panel will also be able to register for the American Atheists National Convention for one-day passes and full convention tickets. More information is available at

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

For More Information Contact:

American Atheists, Inc.

P.O. Box 158

Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel: (908) 276-7300

Email: [email protected]