Alumni spotlight: Aziza Hasan, ’03 Bethel College


shared by Bethel College

Aziza Hasan, right, whose family roots run through Palestine, runs NewGround. Andrea Hodos, once a resident of Israel, has been her associate director since 2020. Photo credit: Mark Abramson for The New York Times

Aziza Hasan ’03, Los Angeles, is executive director of the interfaith group NewGround, a nonprofit organization that helps Muslims and Jews listen, disagree, learn and empathize with one another.

Hasan is a devout Muslim. Her associate director at NewGround, Andrea Hodos, is a devout Jew. In an interview in the New York Times, the friends and colleagues speak of their histories and the current fear both groups are now facing.

“I sometimes wonder why I am so devoted to something that seems so bleak, especially now….,” Hasan said. “When there’s a relationship, there are moments of softening that allow a little more slack in the discussion and a little more care.”

In a separate interview for NPR’s All Things Considered, Hasan and Alyson Freedman, member of Sisterhood Salaam Shalom, speak about how their organizations are functioning during this time.

“I think right now it’s not necessarily about dialogue,” Hasan said. “It’s about being there for people that you know and being there in grief. And so, like, what we’ve been seeing is that even with the people who need space and who just need to be supported right now, there are also other spaces that we’re still continuing to convene. And we’re seeing that people are more eager to come to the table because people understand the importance of radically seeing each other, and they’re hungry for spaces that create the possibility of being able to step forward in this really hard time.”

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