Islamic scholar: Difference is a blessing

"Difference is a blessing, not a challenge. We define ourselves by knowing other people. We know our world by learning about difference. What is the word we often use? Tolerance. Is that a positive notion? Not really. 'For the time being, I will tolerate you?' I'm against that concept. It means difference is a threat. Difference is a blessing and you don't tolerate a blessing. You embrace it." Mohammad Mahallati, presidential scholar in Islamic studies at Oberlin College. This quote comes from a Conference on World Affairs panel about Practicing Religion in a Pluralistic Society.