Molly Linehan is from Geneva, Ohio. Attending 12 years of Catholic school, Molly went on to receive a Bachelor in Theology from Xavier University. After college she spent two years in the war ravaged region of Chalatenango, El Salvador working with the Catholic Church. El Salvador increased her sensitivity to the effects of war and violence. In 2002, Molly was awarded the Rotary Foundation’s Ambassadorial Scholarship to study International Relations and Development in India (and Pakistan). In India Molly found herself drawn to Islam. The relationship of individual and community, freewill and submission, prayer and action was familiar to her devout Catholicism.
Upon returning to the US in 2004, Molly began working in high school campus ministry in the Diocese of Cleveland. Often called upon to speak on world religions, Molly found the young people’s well-meaning exposure to Islam was miss-informed and sometimes insulting to the faith. Misleading representations have created fear and justified violence. Molly felt called, as a faithful Catholic, to work for honest a positive presentation of Islam so that together Muslims and Christians can work toward peace. So, in 2009 Molly moved to Washington DC to attend Georgetown’s Liberal Studies Program with an emphasis on Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations.
Molly is completing her last course toward her degree this summer. She is working on a thesis in non-violent movements in Islam. She will return to Christian education with a particular emphasis on the relationship of Muslims and Christians and our common need for understanding.
About the Alwaleed Scholarship:
Receiving the Alwaleed Scholarship in the fall of 2010 clinched my decision to leave full-time employment in order to invest my last months of studies in multi-faith work. Since receiving the scholarship, I have been able to work with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as an invitee in dialogues and in a young adult retreat with the organization Religions for Peace. I am grateful for the support and look forward to the future and sharing where the degree leads me from here.