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Posted at 10:32 AM ET, 02/21/2011

Washington and religious freedom seminar

By Jacqueline Trescott

A famous letter George Washington wrote to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, R.I. in 1790 is the basis for a symposium Wednesday as part of the "Choosing to Participate" exhibition.

In the letter Washington talked about "give bigotry no sanction" and groups over the years have organized discussions about religious freedom and democracy following the first president's words.

The seminar will take place on Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., where the traveling exhibition officially opens. The event is open to the public and a reception starts at 5:30. The show is organized by Facing History and Ourselves and details actions by people who practiced their citizenship often against tremendous odds. The group has built a three-year project around the Washington letter to talk about past and present social issues, and how leaders, such as Washington, tackled them.

The speakers will include John Sexton, president of New York University, Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and Zainab Al-Suwaij, executive director of the American Islamic Congress.

The exhibition will be in Washington until June 17

By Jacqueline Trescott  | February 21, 2011; 10:32 AM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Washington exhibitions  | Tags:  Facing History and Ourselves, George Washington, Hebrew Congregaton in Newport, Washington letter  
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