*Few would deny the nation’s African-Americans have suffered. And few would deny they have looked to faith as a source of solace and comfort.

At a forum at UNC-Chapel Hill this past weekend, a group of scholars and community participants pondered the age-old question of why God would permit such suffering.

Although Christian theologians have tackled the issue before – most recently during the civil rights era – the “Black Theodicy Forum” at the FedEx Center for Global Education brought together Christians and Muslim scholars to tackle the question jointly. The two faiths represent the twin strains of the African-American religious experience in the United States.

About 75 people showed up for the two-day event, organized by the Institute of African American Research. Among them was Umar Muhammad, a former assistant basketball coach at N.C. Central University in Durham.

“I came here to learn about how both religious traditions have common solutions to the problems of African-Americans,” said Muhammad, who is Muslim and lives in Durham.

As a sports consultant to young black men, he said, he wanted to be in a better position to offer spiritual solutions to some of the questions the men are asking.

Read more at NewsObserver.com.