2010-2011 Activities

June 20, 2011 – Workshop on Police-Community Engagement and Counter-Terrorism. Efforts to counter jihadist and other forms of terrorism are increasingly drawing upon community-based initiatives underpinned by engagement and partnership work between police officers and community members, in the UK and across other international contexts. Communities can potentially be key partners in countering the threat from terrorism, and community policing models are increasingly being drawn upon, and utilized, in order to work towards countering terrorism-related crime. This workshop, part of an ongoing research project, aims to bring together police and other practitioners, policymakers, community members and researchers who are involved in issues relating to police-community engagement and counter-terrorism. This event was co-sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council, the University of Birmingham, and ACMCU.


June 12 – June 18, 2011 – Pastor/Imam Institute. Georgetown University offers this intensive six-day institute on its historic campus in the nation’s capital. Co-Sponsored by Hartford Seminary’s Duncan Black MacDonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, the institute is ecumenical in its scope and outreach and interreligious in its structure. It is ecumenical because Christian pastors and pastoral workers from all churches are welcome to learn about Islam. It is interreligious because imams and Muslim community leaders are welcome to learn about Christianity and to join Christian participants in study and discussion of Christian-Muslim relations.


June 7, 2011 – Co-Sponsored Conference: "The Changing Middle East: New Challenges, Players & US-Iran Relations". This conference was co-sponsored by ACMCU, the American Iranian Council (AIC), and The Institute for Global Challenges at Rutgers University. Experts from the academic and policy communities joined diplomats and military leaders to discuss the changing Middle East landscape and the future of U.S.-Iran relations. The conference was keynoted by the Honorable Admiral William J. Fallon, Former Commander of U.S. Central Command.


May 24-25, 2011 – Conference: Our Shared Future: “Deconstructing the ‘Clash of Civilizations’: Towards a New Paradigm”. An International Symposium jointly organized by the British Council and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, this two-day event brought together opinion leaders, academics, researchers, commentators and journalists to reflect on relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the US and Europe. The aim of the meeting was to move beyond the “Clash of Civilizations” or Clash of Cultures narrative in order to identify and outline the basic components of a new paradigm that helps us understand the common values that bind us together. Participants explored such questions as: What is the body of scholarship that supports such a paradigm? What kind of language is needed to describe this new “we”? What new ways must be devised to teach our children history? What new awareness must we create among journalists, opinion leaders and policy makers? In addition to a series of closed sessions, the conference featured a large public event entitled From “Us and Them” to “We are Them”: rethinking Muslim-West relations and our common identity with panelists John Esposito, ACMCU Founding Director, Deborah Amos, NPR reporter, Gallup Senior Analyst Mohamed Younis, and Rashad Hussain from the U.S. Department of State. The discussion was moderated by Emel Magazine’s Sarah Joseph.


April 22, 2011 – Co-Sponsored Event: “xChange: Rising Muslim Voices” at Busboys and Poets. The American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) is housed at the University of Southern California's Center for Religion and Civic Culture and works in partnership with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University. This program aimed to empower emerging American Muslim civic leaders between the ages of 25 and 40 to engage their communities and organizations in effective civic participation and to bring their community organizations into broader coalitions. The program included lectures by scholars, experts, and practitioners from across the country in the areas of civic participation from an Islamic perspective.


April 15, 2011 – Panel Discussion: “The People's Revolution in the Middle East: FUNATICAL Panel” Georgetown hosted members of the FUNATICAL comedy tour for a panel discussion on the recent protests in the Middle East and comedy as cultural diplomacy. The event featured Georgetown Arab studies professor Adel Iskander, Mariam Nawabi, Ahmed Ahmed, and Maria Shehata, as well as Ambassador Cynthia Schnieder, who served as the moderator. FUNATICAL is an intercultural, interfaith comedy tour that breaks stereotypes and bridges gaps between Muslims, Jews, Christians and other faiths from the Middle East and South Asia. This event was co-sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, the Berkley Center, the Mortara Center for International Studies, the Department of Culture and Politics, Communication, Culture & Technology Program, and the Department of Performing Arts.


April 13, 2011 – Briefing: “Democracy Made in Egypt” with Sahar El-Nadi.As a writer, photographer, and instructor on interpersonal skills, communication, and women's leadership, as well as an eyewitness to the Egyptian revolution, Sahar El-Nadi offers international audiences a deeper perspective on Egypt and its people. She used exclusive photos and videos that she took from the heart of the action in Tahrir Square. She covered a fresh perspective dealing with the human and social aspects of the revolution, the pivotal role of women, and creativity as a tool of change.


April 11 and April 12, 2011 - Common Word Conference. As the official representative of A Common Word in North America, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University hosted a follow-up meeting to its successful conference A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change, held in October of 2009. This year’s conference explored concrete initiatives undertaken by practitioners from Muslim and Christian faith communities, in hopes of going beyond theological discussions and highlighting the “so-what” factor of this important initiative. Participants presented significant projects taking place on both a local and international scale, demonstrating the breadth and success of outcomes that can emerge as a result of multi-faith cooperation and the key principles outlined in A Common Word.


April 7, 2011 – Film Screening: Budrus. As part of a jointly-sponsored film series, ACMCU and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies hosted a screening of Budrus, an award-winning feature documentary film that chronicles the inspirational story of Ayed Morrar, who, with the help of his teenage daughter, mobilized a successful nonviolent protest campaign to defend his village against Israel’s encroaching Separation Barrier. The movie is directed by award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha (co-writer and editor of Control Room and co-director Encounter Point), and produced by Bacha, Palestinian journalist Rula Salameh, and filmmaker and human rights advocate Ronit Avni (formerly of WITNESS, Director of Encounter Point).


April 6, 2011 – Book Launch: “Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction” by Jonathan Brown. As the founder of Islam, Muhammad is one of the most influential figures in history. Our knowledge of his life has come mainly from the biography written by his followers, but Western historians have questioned the reliability of this story in the quest to uncover the ‘historical Muhammad’. As modern controversies such as the Satanic Verses and the Danish cartoon crisis have shown, whatever the truth about Muhammad’s life, his persona has taken on numerous shapes and played a crucial role in Muslim life and civilization. Providing both the Muslim and Western historical perspectives, Jonathan A.C. Brown explores Muhammad’s role in both the medieval world and the world today.


March 31, 2011 – Briefing: “The Egyptian Revolution and Social Justice” with Margot Badran. ACMCU Senior Fellow Margot Badran discussed the questions: Will the revolution in Egypt led by youth and joined by others lead to the promotion of social justice? What are the possibilities and what are the obstacles?


March 29, 2011 – Briefing: “The Other Face of Yemen: The Religious World of Yemeni Sufism” with Habib Umar. Attention to Yemen in media, government, and academic circles has tended to center on political turmoil and social unrest in an unstable state. The Hadramawt valley of southern Yemen, however, is a different world, largely hidden to most observers. In this discussion, the founder and head of a large madrasa in the Hadramawt town of Tarim, Habib Umar bin Hafiz, introduced this world to the Georgetown community. Oriented towards the world of the Indian Ocean, the region has been home to an influential and venerated Sufi order for centuries. Today, as in the past, the religious world of Hadramawt is as compelling as it is important for understanding this complex country.


March 28, 2011 – Film Screening: The Time That Remains. Co-Sponsored by ACMCU and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. The Time That Remains is a semi biographic film that attempts to portray the daily life of those Palestinians who remained in their land and were labeled “Israeli-Arabs” living as a minority in their own homeland.


March 26, 2011 – Co-sponsored Event: “Does Social Media Help Bring True Democratic Reform to the Middle East?” This event, a pilot episode for internet broadcast, was hosted by Sarah Sayeed of Oneblue.org and featured guest speaker Aziz Abu Sarah, who is Director of Middle East Projects at the George Mason University Center for World Religion, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. The event was co-sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Mason Cable Network, George Mason Student Media Center, Oneblue.org and Bollywood Bistro.


March 23, 2011 – Briefing: “The Costs of Not Engaging Hamas” with Jeroen Gunning. In this lecture, Dr. Gunning focused on the question of engaging Hamas and the consequences of non-engagement. He examined critically the arguments against engaging Hamas before showing how non-engagement, coupled with the international blockade of Gaza, has served to strengthen the hardliners within the organization, to expand Hamas’ control over Gaza, and to deepen the fragmentation of the Palestinian territories. He then looked at an example of engagement by the Swiss government before concluding that, given the costs of non-engagement, the potential benefits of engagement outweigh any negative effects.


March 16, 2011 – Film Screening: “Lion of the Desert” Co-sponsored with CCAS. Lion of the Desert, directed by Moustapha Akkad, tells the story of the Libyan hero Omar Mukhtar. Played by the Oscar award-winning actor, Anthony Quinn, Mukhtar forms and leads the Libyan resistance against the invasion of the Italian army. Although Mukhtar and his bedouin troops are forced to fight Mussolini's tanks on horseback, he and his forces succeed in turning back the Italians for twenty years.


March 16, 2011 – Briefing: “Religious Authority and Protests” with Jonathan Brown, Yvonne Haddad, and Gregoire Delhaye. Presented on the heels of unprecedented protests across the Arab world, this panel examined the stances of influential Muslim and Christian religious figures responding to anti-government movements in the region. The dramatic successes of protests in Egypt and Tunisia forced religious figures to state their positions about how their respective traditions view political activism in general, and how they conceive of their relationship with the state specifically. The panelists considered positions from state-approved clerics, exiled religious intellectuals, and third-country scholars, explaining how this historic occasion has forced religious figures to revise their opinions and challenge decades-old assumptions.


March 2, 2011 – Briefing: “Nigeria’s Religious Leaders in an Age of Radicalism and Neoliberalism” with Rosalind Hackett. In her remarks, Professor Hackett examined the religious leadership in Nigeria, which has a population of nearly an equal number of Muslims and Christians, and how it has related to outbreaks of religious activism and violence. The talk analyzed critically those areas that are proving conducive to cooperation and conflict management among Nigeria’s religious leaders, contrasting them with those that generate disagreement, if not outright hostility. Particular attention was given to proselytizing in the Nigerian context, and the increasing influence of modern media.


February 24, 2011 – Briefing: “Interfaith Dialogue/Trialogue in Jerusalem” with Mustafa Abu Sway. This lecture looked at the history, issues, and political implications of interfaith dialogue/trialogue in the city of Jerusalem and its vicinity, broadly-defined. Though it could be said that it has limited its scope, the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank in 1967, including East Jerusalem, has not prevented interfaith trialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims from taking place. Professor Abu Sway’s presentation highlighted the organizations involved in this effort, their agendas, and their relationship to local, regional and international political players.


February 14, 2011 – Panel Discussion: “The Great Game and the Theater of War - Afghanistan: Past, Present and Future.” Ambassador Cynthia Schneider moderated a discussion which tried to answer questions about this unique trilogy and about Afghanistan more broadly. What was successful? What wasn't? What happened during the two days of military audiences? Why were they invited back to DC to perform for the military? What do the plays tell us about Afghanistan? What do they not tell us? And what does the play tell us about the US involvement in Afghanistan. The Great Game is a series of plays from London’s Tricycle Theatre which traces the history of foreign involvement in Afghanistan from 1842 to the present day. The trilogy of plays introduces audiences to Afghanistan’s history and culture and features a wide cast of characters -- from foreign soldiers, diplomats and aid workers to local school teachers, Mujahideen, Taliban, and deposed Afghan leaders. This event was cosponsored by The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, The Mortara Center for International Studies, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs, the World Faiths Development Dialogue, the Theater and Performance Studies Program, the South Asian Society and the International Relations Club at Georgetown University.


Thursday, February 10, 2011 – Briefing: “Revolution and Democracy and the Muslim World” with Anwar Ibrahim. Dr. Anwar Ibrahim delivered an enlightening presentation on the role of democracy in Muslim-majority countries today, offering reflections on recent anti-government protests in the Middle East. Anwar Ibrahim was the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1993-1998 and he is currently a member of Parliament in Malaysia and leader of the reform oriented Opposition Coalition, Pakatan Rakyat. From August 2005-December 2006 he was the Malaysia Professor of Islam in Southeast Asia at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding where he lectured on contemporary politics in Southeast Asia focusing on the role of Islam in shaping the region’s political evolution. He remains involved in the Center’s activities as a Senior Fellow and lectures on American campuses during his frequent visits to the United States.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011 – Briefing: “Reform or Transformation? Arab Politics and Islamic Movements” with Nathan Brown, John Esposito, and John Voll. Anti-government demonstrations are flaring up across the Arab world, dramatically challenging established political systems. Changes are being demanded that may result in more than simple changes of rulers or regimes. We are witnessing a possibly transforming moment in the history of the modern Middle East. In this luncheon briefing, panelists examined recent events in Tunisia and Egypt and how these developments will affect other Arab states, especially in the Gulf region. Panelists discussed the nature of relations between political institutions and religious organizations, noting the impact of the new communications media on the methods of political opposition.


Wednesday, January 26th – Briefing: “Yemen: Why it Matters to the U.S. and How We Get it Right” with Ambassador Steven Seche. Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has become a key area of concern for the United States, given the terrorist threat emanating from its territory directed at both key regional ally Saudi Arabia, and the American homeland itself. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent surprise visit to Yemen underscores the importance the U.S. attaches to its relationship with the government of long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who confronts a litany of serious internal challenges to the country's stability, including an armed insurgency in the north, an increasingly secessionist-minded protest movement in the south, and a debilitated economy. Ambassador Seche discussed these and other issues in his extremely timely and enlightening presentation.


Friday, January 14, 2011 – East Coast launch of “Domestic Crusaders” at Busboys & Poets. Playwright Wajahat Ali and artists, musicians, and performers from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area came together to celebrate the publication of “The Domestic Crusaders”, the landmark play about American Muslims which received standing ovations at its sold out performance at the Atlas Theater and the Kennedy Center. This culture show/art celebration/party/talent show also featured live performances, spoken work, music, and poetry. This event was presented by Busboys and Poets Cafe, McSweeney's, and The Before Columbus Foundation, and co-sponsored by Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, OPEN, MPAC, M-100 and Parwaz Playhouse.


January 4, 2011 - January 8, 2011 – International Conference and Research Project: “The Resurgence of Religions in Southeast Asia: 1997-2011” Organized by the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS-Yogya) and the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies (CRCS) at Gadjah Mada University, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University, and the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (ICRWA) at Boston University, this international conference marked the beginning of a two-year project that explores the relationship between religious revitalization and dramatic social, political and economic changes across the region of Southeast Asia over the past 15 years. The giant four-day conference brought together a group of 30-40 international scholars to serve as the main presenters and engage with an audience that included 60 Indonesian scholars and activists, 80 local graduate students, faculty members, and members of local religious communities, and 20 media representatives. In addition to two full-years of research, the project includes plans for a follow-up conference to discuss results of the research, a workshop with policy makers and grass-roots leaders to advocate changes that are supported by the research, professional production of a DVD film, extensive media coverage, and the publication of one or more books by Oxford University Press.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010 – Film Screening: Persepolis. Co-Sponsored by ACMCU and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies


Tuesday, November 16, 2010 – Book Discussion: Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam. Dr. Qamar ul-Huda of the United States Institute of Peace discussed his new book, Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam in Dr. John Esposito’s class, Islam and Global Terrorism. The book addresses both theory and practice by delving into the intellectual heritage of Islam to discuss historical examples of addressing conflict in Islam and exploring the practical challenges of contemporary peacemaking in Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Indonesia. These groundbreaking essays offer possibilities for nonviolent interventions, peacemaking, the implementation of human rights, the reinterpretation of texts, peace education instruction, and employing successful mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills in an Islamic context.


Monday, November 15, 2010 – ACMCU Panel: “Somali Youth Radicalization in the United States”. Experts Cawo Abdi (Assistant Professor, Sociology Department, U Minnesota), Sahar Aziz (Legal Fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding) and Abdirizak Farah (Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties) addressed the question of Somali youth radicalization in the US. To what extent is this a serious challenge, what is the nature of this challenge, and how should it be treated? This panel aimed to bring together voices and expertise from the Somali community, the US policy perspective and the civil rights perspective. Moderated by ACMCU Assistant Professor Jonathan Brown.


Thursday, November 11, 2010 – Book Discussion: Home Boy by H.M. Naqvi. Naqvi discussed his debut novel, Home Boy, which was published in 2009 by Random House. The New York Times hailed it as a “remarkably engaging novel that delights as it disturbs.” Discussion moderated by ACMCU Assistant Professor Jonathan Brown.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010 – ACMCU Luncheon Briefing: “Explaining the Middle East to American Audiences” with Andrea Rugh. American officials now recognize the importance of culture in dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet their attempts to deal with the issue are hampered by a lack of reliable information, and the difficulty of sensitizing diplomats and the military in brief training sessions. The American public similarly relies for information on distorted images conveyed in current literature and through print and television media. The scholarly groups that might shed light on culture are conspicuously silent, and in certain disciplines largely ignore culture in providing advice to policy makers. Rugh described why she thinks American ignorance of culture is a problem, reviewed some of the biases in existing sources of information, and gave examples from her two latest books that attempt to convey more nuanced views of the region to scholarly and general audiences.


Monday, November 8, 2010 – "A Leading Islamic Authority Takes on the Radicals: A Major Fatwa Against Terrorism" with Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. In recent years, the world has witnessed some tragic terrorist attacks around the world including the US, justified through the misinterpretation of Islamic teachings. Such events have widened the gap between Islam and the West. Consequently it has left many in confusion about key concepts of jihad, the Islamic legal stance on suicide bombings and terrorism, and it has caused another threat of home-grown terrorism. On the 2nd March 2010, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri issued a comprehensive 600-page 'Fatwa' (religious ruling) condemning the perpetrators which is regarded as one of the most comprehensive condemnations of terrorism to date by any leading Islamic authority. This Fatwa is a direct refutation of the ideology of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It is one of the most extensive rulings, an "absolute" condemnation of terrorism without "any excuses or pretexts" which goes further than ever and declares terrorism as kufr (disbelief) under Islamic law. This ruling aims to help guide those who have been mislead to the path of terrorism and clarify key concepts. Its implications are critical for the Muslim world and the West alike. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s talk highlighted its applicability, clarified key concepts of jihad, suicide bombings, dar al-harb (Abode of War) and dar al-Islam (Abode of Peace) and why terrorism is in fact continuality of Kharijites (Khawārij) or rebels.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010 – Discussion and Book Launch: “Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World” with Nir Rosen. Recently returned from a six week trip to seven of Iraq's provinces, Rosen discussed post-civil war Iraq and also his experiences reporting on Sunni-Shiite strife in Lebanon and on the situation in Afghanistan. Moderated by ACMCU Visiting Professor Shireen Hunter.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010 – Hasib Sabbagh Memorial. A group of prominent diplomats, policy-makers, colleagues, family and friends gathered to honor the life and legacy of Hasib Sabbagh. The Program featured an opening and introduction by Carol J. Lancaster (Dean and Professor of Politics, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University) a filmed interview with the Honorable Jimmy Carter (39th President of the United States of America), remarks by the Honorable James A. Baker, III (61st U.S. Secretary of State), Under Secretary William J. Burns (Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs), Ambassador Richard Murphy (Ret.), Ambassador Robert Pelletreau (Former Assistant Secretary of State), Dr. Hanan Ashrawi (Member, P.L.O. Executive Committee), Dr. John L. Esposito (University Professor & Founding Director, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University), Mr. Henry Siegman (President, US/Middle East Project), and Dr. Peter Krogh (Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University). Dr. John Voll (Professor and Associate Director, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding) was the Master of Ceremonies. Co-Sponsored with the Georgetown University Office of the President.


Thursday, October 28, 2010 – “Cutting the Fuse” with Robert Pape.Professor Pape presented his powerful new research from the University of Chicago which explains why the War on Terror has done more to scare Americans than terrorists. Specifically he argued that suicide terrorism is strongly correlated to military occupation. Professor Robert Pape offered policies that America should pursue to move beyond the War on Terror. Moderated by Dr. John L. Esposito.


Monday, October 18, 2010 – Briefing: “Facing the Challenge of Turmoil in Kashmir”. This luncheon briefing featured a candid discussion on the current situation in Kashmir, particularly with regard to the latest cycle of violence and anti-government demonstrations that occurred in the Summer of 2010. Rebecca Byerly and Hafsa Kanjwal, who both recently returned from Kashmir, discussed the situation on the ground as witnessed during their time in the region. Ms. Byerly's presentation focused on her experience as an international correspondent in Kashmir, as well as her views on the role of student participation in the demonstrations. Ms. Kanjwal, co-founder of KashmirCorps, an organization which aims to promote public service in Kashmir, shared her experiences living in Srinagar during the height of the conflict. Finally, Ambassador Schaffer's presentation, entitled "Kashmir: What Should the U.S. Do?" offered some insight into the role of U.S. policy in the region, particularly in light of the stories of challenge and conflict shared by his fellow panelists. This event was co-sponsored with the Asian Studies Program and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010 – ACMCU Luncheon Briefing: “Arabized Jews in Christian Spain” with Jonathan Ray. Arabic culture had an important impact on the Jews of al-Andalus who adapted certain elements of it to fit their own needs while maintaining their distinct cultural and religious identity. Examples of such cultural borrowing and adaptation include from their vernacular and written language, to an interest in Greek-style science and philosophy and devotion to poetry. As the Jews resettled in the Christian territories of medieval Iberia, they retained much of the cultural profile they had developed in al-Andalus. Professor Ray discussed how we are to understand this phenomenon. Was the persistence of an “Arabized” Jewish identity in Christian Spain proof of a greater affinity between Jewish and Muslim cultures, or was it part of a more complex set of circumstances that governed the development of Jewish society in the medieval world?


Friday, October 8, 2010 – ACMCU Academic Council Meeting


Thursday, October 7, 2010 – ACMCU Conference: “Rethinking Shariah: Who Speaks for Islam?” This conference consisted of three panels addressing central issues related to Islamic Law. As a religious and legal system, Islam influences the lives of Muslims and non-Muslims alike around the world. Yet in the fourteen centuries since Muhammad’s life, there has never been one single Muslim voice that can unequivocally define what Islam is or what Islamic law decrees. Instead, Muslim scholars have engaged in a process of debate, consensus building and consensus breaking that has spanned centuries and continues today. With modernity came the emergence of the nation state, the establishment of secular legal systems and the primacy of Western thought--all of which brought serious challenges to the authority of the traditional Muslim ulama. On issues ranging from extremist violence to women’s rights, both Muslims and non-Muslims interested in the effects of Islamic law on issues of state and society are faced with the question of who speaks for Islamic law today.


Monday, October 4, 2010 – “The Politics of Religious Freedom and the Minority Question: A Middle Eastern Genealogy” with Saba Mahmood. The right to religious freedom is widely regarded as a crowning achievement of secular-liberal democracy, one that guarantees the peaceful co-existence of religiously diverse populations. Enshrined in national constitutions and international laws and treaties, the right to freedom of conscience is seen as a key mechanism for ensuring that religious minorities are able to practice their traditions freely. Through a focus on the history of the Middle East and Egypt in particular, Professor Mahmood’s talk problematized this account of religious liberty by analyzing the structure of inequality that characterizes the relationship between First and Third World sovereignty within international law, and how the historical development of the practice and concept of religious liberty has been intertwined with the exercise of Western power. Co-sponsored with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.


Monday, September 18, 2010 - Tuesday, September 19, 2010 – Conference: The Future of Faith in the Age of Globalization. In Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The phenomenon of globalization has unleashed unprecedented forces in the spheres of politics, culture, economics, science and technology, and international relations. First and foremost, the evolution of the nation-state and its institutions as the most dominant dynamic in global politics and economics - and with national and international security as its overriding interest or motive - poses a major challenge to faith communities around the world. Second, dynamics such as the homogenization of culture, the operation of market forces and the continuous advent and proliferation of new technologies, particularly in the sphere of communication, have created a new form of consumerism that is global in scope, with its own logic of operation and its own secularised value system. These unprecedented dynamics pose multifaceted challenges to faith communities around the world, and arguably, to the future of faith in a new, globalized world. This conference was organised to address these challenges. Co-Sponsored with the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS UK), the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), in cooperation with HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre Of Islamic Studies, (University of Cambridge), the Centre For the Study Of Democracy (University Of Westminster) and the Center For Advanced Studies In Sarajevo.


Thursday, September 16, 2010 – Book Event: Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order. ACMCU Visiting professor Dr. Shireen Hunter explained that the main thesis of her latest book " Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order" is that Iran's leadership has not adequately realized the dimensions of changes which the collapse of the Soviet Union has caused in the character of the international political system and have thus failed to adjust Iran's foreign policy to the new systemic realities.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010 – Workshop: “Creating a Course or a Syllabus from Scratch: A workshop for graduate students.” Dr. John Voll led a short workshop that suggested ways of preparing a course syllabus for a new course. Often in the process of applying for a faculty position, an applicant is asked to provide a syllabus for a course that the applicant might possibly teach. Similarly, faculty are sometimes asked to teach a section in a course that may be part of a regular curriculum, but which that particular person has not taught before – and the person is expected to develop a new syllabus. One example might be organizing one of the SFS freshmen seminars. While developing a new course is always challenging, this workshop discussed ways that the preparation process could be made more efficient and enjoyable.


Thursday, September 9, 2010 – MSA Iftar: Dr. Jonathan Brown. ACMCU Faculty member Jonathan Brown spoke at an MSA Iftar, co-sponsored by ACMCU and MSA.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010 – Film Screening: Amreeka. CCAS and ACMCU co-sponsored a screening of the film Amreeka.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010 – Briefing: "Islam in China: Past and Present.” Yujie Wang’s presentation provided an introduction to Islam as practiced by Chinese-speaking Muslims. The topics discussed included a general overview of Islam in China, the characteristics of Muslim communities in present day China, and some of the challenges that these communities and Chinese government face.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010 – Panel Discussion: Park 51 Islamic Center near Ground Zero: Issues in Conflict. This panel examined the controversy aroused by the proposed construction of an Islamic community center near ground zero in lower Manhattan. The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding brings together experts to discuss issues of religious freedom, national security, memories and legacies of 9/11 and Islamophobia and their impact on interreligious relations and civil liberties. Panelists included Intisar Rabb, John Esposito, Bishop Chane, and Thomas Farr. The panel was moderated by John Voll.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010 – Book Launch: “Sharing Mary - Bible and Qur’an Side By Side.” Author Marlies ter Borg introduced audiences to her new book, Sharing Mary: Bible and Quran Side by Side. The book provides a unique, non partial collection of similar stories and characters shared by the Bible and the Quran. Verse by verse, Sharing Mary argues the Bible and the Quran's commonalities in stories ranging from Adam's expulsion from Eden, Noah and the great flood, to the angel announcing Jesus' birth. While the anthology has passages relevant to terrorism and prejudice, the focus is on the commonalities between both Divine attributes and human values in both books.


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