2012-2013 Activities

2012-2013 Activities

Thursday, April 25, 2013 – Besa: The Promise film screening. Besa: The Promise is the never-before-told story of the Muslims of Nazi-occupied Albania who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during World War II. It’s witnessed through the prism of two men joined together in a remarkable and unexpected quest: Norman H. Gershman, a renowned Jewish-American photographer determined to record the bravery and compassion of the Albanians; and Rexhep Hoxha, a Muslim-Albanian toy shop owner who sets out to return three precious books to the last surviving member of the Jewish family his father sheltered sixty years before. When these two men meet, an extraordinary and utterly unexpected personal drama is set in motion–one that bridges generations and religions…uniting fathers and sons…Muslims and Jews.

For more information about the film go to:

Audio - Discussion and Q&A

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 – Building Bridges Award Ceremony. The Annual ACMCU Building Bridges of Understanding Award recognizes individuals who have dedicated their life’s work to fostering greater understanding between faith groups. Past recipients include Hans Küng, Sulayman Nyang, Patriarch Michel Sabbah, and the late Fathi Osman. This year, the award will honor three remarkable figures, Norman Gershman, Ali Mazrui, and Thomas Michel, S.J., whose efforts to promote interfaith relations, peace-building and social justice have been extraordinary. Through their tireless work and often in the face of adversity, these three individuals have devoted their lives to furthering the most basic of human rights: justice and equality for all people.

Full recipient bios

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 A Common Word Conference: The Boundaries of Religious Pluralism & Freedom: The Devil is in the Detail. As the official representative of A Common Word in North America, ACMCU is joined by the Georgetown University Office of the President to host this conference on the fifth anniversary of the historic Common Word initiative. The program is a follow-up to A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change, held in October 2009 and Responding to the Challenges of Religious Pluralism & Conflict Resolution, held in April 2011. This year’s conference will explore the challenge of religious pluralism and intercommunal conflicts in Christian-Muslim relations today in post Arab Spring governments in Egypt and Tunisia, and their impact on religious freedom, civil liberties and security, equality of citizenship, and gender relations. 

Panel 1: Are There Limits to Religious Freedom that Religions Agree On?

Few dispute the value and centrality of religious freedom, but religious traditions also often guard areas of faith, practice, or community that they hold beyond the reach of that freedom. If religious traditions agree on the importance of religious freedom, can they agree to limitations on blasphemy, building churches, and missionary work?

Panel 2: Challenges to the Relationship of Law to Religion in Western Democracies and in Post Arab Spring State Building

Religious communities have had different arrangements with the (nation) states in which they exist. In Western secular democracies, the relationship between state and religion and the complexities this poses for religious freedom have emerged more clearly than ever. At the same time, in Egypt and Tunisia, questions of the relationship of religion to the state and its impact on equality of citizenship and religious freedom are at the forefront in state building. What will the Arab Spring mean for religious freedom? Will governments dominated by Islamic parties seek to limit it or embrace it?

Plenary: The Challenge of Religious Pluralism in Christian-Muslim Relations: The Arab Spring

Emerging democracies in Muslim countries such as Egypt and Tunisia struggle with the issue of religious pluralism in guaranteeing equality of citizenship and political representation. What are the key issues and the way forward?

Panel 3: Gender & Religious Freedom in Christian-Muslim Relations

Do gender issues (for example: hijab, shariah, family laws, education) create obstacles for multi-faith understanding/relations, religious freedom, and civil liberties?

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - Book Talk: "Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World" with Sadakat Kadri. In the wake of the colossal acts of terrorism of the last decade, the legal historian and human rights lawyer Sadakat Kadri realized that many people in the West had ideas about the origins and implications of the shari‘a, or Islamic law, that were hazy, contradictory, or simply wrong. Even as “shari‘a” became a loaded word and an all-encompassing explanation, most of us remained ignorant of its true meaning. And we were doing this at our peril. In Heaven on Earth, Kadri brings lucid wit and analytical skill to the thrilling and turbulent story of Islam’s foundation and expansion, and explains how, just in the last 40 years, the shari‘a has been appropriated and transformed by hard-liners desperate to impose their oppressive vision. In the second half of the book, Kadri takes us on an extraordinary journey through more than half a dozen countries in the Islamic world, where he explores, in striking detail, how the shari‘a is taught, read, reinterpreted, reverenced and challenged.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – Luncheon Briefing: “Perspectives on U.S. Support to the Arab Spring Transitions” with Darin Johnson. The Arab Spring revolutions of the past two years present new opportunities for democratic and economic reform in the Middle East. The complexity of the transitions thus far reflects the sizable challenges that must be confronted to ensure that the potential of the Arab Spring is realized. Darin Johnson, the Chief of Staff to the Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, discussed U.S. efforts to support the Arab Spring transitions.

Monday, April 15, 2013Briefing: "Muslim Political Involvement in Bulgarian Post-Communist Politics: Has Parliamentary Representation Really Made a Change?" with Stefanos Katsikas. Islam is the largest religion in Bulgaria and Muslims constitute the largest religious minority of the country. According to the 2011 census, the total number of Muslims in the country stood at 577,139, corresponding to 7.8% of the population. For the most part of Bulgaria’s modern history its Muslims remained at the margins of the country’s political life and were often regarded as second-class citizens. With the collapse of communist totalitarianism in 1989 Muslims for the first time gained political representation in the Bulgarian parliament through the establishment of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), a political party whose major electoral base has been Bulgarian Muslims. The MRF has been a stabilizing factor in the country’s post-communist life and has had a positive role in the country’s transition to political pluralism after 1989. It participated in many coalition governments and has pushed hard for improving Bulgaria’s records of human rights and people’s living standards as well as for securing Bulgaria’s pro-Western foreign policy orientation through accession to the European Union and NATO. This briefing explained the reasons for this change – i.e. what were the reasons leading to the establishment of a “Muslim” political party – and discussed the extent to which this development has contributed to a real improvement of Muslims’ political, economic and social life in Bulgaria and had a positive effect on Muslim-Christian relations.

Monday, April 15, 2013—Briefing: "The League of Arab States and the Arab Uprising" with Ambassador Mohammed AlHussaini Al Sharif of the Arab League. Ambassador Al Sharif discussed the new role of the Arab League during and after the Arab uprisings in different countries. The advent of the Arab uprisings has led to closer relations than ever between the United States and the Arab League, culminating in the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties, and the introduction of new initiatives by the United States.

Wednesday April 10, 2013  – Luncheon Briefing: "Somalia: Building Democracy, Peace and Security" with Steve Walker. Much has happened in Somalia since the official U.S. recognition of the Government of Somalia on January 17, 2013 for the first time in 22 years. On March 3 the Security Council agreed to suspend the arms embargo on the government of Somalia, while providing safeguards to ensure responsible development of the security sector. What are the next steps to support the Government of Somalia as they turn the page on two decades of civil war?

Monday, April 8, 2013 Issues and Personalities in Iran's June 2013 Presidential Elections: What Are the Risks of Another Upheaval? with Shireen Hunter. Iran is again headed for presidential elections after the controversial presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the last four years. The country is going to the polls at a time of great economic hardship because of international sanctions and the still looming threat of a military attack. At this sensitive time in Iran's national life, what are the key questions that the presidential candidates must answer and who are these candidates? Will Iran's political factions be able to address the country's many problems and challenges and come up with realistic solutions, or will they persist in pursuing their narrow objectives at the expense of national interest? What is likely to be Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's position at this sensitive time?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013Briefing: "Virtuosos and Charisma: Celebrity Evangelists in American Christianity and Islam" with James Wellman and Jonathan Brown. Co-sponsored with the Department of Theology. The question of charisma in religious figures has become critical in our age because of the rise of modern media that produces overnight celebrities. Many are moved by them and convinced of their sincerity. Others dismiss them as profiteers. Do they matter, and if so, how do they matter? Professor Jonathan Brown and Professor James Wellman, experts in Islam and Christianity respectively, spoke about their recent research on celebrity religious figures, defined charisma, both its positive and negative effects, and examined this phenomenon in its historical and present day condition.

March 25 - 26, 2013 – Conference: “Tadabbur al-Qur’an - Contemplating the Qur’an,” organized and hosted by Howard University School of Divinity. The conference highlighted several areas of contemporary Qur'anic scholarship, including the study of different hermeneutical approaches to the Qur'an; intertextual and thematic readings of the Qur'anic text; and textual analyses that explored the relationship between structure and meaning in the Qur'an. One of the key aims of the conference was to foster discussion between academics, community leaders, and students regarding the Qur’an and its various interpretations. The conference focused on the following topics: The Qur’an in dialogue with Jews and Christians, The Qur’an between faith and critical thinking, Qur’anic ethics, Gender in the Qur’an, Intertextual readings of the Qur’an, Thematic and stylistic analysis.

March 21, 2013 Film Screening: 5 Broken Cameras. The first-ever Palestinian film to be nominated for best Documentary Feature by A.M.P.A.S®, the critically-acclaimed 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements. Shot by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, Gibreel, the film was co-directed by Burnat and Guy Davidi, an Israeli filmmaker. Structured in chapters around the destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village upheaval. As the years pass in front of the camera, we witness Gibreel grow from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him with the astute powers of perception that only children possess. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify and lives are lost in this cinematic diary and unparalleled record of life in the West Bank.

March 21, 2013Lecture: “Among Many Cultures and Times” with renowned Indian artist Gulammohammed Sheikh. Co-sponsored with Medieval Studies Program event, Department of History, Department of Art & Art History, the Comparative Literature Program. Painter, poet, professor, critic, idealist, and recipient of the Indian Government’s prestigious Padmashri award, by whose creativity the medieval—from Europe to Japan—meets the modern in all of its splendor and pain, Gulammohammed Sheikh (b. 1937) will be illustrating and reflecting on his life’s work and bringing his unique visual voice of reason and tolerance. Sheikh has been a major figure in the world of Indian art for more than five decades.

March 20, 2013Book Talk: “Iberian Interculturalism: Can it Survive Economic Trauma and New Extremisms?” with Marvine Howe. Cosponsored with BMW Center for German and European Studies. Iberia is a place of historic and symbolic significance to all three of the world's major religions. Myths concerning Islam's origins collide with the story of the Christian reconquista, the subsequent Spanish Inquisition, and the massive expulsion of Muslims and Jews some five hundred years ago. Yet Muslims have made a significant comeback in this region, which now hosts one of Europe's newest Muslim communities. This volume recounts the "retaking" of Al-Andalus by Iberia's new Muslims, which include groups as diverse as students, farm workers, female professionals, and clerics, and their successful integration into a strongly Roman Catholic culture. Marvine Howe shares not only the experiences of Iberia's Muslims but also the reactions of Spanish and Portuguese officials, academics, NGOs, and ordinary citizens, who have found ways to incorporate Muslims and other immigrants into Iberian society despite domestic and European pressure to do otherwise. She also revisits the events of March 11, 2004, when Muslim extremists launched a devastating attack on Madrid's transportation system, and investigates these events in relation to Al-Qaeda's stated intent to reclaim Al-Andalus for Islam. Howe pursues several basic threads, such as whether Iberia's humane immigration policies can be exported to other European contexts and whether the Andalusian spirit of tolerance and diversity will prevail over a troubled economy and heightened radicalism -- in both the Islamic world and the West.

March 18, 2013Film Screening: “Out of Cordoba: Averroes and Maimonides in Their Time and Ours”. Cosponsored with Medieval Studies Program. Out of Cordoba is a documentary film, directed by Jacob Bender and produced by Mr. Bender and MLK Producciones of Malaga, Spain, that explores some of the most vexing questions of our time: Is there a “clash of civilizations” between the West and the Islamic world? Are Jews and Muslims eternal enemies, incapable of peaceful coexistence? Does religious faith lead inevitably to xenophobia and violence? Out of Cordoba confronts these issues through an exploration of the lives and writings of the two most important thinkers to emerge from medieval Muslim Spain: Averroes the Muslim, and his Jewish counterpart, Rabbi Moses Maimonides. The 82-minute film explores the legacy of these two philosophers, as well as their contemporary importance for interfaith relations, and especially for Muslims, Jews, and Christians struggling against religious extremism.

March 13, 2013 Briefing: “Turkey and the Arab Spring: Challenges and Opportunities” with Omer Taspinar. The Arab Spring presents a mixed blessing for the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) regional vision, which is sometimes referred to as a neo-Ottoman view of the world. Most Turks feel a sense of pride that their country is being referred to as a model for democratizing Arab states. Yet, the dizzying pace of events is rapidly changing the balance of power in the Middle East and causing problems for Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's "zero-problems with neighbors" policy, particularly as far as relations with Syria are concerned. In addition to problems with Syria, in the long run, the re-emergence of Egypt as a regional leader could also potentially complicate Turkey's regional assessments.

Monday, March 11, 2013 Film Screening: “Saving Face”. Every year in Pakistan, many people – the majority of them women – are known to be victimized by brutal acid attacks, while numerous other cases go unreported. With little or no access to reconstructive surgery, survivors are physically and emotionally scarred. Many reported assailants, often a husband or someone else known by the victim, receive minimal if any punishment from the state. Recently honored with a Best Documentary Short Oscar, Saving Face chronicles the lives of acid-attack survivors Zakia and Rukhsana as they attempt to bring their assailants to justice and move on with their lives. The women are supported by NGOs, sympathetic policymakers, and skilled doctors, such as the Acid Survivors Foundation- Pakistan, plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who returns to his home country to assist them, attorney Ms. Sarkar Abbass who fights Zakia’s case, and female politician Marvi Memon who advocates for new legislation. ACMCU Visiting Professor Dr. Shireen Hunter led a discussion following the film.

February 25, 2013 Briefing: "Talking to the Enemy: The role and purpose of diplomacy and negotiation between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade" with Dr. Tom Asbridge. This paper presentation considered the role and purpose of the diplomatic interactions between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade. It argues that, between 1191 and 1192, both leaders variously employed diplomatic contact to garner military and political intelligence, to gain insight into the temperament and mindset of their adversary, and to purposefully wrong-foot the enemy. It suggests that in the course of this crusade Richard I demonstrated a far greater capacity for subtlety and manipulation than has previously been recognized, exhibiting diplomatic skills that equaled, and perhaps even eclipsed, those of his rival Saladin. The use of negotiation to achieve actual conflict resolution is considered and it is argued that neither protagonist pursued peace for its own sake. These findings are contextualized within the wider framework of Latin-Muslim negotiations during the crusading era, and the broader relationship between Islam and the West during the Middle Ages.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 Film Screening: “Fordson: Faith, Family, Football”. Synopsis: this film follows a predominantly Arab-American high school football team from a working-class Detroit suburb as they practice for their big cross-town rivalry game during Ramadan, revealing a community holding onto its Islamic faith and the American Dream while struggling to gain acceptance in post 9/11 America.

For more information on the film, please visit fordsonthemovie.com 

Monday, February 11, 2013Briefing: “Violent Extremism in West Africa” with Michael Pelletier. Pelletier discussed violent extremism in Nigeria and West Africa more broadly as a phenomenon that is far more complex and complicated than being simply a religious issue. In countries such as Nigeria and Mali, the violence is linked to many issues. While some attempt to use religious terms to gain legitimacy and push their grievances, Pelletier made the case that we should not give these violent extremists the undisputed right to set the narrative.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 Panel Event: “Being a Scholar—Being an Advocate”. Co-sponsored with the Berkley Center and the American Academy of Religion. This conversation explored the tension in the religious studies discipline between being a scholar and being an advocate. Does advocacy for a position, particularly around issues of social justice, have a place in the field? Does such advocacy diminish the objectivity of scholarly methods? Do scholarly associations, such as the American Academy of Religion, have a role to play in social justice movements?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 Panel Discussion: "Hizmet: A Transnational Social Movement with Participants in Turkey, the US, and around the World” with Dr. Alp Aslandogan and Father Thomas Michel, S.J. Co-sponsored with the Rumi Forum. This presentation reviewed a social movement, known as Hizmet, originated by observant Muslims around the ideas of Turkish scholar, preacher and social advocate Fethullah Gulen. The movement combines personal spiritual development with social responsibility. Primary areas of activity include education, dialogue, media, healthcare, and disaster relief. Recently the movement and its source of inspiration, Mr. Fethullah Gulen, attracted attention due to political developments in Turkey and the controversy around public schools in the U.S. In Turkey, the struggle for democratization brought the movement to the limelight as many adherents of the historically authoritarian military-judicial tutelage system were brought to civilian courts by alleged Gulen sympathizers. Questions about the future of Turkish democracy, Kurdish citizens, freedom of the press, the authoritarian tendencies in the political system and the movement’s role in this context were discussed by Turkish and international media. In the U.S. the nature of Gulen’s influence on Turkish-American teachers who work at highly successful public schools were brought to the national attention. This presentation examined the history, activities, organizational nature and motivational factors within the movement and responded to some of the questions and allegations regarding what appeared in the mass media.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 Briefing: “Jama’at al Tabligh: an example of Islamic cooperation between Central Asia and South Asia” with Bayram Balci. The renewal of Central Asian Islam is generally traced to influences emanating from Middle Eastern countries, as well as to indigenous factors. This lecture focused on equally important influences from the Indian subcontinent, notably the Jama’at al Tabligh. The history, current prospects, and geopolitical significance of this development was considered for Central Asia, focusing on Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, where the organization is the most active and visible.

Monday, January 28, 2013Briefing: “Pakistan: A soft coup?” with C. Christine Fair. This talk discussed the army's endgame as Pakistan approaches an important inflection point on its path to greater democratization. While Fair focused on near term developments such as the appearance of Imam Qadri, she contextualized his recent arrival on Pakistan's political scene within the larger landscape of Pakistan's judicial activism, the army's ongoing interest in retaining control of domestic politics and international affairs, and the refusal of political parties to confront internal democratic reforms.

Thursday, November 29, 2012 Briefing: “Democracy and Islam: The South African Experience” with Abdulkader Tayob. In spite of constituting only 1.46% of the population, Muslim political views are diverse and reflect the diversity of trends in South Africa. On the one hand, ardent democrats support the Constitution without question; on the other hand, certain individuals and groups regard the Constitution as a rival authority to Islamic Law. Michel Foucault’s concepts of utopia and heterotopia are helpful in revealing this complex relationship between South Africa’s constitution and public expressions of Islam. They capture the complexity of Muslim experiences – sometimes reflecting the goals of the constitution (utopia) but also inverting, subverting and often going beyond them (heterotopia). The presentation closely examined some examples to illustrate the diversity and fragility of South Africa’s democracy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 – “The Challenges Facing Post-Revolutionary Egypt” with Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh. Dr. Abdel-Moneim Abol Fotouh was one of the leading candidates in the Egyptian presidential elections held last May. He has an M.D. degree and is a physician by training. He also has a degree in law and a Masters degree in Business Management. He has been the president of the Arab Medical Association since 2004. Dr. Abol Fotouh was also a well known student and civic leader since the 1970s. He was a vocal voice against dictatorship and corruption during the Mubarak regime and consequently was imprisoned for several years because of his political opposition. Dr. Abol Fotouh was also a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and served in a leadership position within the group for over two decades. He resigned from the group in April 2011 after announcing his candidacy for president shortly after the fall of the Mubarak regime. Dr. Abol Foutoh is considered a liberal Islamic leader and is well known for his moderate positions on the most contentious issues facing Egyptian society such as the role of Islam as well women and minorities in Egyptian society. He is considered by many as a bridge between Islamic, liberal, and leftist parties in Egypt. Dr. Abol Fotouh has just announced the establishment of a new party, Strong Egypt, which has attracted the tens of thousands of Egyptian youth who joined his presidential campaign. This new party considers itself economically progressive and socially moderate, and intends to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections early next year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 Book Event: The Islamophobia Industry with Nathan Lean. Cosponsored with CCAS. Nathan Lean is a second-year Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) student at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) and editor-in-chief of AslanMedia.com. He has dedicated himself to researching the network of writers and activists who have played upon Western anxieties about Islam particularly since the events of September 11, 2001. At Georgetown, his research has focused largely on North African political and cultural systems, Islam, Islamophobia, cultural diplomacy, and American foreign policy in the Middle East. In addition to The Islamophobia Industry, Lean has also co-authored (with Jalil Roshandel) Iran, Israel, and the United States: Regime Security vs. Political Legitimacy (Praeger, 2010).

Monday, November 19, 2012Luncheon Briefing: "What Islam, Whose Islam: Creating a Public International Voice of Muslim Women Demanding Equality and Justice in Islam" with Zainah Anwar. Zainah Anwar spoke on the necessity and possibility of reform in the way Islam is understood and used as a source of law and public policy in Muslim contexts. From Sisters in Islam in Malaysia and its ground-breaking work at the national level to Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice, Muslim women activists today are at the forefront in challenging the use of Islam to justify continued discrimination against women and violations of fundamental liberties. They are producing new feminist knowledge, combining Islamic principles, human rights, constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination, and women's lived realities to break the constructed binary between Islam and human rights, and the disconnect between law and reality. They are publicly challenging traditional religious authorities with alternative understandings of Islam in ways that take into consideration changing times and context. Anwar shared the experience of Sisters in Islam and the global movement it initiated, their work and challenges, and the resulting public contestations and hope for change.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Book Talk: The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East with Marc Lynch. Author Marc Lynch discussed his latest book, The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East. Lynch is associate professor of political science at the George Washington University, where he directs the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Project on Middle East Political Science. He edits the Middle East Channel for ForeignPolicy.com, and is a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Monday, November 12, 2012 Luncheon Briefing: Jews and Judaism in Islamic Civilization with David J. Wasserstein. In the early seventh century Judaism was in crisis. In the Mediterranean basin it was battered by legal, social, and religious pressure, weak in numbers and culturally almost non-existent. It was also largely cut off from the Jewry of the Persian empire, in Babylon, present-day Iraq. The future seemed clear: extinction in the west, decline to obscurity in the east. Salvation came from Arabia. Islam conquered the entire Persian empire and most of the Mediterranean world. Uniting virtually all the world’s Jews in a single state, it gave them legal and religious respectability, economic and social freedoms, and linguistic and cultural conditions that made possible a major renaissance of Judaism and the Jews. The significance of Islam for Jewry has been interpreted very variously since the middle ages and is a source of controversy to this day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012Book Event: Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalization with Christophe Jaffrelot. Numbering more than 150 million, Muslims constitute the largest minority in India, yet they suffer the most politically and socioeconomically. Forced to contend with severe and persistent prejudice, India’s Muslims are often targets of violence and collective acts of murder. While the quality of Muslim life may lag behind that of Hindus nationally, local and inclusive cultures have been resilient in the south and the east. Within India’s cities, however, the challenges Muslims face can be harder to read. In the Hindi belt and in the north, Muslims have known less peace, especially in the riot-prone areas of Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Aligarh, and in the capitals of former Muslim states—Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhopal, and Lucknow. These cities are rife with Muslim ghettos and slums. However, self-segregation has also played a part in forming Muslim enclaves, such as in Delhi and Aligarh, where traditional elites and a new Muslim middle class have regrouped for physical and cultural protection. Combining firsthand testimony with sound critical analysis, this volume follows urban Muslim life in eleven Indian cities, providing uncommon insight into a little-known but highly consequential subject.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Briefing: Biblical/Islamic Art with Marlies ter Borg. In presenting the color booklet Bible Figures in Islamic Art, the author focused on four women figuring both in Bible and Qur'an: Eve/Hawwa; Asiya, foster mother of Moses; Bilqis, Queen of Sheba; and Mary/Maryam mother of Jesus. How are they portrayed in these 16-17th century Islamic images? Does Islam allow their portrayal?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 Luncheon Briefing: “Casa Árabe and The Future of Islam in Spain” with López Busquets. Established in 2006, Casa Árabe is a young public Spanish institution that has played a crucial role in the generation of a wider dialogue and greater knowledge of the Arab and Muslim world in Spain. The institute’s activities address multiculturalism as an issue that goes beyond migration, conceiving it instead as a process of integration, dialogue, and communication between different individuals and groups on equal footing. Casa Árabe's Director General, Eduardo López Busquets, discussed the institute's approach to Arab and/or Muslim communities and the ways by which it encourages understanding of the "other" within the pluralistic and multicultural context of contemporary Spain. This presentation was co-sponsored by ACMCU, Casa Arabe, SPAIN arts & culture, and the British Council's Our Shared Future initiative.

Monday, September 24, 2012 Panel Discussion: "The Prophet Muhammad and Geo-Politics: Deja Vu All Over Again?" Protests, tragedy, and diplomatic tensions following insults to the Prophet Muhammad have once again raised the questions of religious toleration, freedom of speech, extremism, and power politics. This panel offered perspectives on how and why so many Muslims have reacted to the film insulting Muhammad, who made it and why, and how these factors affect US relations with Muslim majority countries.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 Briefing: Diversity is a Mercy from God: Rumi's Teachings and the Quran with Dr. Tarik Quadir - cosponsored with the Rumi Forum. Dr. Quadir spoke on the topic of diversity as a mercy from God as it relates to Rumi’s teachings and the Quran. Following a discussion on the rationale of Divine Mercy and the existence of diverse entities in the universe, Quadir discussed how this can help us understand the existence of religious diversity as well.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 Briefing: “Defining Shariah: Between the Arab Spring and America” with Jasser Auda.  There is currently great interest and controversy over 'shariah' in the post-revolution Arab World, as well as in the United States. This presentation attempted to answer the question: What is Shariah? And how is it perceived by various parties involved in the debates, such as Islamist groups, Islamophobes, and traditional Islamic institutes? It is argued here that Shariah defined as Islamic ethics, which influence public affairs on the principles level, is the view that is finding its way to both the American Muslim community and new Arab constitutions.