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Community News (V9-I40)

September 27, 2007 by  


Zarqa Nawaz to speak in St.Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO–Canadian film maker Zarqa Nawaz will give the annual Olin Fellows lecture at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 in Graham Chapel at Washington University in St.Louis. The talk, “Crossing Cultures” is free and open to the public. A panel discussion featuring Nawaz as well as other panelists will continue the discussion from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Women’s Building Lounge.

Through her films, screenplays, documentaries, and the current Canadian hit television show “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” Nawaz uses wit to counteract negative stereotypes about Muslims. “Little Mosque” is a comedy that follows the lives of Muslims in rural Canada and is designed, according to Nawaz, to present ordinary Muslims in a new light and to give her children a show depicting people who resemble them. The series debut in January 2007 drew the highest number of Canadian viewers for any CBC show.

Through her production company, Fundamentalist Films, Nawaz has created a trilogy of films with a deep satiric bent and a strong message. In “BBQ Muslims,” “Death Threat” and her first feature, “Real Terrorists Don’t Belly Dance,” she puts her naïve protagonists into situations that get them into trouble because of societal stereotypes that view all Muslims as terrorists.

Nawaz received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ryerson University in 1992. Before becoming a filmmaker, she worked at CBC Radio, CBC Television, and CTV. Her radio documentary, “The Changing Rituals of Death” won several Ontario Telefest awards. She is currently developing a new drama series for CBC called “Pray for Me.”

For more information on this and other Assembly Series programs, visit the Web site at http://assemblyseries.wustl.edu or call 314-935-4620.

Ontario government appoints Aisha Chaudry and Dr.Shaheen A.Darani to Women’s Agency

The Ontario government has appointed Barrister Aisha Chaudry and Dr. Shaheen Darani to Echo, Ontario’s new women’s health agency. The agency will raise awareness and work toward solutions on women’s health issues, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman.

“As an agency promoting women’s health like no other, Echo will benefit mothers and daughters all across Ontario,” Smitherman said.

Aisha Chaudry is a counsel with Kutty, Syed and Mohammed Barristers and Solicitors. She obtained her LL.B. Honours from Staffordshire University and went on to complete her LL.M. in Commercial Law.

At London Guildhall University, Aisha completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She was called to the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2005.

Dr. Shaheen A. Darani is Staff Psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Auburn students fast for a cause

Many Auburn University students will be going to bed hungry this Wednesday for a good cause.

They are participating in the annual Fast-A-Thon to raise money for the East Alabama Food Bank.

Last year around 150 students fasted raising more than one thousand dollars.

The fast is sponsored by the Auburn Muslim Student Association which is currently fasting for the holy month of Ramadan.

For each Non-Muslim student who pledges to fast, local businesses will donate $5 to the East Alabama Food Bank.

Investigators Closer to Solving Antioch Mosque Arson Case

ANTIOCH, CA — Police in Antioch say they are focusing on some “persons of interest” to solve last month’s arson at a local mosque, which is being investigated as a hate crime.

While local Muslims are using a temporary mosque to pray, investigators told reporters that they are zoning in on who they believe started the fire at the Islamic Center of the East Bay.

“A reasonable person would assume it’s related to their religion and world politics going on,” said Antioch Police Chief Jim Hyde. “The important thing is all the law enforcement partners have dealt with this as though it’s a hate crime from the beginning, which allows us to focus on other areas of investigation. Instead of being a one-dimensional investigation it’s multi-dimensional. I think that’s really important from the standpoint of the victims and also for our community.”

Hyde has experience with hate crimes. He was working in Sacramento when white supremacists burned down synagogues there.

Islam and Politics symposium at Middlebury

By James Piscatori

MIDDLEBURY, VT

The 2007 Nicholas R. Clifford Symposium, titled “Islam and Politics in a Globalizing World,” will take place at Middlebury College on Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 4-6. The symposium will feature prominent scholars of Islam and politics and events include a lecture, panel discussions, a dance performance and a film. Speakers will address several key issues and discuss the implications for the future of political Islam in an increasingly interconnected world. All events are free and open to the public.

Oxford University Professor and Islamic studies scholar James Piscatori will deliver the symposium’s keynote lecture titled “Iraq and the Future of Political Islam” on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. Piscatori, a senior scholar at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and a professor at Oxford’s Wadham College, will discuss the role of Islam in the current Iraqi conflict and throughout the Islamic world. Piscatori is a leading scholar in the debate on Islam and Islamic politics and has edited and authored numerous books and journals that have helped shape the emerging discourse on contemporary Islamic politics and the relationship between Muslim communities and the West.

The Middlebury College Islamic Society members will initiate the panel discussions on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 4:30 p.m., with a roundtable on the religious experience of Muslims, titled “What it Means to be a Muslim.” They will be joined by Mahmoud Hayat, former president of the Islamic Society of Vermont.

On Friday afternoon, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m., Yale University Assistant Professor of Political Science Andrew March and Cornell University Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Politics David Patel will join Piscatori on a panel addressing the question “Why Does Islam Become Politicized?”

March is a scholar of Islamic ethics and his dissertation, “Islamic Doctrines of Citizenship in Liberal Democracies,” won the 2006 Aaron Wildavsky Award for Best Dissertation in Religion and Politics from the American Political Science Association. His dissertation will be published in book form by Oxford University Press in 2008.

Patel’s research combines game theory and ethnography to examine the tendency of Islamic institutions and symbols to motivate political coordination and enhance social solidarity. In 2003, he conducted field studies in Iraq to better understand how mosques and clerical organizations affect the supply of local provisions and the coordination of national politics.

The final panel on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 10:30 a.m. will discuss “Islam, Human Rights and Democracy.” Participants include Amr Hamzawy, senior associate of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Princeton University Instructor in Near Eastern Studies Mirjam Künkler; and Naz Modirzadeh, a senior associate at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Künkler is an expert on Islamic politics in Indonesia and Iran. She is a former deputy director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion at Columbia University.

Modirzadeh previously worked for Human Rights Watch and served as director of the International Human Rights Law Program at the American University in Cairo. She focuses primarily on the intersections between Islamic law and human rights.

For more information, contact Assistant Director of the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs Charlotte Tate at tate@middlebury.edu or (802) 443-5975.

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