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Guest speaker's topic: Peaceful co-existence among faiths

September 14, 2012

Guest speaker's topic: Peaceful co-existence among faiths


Imam Rauf

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a highly respected advocate of inter-religious dialogue, will discuss "Advancing Peaceful Coexistence between Christians, Jews and Muslims" when he speaks Saturday, Sept. 22, at Skidmore. Free and open to the public, the talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Filene Recital Hall. 

Serving as respondents to Rauf's talk will be Gregory Spinner, visiting assistant professor of religion, who teaches courses at Skidmore on Judaism and Islam, and Associate Professor Crystal Moore, director of the Social Work Program. A question and answer period will follow.

Rauf is founder and CEO of the Cordoba Initiative, as well as a member of the Interfaith Center of New York, the World Economic Forum, and the board of trustees of the Islamic Center of New York.

Rauf is the author of several books on Islam, most recently, Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America, published by Free Press this past May. His interpretation of the Qur'an and his articulation of Islam as a peaceful religion have challenged the preconceptions held by many non-Muslims, as well as popularly held beliefs in Islam itself. He states in his new book that it is his mission "to reclaim religious and political discourse from the extremists of all faiths who dominate so many of the headlines."

On the practical front, Rauf has dedicated the Cordoba Initiative to the promulgation of innovative solutions to conflicts in the Middle East, in which he sees a large role for the religious communities. Principally, he challenges American Muslims to become leaders in a worldwide Islamic movement to reclaim the Qur'an in support of modern, moderate, just, open, and egalitarian societies. He has also challenged Christianity and Judaism to take peacemaking roles as well by delivering justice, not religion. The interfaith nature of his concerns underlies his vision to create Cordoba House, a center along the lines of the 92 nd Street Y or the Jewish Community Center in New York City.

Rauf has received numerous awards, including being named one of the 100 most influential people of the world by Timemagazine, receiving Arianna Huffington's "2010 Game Changer" Award, and being listed among the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010 by Foreign Policy magazine.

The event is a collaboration of Skidmore's Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Saratoga Peace Week Committee. 


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