Notre Dame College Provides Information Sessions on Monotheistic Tradition of Islam

Notre Dame College is offering a free series of information sessions on Islam just weeks after the Vatican announced plans for a joint permanent committee of interreligious dialogue with the Muslim World League.

The College’s Abrahamic Center is presenting "Introduction to Islam" in three Thursday meetings in The Great Room of the Administration Building on the College campus. The next two sessions are from 4:30-6:30 p.m. November 2 and November 9. The series is free and open to the public, and attendees do not need to be present for all three meetings. The College's Abrahamic Center recognizes Abraham’s status as patriarch of the three monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Session Two, on November 2, will cover “The Major Concepts of Islam” and Session Three, on November 9, will discuss “Specific Aspects and Questions” of Islam including Sharia Law, Sufism and the importance of Sunnah of prophet Mohammad. The third meeting also will address women and violence as related to Islam.The first in the hree-part series, titled “Understanding the Context,” was on October 26 and focused on Prophet Abraham as patriarch of Muslims; pre-Islamic social, political and religious conditions and practices in Arabia; and the early Islamic era and revelations, persecutions of Muslims and migration to Medina.

Major concepts of Islam to be discussed in the second session range from the concept of God and names and characteristics of Allah to the concept of prophethood, with mention of Abraham, Moses, and the Quran chapter on Mary and prophet Jesus to divine books and belief in angles, life after death and day of judgment. This meeting also will feature Tauheed, belief in one God; Salat, prayers; fasting; zakat, almsgiving; and hajj, pilgrimage.

Pope Francis received H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, Secretary General of the World Muslim League in late September in Rome. Following informal meetings in the offices of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Vatican announced the parties have agreed to establish a “joint permanent committee in the near future.”

“Situations exist where freedom of conscience and of religion are not entirely respected and protected, so there is an urgent need to remedy this, renewing ‘religious discourse’ and reviewing school books,” the announcement stated.

Notre Dame’s Abrahamic Center develops educational programs for the College and the Greater Cleveland community fostering mutual respect among all peoples and celebrating religious, racial and cultural diversity. The center honors not only Abraham’s status as patriarch of the three monotheistic traditions but also as paragon of hospitality, welcoming the “other," and prophet of social justice and peace.

The initiative is a direct outgrowth of the work of Notre Dame’s Tolerance Resource Center, which has provided opportunities for research, outreach and education on the Holocaust, anti-bias issues and diversity for nearly 15 years.

The College also presents its annual Abrahamic Center Distinguished Lecture. In 2017, John Prendergast, founding director of The Enough Project, an international movement to end mass atrocities, political corruption and commercial criminality in African nations, will present lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 16, in Regina Auditorium on the College campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Former director for African affairs of the White House National Security Council, Prendergast also serves as executive director of Not On Our Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization founded by Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, George Clooney and Don Cheadle. The group targets mass media as well as global policymakers to bring attention to international crises and aid people who are marginalized and displaced around the world, particularly in Africa.

Updated 30 October 2017
First published 24 October 2017

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