This was my first year as Director, and I am happy to report that the Center had a full year of successful and groundbreaking events, significantly growing our local and national profile in Islamic Studies. Most of our events were virtual due to COVID-19 health exigencies, but we reached a much wider national and international audience as a result. Our annual Fall #Halaloween Muslim horror film festival was covered by National Public Radio, Religion News, American Muslim Today, and The Washington Post!
In March we were proud to present our first Black Islam Series, with three events: a screening of the New York Times film pick Two Gods; a discussion with its directors Zeshawn and Aman Ali; and a scholarly panel on “Black Muslim Revolutions: From the Masjid to the World” with Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer and Dr. Rasul Miller. At the same time, we launched a new graduate fellowship in Black Islam Studies. This year’s awardee was Stamps MFA student and filmmaker Razi Jafri, for his film project on Black Muslim Eid and Ramadan culture in Detroit.
This semester we also capped off our timely Afghanistan series with the documentary film Sonita and a conversation with its star, and hosted our “Muslim Women in the Digital Age” virtual media event with women podcasters, artists, and musicians. Our academic year ended with the launch of the book Mantles of Mercy: Islamic Chaplaincy in North America (Templeton Press 2022), the first-ever essay collection on Muslim chaplaincy in the U.S. and Canada, featuring a discussion with editors and contributors to the volume.
Next year, we are looking forward to events including a renewal of our #Halaloween film festival in Fall, a brand-new African Muslim film festival in Winter, and collaborations and talks on Eastern European Islam and Quranic interpretation and culture. We will also continue to fund our graduate and undergraduate students’ exciting research.
We thank all of our University and external event co-sponsors and donors for their contributions this year. As we continue our mission of community engagement and furthering scholarly knowledge of Global Islam and Muslim cultures worldwide, we invite you to support our Islamic Studies programming and fellowships.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me and the Center for information on co-sponsoring or financially supporting any of our upcoming events and initiatives.
With best wishes to you for a healthy and restful summer,
Director, Global Islamic Studies Center