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Center for Interfaith Cooperation, School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI offer 'beyond-the-headlines' look at Islamic law

Donald Knebel, Center for Interfaith Cooperation
Donald Knebel, Center for Interfaith Cooperation View print-quality image


May 10, 2012

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Prominent local scholars, lawyers and religious practitioners will debate and discuss the role of sharia -- Islamic law and ethics -- in American life at a symposium next month organized by the newly established Center for Interfaith Cooperation and the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Sharia Beyond the Headlines” offers an in-depth examination of sharia in the U.S. courts and its meaning in the lives of Muslim Hoosiers. The symposium takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 14, at the Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd St. in Indianapolis.

The symposium begins with a lunch-time presentation by Edward Curtis, Millennium Chair in the School of Liberal Arts, about the origins and meaning of sharia in Islamic history. Lunch is free, but pre-registration is required through the events page of the Center for Interfaith Cooperation’s website: .

As part of the symposium, Donald Knebel, founding chair of the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and a partner at Barnes and Thornburg, will moderate a panel on "Sharia and U.S. Law" featuring Marion County Superior Court Judge David Shaheed, attorney and human rights activist Rafia Zakaria, and former Indiana Civil Liberties Union director and IUPUI professor Sheila Kennedy.

Lamese Hasan, a former official at the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, will hold a roundtable discussion on the meaning of sharia in Muslim women’s lives. Roundtable participants are local activist Fatima Warsame, IU School of Social Work professor Khadija Khaja, and Amira Mashhour, lecturer and director of the Arabic program at IUPUI.

Funding for the symposium is provided by the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan, and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The Council of American Overseas Research Centers is a not-for-profit consortium of 22 independent overseas research centers that promote advanced research in the humanities and social sciences. CAORC member centers foster international scholarly exchange through the sponsorship of fellowship programs, foreign language study and collaborative research projects. CAORC was awarded a three-year grant from the Islam Initiative at Carnegie Corporation of New York to help increase public knowledge about the diversity of thought, cultures and history of Islam and Muslim communities and to develop a more complex understanding among Americans about Muslim communities throughout the world.