Community News (V11-I17)

Brooklyn Museum focuses on Sufism

BROOKLYN, NY– Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam features twenty-four objects from the Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and private collections that are related to a mystical form of Islam known as Sufism. This special installation will be on view in the Brooklyn Museum’s Islamic galleries from June 5 through September 6, 2009.

Highlights include a gilded and enameled glass lamp inscribed with the famous “Light Verse” (Ayat al-Nur) from the Qur’an, a gilded and jewel-encrusted silver beggar’s bowl meant for collecting alms, and two inlaid brass candlestick bases from the eastern Islamic world made in the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, respectively. Two contemporary artworks will be featured in this installation: one is a modern interpretation of the mystical verses of the renowned poet Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273), translated by Zahra Partovi and inscribed in a glass book by Brooklyn artist Kelly Driscoll, and the other is a composition of charcoal prayer-stone rubbings by Iranian-American artist Pouran Jinchi. The exhibition will also present several portraits of Sufi dervishes, some identified through inscriptions and others through costumes representing a particular Sufi order. A vintage photograph depicts a dervish family from the early twentieth century in modest attire, while an album page shows a mystic resembling a Chinese luohan in meditation accompanied by his flute and alms bowl. Some works, such as large Qajar painting and illustrated manuscript pages, illustrate narratives recounted in well-known Sufi literature. Poetry also appears on a beautiful medieval Iranian ceramic dish painted in light-reflecting luster, including verses by Rumi’s master, Shams al-Tabrizi (d. 1248), whom Rumi compared to a sun shining the light of God upon him.

Carnegie Scholars Announced

Carnegie Corporation of New York President Vartan Gregorian this week named 24 new Carnegie Scholars. The new Scholars were selected for their compelling ideas and commitment to enriching the quality of the public dialogue on Islam. Today’s New York Times features an advertisement on the paper’s op-ed page recognizing the new Carnegie Scholars.

Carnegie Corporation provides funding, with two-year grants of up to $100,000, to support well-established and promising young thinkers, analysts and writers. The 2009 awardees are the fifth class to focus on Islam, bringing to 117 the number of Carnegie Scholars devoted to the topic.

Commenting on the 2009 Carnegie Scholars and the program’s focus on Islam, Gregorian said, “We are cultivating a diverse scholarly community spanning a range of disciplines with the expectation that their voices will help Americans develop a more complex understanding of Muslim societies here and throughout the world–revealing Islam’s rich diversity.

Only through vibrant dialogue, guided by bold and nuanced scholarship, can we move public thinking into new territory.”

The 2009 Carnegie Scholars are drawn from a number of disciplines and represent public (6) and private institutions (17) ranging from liberal arts colleges to traditional research universities, and one independent scholar.

The scholars include Dr. Abdullahi Al Naim, Dr. Nathan Jude Brown, Mona Al Ghobashy, Hussein Anwar Fancy, Asim Khwaja, Ussama Makdisi, Tarek Masoud, Asifa Qureishi, Intisar A Rabb, Kishwar Rizwi,Abdulkader Sinno,Malika Zeghal among others.

Duke opens center for Muslim community

DURHAM, NC– The Muslim community at Duke University finally had their prayers granted with the opening of the Muslim Life Center last week.

The center is located on Swift Avenue, which is just off Highway 147. Officials say they want to use the Muslim Life at Duke facility to welcome everyone who considers themselves Muslim as well as those who are curious about the faith.

Duke’s Muslim chaplain says students will be able to participate in book clubs, weekly gatherings and cultural events.


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