ING Presentations at Bay Area Universities

Medieval Islamic mosaics indicate advanced math, by John Noble Wilford

“In the beauty and geometric complexity of tile mosaics on walls of medieval Islamic buildings, scientists have recognized patterns suggesting that the designers had made a conceptual breakthrough in mathematics beginning as early as the 13th century. A new study shows that the Islamic pattern-making process. . . appears to have involved an advanced math of quasi crystals, which was not understood by modern scientists until three decades ago.” For the full story go to: ING’s presentation, “Islamic Contributions to Civilization” highlights similar discoveries and inventions that are little know in the West. Teachers and college professors could request a presentation in the classroom by writing to Rani Shah at [email protected] or filling out a speakers request form on line at:

ING in the News:

Lessons of War: Opinions and emotions must be kept in perspective as new history unfolds, by Krista Ramsey, Enquirer Staff Writer

Curriculum with a Conscience: “In March, area teachers will have the opportunity to learn more about Islam and Muslim cultures when the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati holds an educational workshop. The Iraq War isn’t the topic, but organizers say understanding the region’s religious history and cultural differences is the best foundation for studying the current conflict. Maha Elgenaidi, president of California-based Islamic Networks Group, which will do the local training, said sound context is essential to keep classroom teaching about the war from sliding into dangerous waters. ‘The best that can happen is that it can help students see why the violence is taking place,’ she said. ‘Otherwise, they’ll believe that part of the world just has a propensity for violence and hatred. It’s very important that students here don’t have misconceptions because people from that region could one day be their neighbors, classmates and co-workers.’” For the entire article go to:

ING will also be conducting speakers training in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio the weekend of March 24 & 25th.

ING Events of Note:

ING Speakers Speak at Bay Area Universities, 2/27/07-3/2/07

While the bulk of ING presentations continue to be in middle and high schools, about 40% of our presentations are to adult venues, including colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning. This week ING speakers presented in four separate universities, including Notre Dame De Namur, UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley.

On Tuesday, February 27, an ING speaker addressed the topic of “Islam and Contemporary Issues Concerning Muslims”, at Notre Dame De Namur University, in an evening lecture that included a question and answer session. The 90 minute presentation to an audience of students and faculty included an overview of Islam and Muslims, before addressing some of the most common misconceptions about women’s role and the concept of jihad. The audience plied the speaker with numerous questions as they looked for clarity on issues that had long been a source of misunderstanding.

The same evening, an ING speaker joined Rabbi Ray Miller in a dialogue at an interfaith dinner at UC Berkeley organized by the Muslim Student Association and the Jewish Student Union. After a delicious Kosher/Halal dinner for attendees, and a brief introduction by the Dean of Students, each speaker gave a brief overview of their faith’s view on the topic of the “Concept of God, Prophets, and the Hereafter”. This was followed by an open question and answer session with the students of both faiths further clarifying the topics addressed, as well as questions about commonalities between the two faiths.

On Friday, March 2nd, an ING speaker addressed two world religion classes at Santa Clara University on the topic of “Islam and Muslims in the Contemporary World”, addressing issues relating to Islam and Muslims in the current political social and political environment, including extremism, the concept of Jihad and women’s rights. ING presentations have become a tradition in the class, which is taught by a Jesuit at the university. The presentation became more of a dialogue between the students and speaker, as they took advantage of the opportunity to address their questions and concerns.

Another event the same day included an interfaith panel with ING’s president, Maha Elgenaidi, Santa Clara professor of religion, Dr. Philip Riley, and Dr. Andrew Kille, director of Interfaith Space. The panelists spoke to a group of historians on American religious history on the importance of incorporating local religious communities into teaching about the topic of religious history in this country.

In the afternoon of March 2nd, an ING speaker gave an overview of some of the numerous “Contributions of Islamic Civilization”, to a class on Science in Islam at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. While the students were intrigued by the vast array of contributions made by Muslims, they were especially struck by the tolerance and pluralism that gave rise to the creativity and invention, not only towards religious minorities living in Muslim lands, but towards the ideas and knowledge of previous cultures and peoples, like the Greeks, Romans, and Indians, which they compared with what they see as the lack of such tolerance among Muslims today. The speaker explained that it is today’s intolerance, not the past’s which is out of sync with Islamic tradition.

ING Participates in the California Council for the Social Studies 46th Annual Conference, 3/2/07-3/3/07

As in many past years, ING participated in the California Council for the Social Studies 46th Annual Conference in Oakland on Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd. The conference attracts social studies teachers from all over California with over 140 sessions and workshops on a variety of topics relating to the field. ING hosted a booth at the conference’s exhibit hall where ING staff and volunteers answered questions, distributed information, and met hundreds of teachers that had hosted ING speakers in the past. Many of the teachers who stopped by lived in remote areas of the state and were gratified to learn more about a topic they teach, but which has few local practitioners.

Upcoming Events of Note:

“Inter-Religious Dialogue on Conflict, Warfare, and Peacemaking, South Bay Religious Leaders Dialogue. Sponsored by the Silicon Valley Conference for Community & Justice (SVCCJ). Friday, March 9th, from 11:30-1:30.

ING’s second Peninsula Series Interfaith event will be held on Thursday, March 15th, also from 7:00-9:30, at Yaseen Foundation, 621 Masonic Way in Belmont. The topic of discussion will be “Have Women’s Leadership Roles Changed in Religion?”, and will feature a panel of women religious leaders. We invite you to mark your calendars and join us as we share in another evening of interfaith discussion.