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February 6-7, 1998. Sponsored by Nonviolence
International and the Mohammad Said Farsi Chair of Islamic
Peace at The American University, Washington, DC.
At a time when the Muslim world is suffering from an unmitigated epidemic
of violence, both from within and from without, Muslim scholars
and peace and social activists got together for two days to examine the
Islamic tradition of peace and to explore strategies to once again realize
this Islamic ideal. The conference consisted of over 25 panelists with
nearly 75 attendees in the audience. For reasons not divulged, the conference
was closed and attendance was by invitation only. The hosts,
Mubad Awad and Karim Crow of Nonviolence International and
Abdul Aziz Said, the Mohammed Said Farsi Professor of Islamic Peace
at American University, were very gracious and managed to put up an
excellent show that was reminiscent of the hey days of Islamic civilization.
In a land so far away from the Islamic heartland, for two days, the
conference repduced a feeling that once again the world was under the
merciful and benign shadow of Islamic traditions.
The conference had an unusual format. Only a few of the participants
were invited to present papers on subjects that dealt with the meaning of
peace in Islam, the barriers to peace in the Muslim world, and the tensions
between heightened religious identity and violence. The rest of the
panelists acted as discussants who contributed their own perspectives on
the subject. The audience was allowed extended time to interact with the
panel. The conference consisted of two keynote addresse- One on each
day- by Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Professor of Islamic Studies at George
Washington University) and Seyyeda Rabab Sadr Chareffedine
(Chaqerson of Imam Al-Sadr Foundation of Lebanon). However,
Seyyeda Rabab Chareffedine could not make it, instead her son Raed
read her speech.
The participants came from the Muslim world as well as the West.
Maulana Wahekduddin came from India, Jawadat Sa'id came from
Syria, Laith Kubba from London, Sakeena Yakoobi from Afghanistan,
Kamal Hassan from Malaysia, Mokhtar Lamani represented OIC, Su'ad
al-Hakim from Lebanon, Mehmet Ersoy from Turkey and Ambassador
Sadek Sulaiman from Oman. The American contingent consisted of M. ...