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Lineup Announced for “Let's Talk About it: Muslim Journeys” Series at St. Norbert College

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From St. Norbert College, August 20, 2013
by Stefanie Trinkl,, 920-403-3089

The Mulva Library at St. Norbert College will host a new, five-part reading and discussion series, "Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys," beginning Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. The goal of the program is to familiarize audiences in the United States with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. The program is free and open to the public.

The Mulva Library received a $3,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to host the series, and is one of 125 libraries and state humanities councils across the country selected to participate in the project. All of the books to be discussed in the series are part of "Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys." The books and films comprising the Bookshelf were selected under the advice of librarians and cultural programming experts, as well as scholars in the fields of anthropology, world history, religious studies, interfaith dialogue, the history of art and architecture, world literature, Middle East studies, Southeast Asian studies, African studies and Islamic studies.

Following are the topics and speakers for the fall 2013-2014 series. All lectures will be held on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in the Mulva Library on the St. Norbert campus:

Sept. 24: "THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM: JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM" by F. E. Peters. Peters' book traces Judaism, Christianity and Islam from the sixth century B.C., when the Jews returned to Palestine from exile in Babylonia, to the Middle Ages, when the three faiths approached their present form. He points out that all three faith groups, whom the Muslims themselves refer to as "People of the Book," share much common ground. The discussion will be led by St. Norbert College professor of religious studies Thomas Bolin.

Oct. 22: "MUHAMMED: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION" by Jonathan A. C. Brown. The book provides an introduction to the major aspects of Muhammad's life and its importance, providing both Muslim and Western historical perspectives. The discussion will be led by St. Norbert College assistant professor of religious studies Mara Brecht.

Nov. 12: "THE ART OF HAJJ" by Venetia Porter. "The Art of Hajj" looks at the ritual pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are encouraged to take at least once in their lives. The discussion will be led by Marcella O'Malley, director of international programming at St. Norbert College, and Hussam AlMoharb, a St. Norbert College senior from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Dec. 3: "THE KORAN BY HEART" directed by Greg Barker. This film follows three young children as they compete against others twice their age in the pronunciation, recitation and perfected memorization of the Koran at the world's oldest Koran-reciting contest. The discussion will be led by Marcella O'Malley, director of international programming, and Julie Massey, senior director of mission and ministry, faith, learning and vocation at St. Norbert College.

Feb. 11, 2014: "THE STORY OF THE QUR'AN: ITS HISTORY AND PLACE IN MUSLIM LIFE" by Ingrid Mattson. Mattson's book examines the doctrines contained in the Qur'an and provides a comprehensive explanation of their significance to individual Muslims and the societies in which they live. The discussion will be led by St. Norbert College professor of religious studies Thomas Bolin.

April 8, 2014: "RUMNI: POET AND MYSTIC" edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson. A discussion will be lead by Mara Brecht, assistant professor of religious studies.

Space for each discussion is limited to 25 people.
For information or to register, please visit or contact Sally Cubitt at 920-403-4090 or

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