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The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library to host programs and exhibits on Islamic history and culture

Date/Time
Date(s) - 10/28/2013-11/19/2013
12:00 am

Location
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library

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The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library to host programs and exhibits on Islamic history and culture.

COLUMBUS, Miss.- The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, in partnership with Mississippi University for Women and the First Presbyterian Church, will host a series of events and presentations on Islamic history and culture this October and November.

The programs are in conjunction with a grant the library received titled Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. The grant consists of a collection of books, films, and other resources that will introduce the American public to the complex history and culture of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

Events include:
• Monday, October 28th
“Luncheon and Dialogue between Christian and Muslim Faiths”
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (Chebie G. Batemen Building), 12:00pm
o Rev. Tom Bryson of First Presbyterian Church and Dr. Rani Sullivan Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University join together for a light lunch and discussion.

• Wednesday, October 30th
Movie: Mirror of the Invisible World (90 minutes)
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (Chebie G. Batemen Building), 2:00pm
o Mirror of the Invisible World is a documentary that covers nine countries and 1,400 years of cultural history to reveal the riches of Muslim art, crafts, and architecture.

• Tuesday, November 5th
“Working in the Middle East: An Archaeologist’s Experience”
Parkinson Hall, Room 117, Mississippi University for Women, 7:00pm
o Dr. James W. Hardin, Middle Eastern Archaeologist at Mississippi State University, will discuss his experiences with Muslims and Jews while working in Jordan, Israel, and other parts of the Middle East.

• Wednesday, November 6th
Movie: Prince among Slaves (60 minutes)
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (Chebie G. Batemen Building), 2:00pm
o Prince among Slaves is an historical documentary that retells the story of Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori, a prince from West Africa who was made a slave on a tobacco plantation in Natchez, Mississippi and freed 40 years later.

• Thursday, November 7th
“Medieval Islam and Its Neighbors”
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (Chebie G. Batemen Building), 5:30pm
o Dr. Amber Handy, Assistant Professor of History at Mississippi University for Women, will discuss the cultural and religious diversity of the Middle East when the Islamic religion first emerged in the seventh century and address some common misperceptions about how interactions between Muslims, Jews, Christians, and pagans continued to develop throughout the Middle Ages. Audience members are invited to read one of the many newly acquired books in conjunction with this lecture, including, Maria Rosa Menocal’s The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain, F.E. Peters’ The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Jim Al-Khalili’s The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance.

• Wednesday, November 13th
“Islamic Art of Calligraphy”
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (Chebie G. Batemen Building), 12:30pm
o Artist Sheida Riahi will explore the significance and methods of calligraphy and its tools as well as demonstrate some of her work.

• Friday, November 15th
“Women in Islam: Misconceptions and Realities”
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (Chebie G. Batemen Building), 12 noon
o Dr. Kim Whitehead, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and English at Mississippi University for Women, will discuss common misconceptions about Muslim women, rights guaranteed to Muslim women and their contributions to Islamic history, and the diversity of Muslim women’s roles today. Audience members are invited to read Leila Ahmed’s A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America in conjunction with this presentation.

• Tuesday, November 19th
Movie: Persepolis (96 minutes)
Columbus-Lowndes Public Library (Chebie G. Batemen Building), 2:00pm
o Persepolis is a poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution.

The Library will also host exhibits showcasing the works of mixed media artist Lori K. Gordon as well as calligrapher Sheida Riahi.

Gordon’s exhibit, Six Degrees: West to East, is a series of collage and mixed media works that are inspired by her travels to the Middle East and Europe. The series incorporates digital photographic imaging with traditional media and collage. Drawing on her background as a visual artist, Gordon transforms photographs taken in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Haiti into visual stories which focus on the richness and complexity of these cultures.

Gordon’s work has been featured on MSNBC, CBS, National Public Radio, Christian Science Monitor, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, New York Times, Travel Mail (UK), Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) and in regional magazines and newspapers across the nation.

To find out more about Gordon’s work visit www.lorikgordon.org.

Calligrapher Sheida Riahi’s exhibit will include works in the Thuluth style of calligraphy. Some items will include Koranic passages and others will be the Arabic translation of Biblical passages. There will also be Persian miniature style paintings as well as works in the Persian art of Illumination or “Tazhib”. Tazhib art work is created by repeating geometrical and decorative forms and patterns from nature, combined with natural colors. Tazhib is used in the decoration of manuscripts as well as buildings such as palaces and Persian mosques.

The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library was one of 842 libraries nationwide and one of only three chosen in the state of Mississippi to be awarded the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.

The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library received 25 books, 3 films, and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

The resources included in the bookshelf touch on various aspects of Islamic and Middle Eastern culture such as art, poetry, literature, history, and faith. Examples of the books included are: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi, The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance by Jim Al-Khalili, The Arabian Nights edited by Mushin Mahdi, and The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam by F.E. Peters.

Developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association based on the advice of scholars, librarians, and other public programming experts, the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf is intended to address both the need and desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the NEH and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.

For more information about the Muslim Journeys series and resources at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library visit the blog http://muslimjourneyscolumbuslibrary.wordpress.com or contact Mona Vance-Ali at 662-329-5304.