Jamal Rahman to Speak at Ashland University

Jamal Rahman to Speak at Ashland University

2/21/14 ASHLAND, Ohio - Acknowledging that there are irreconcilable differences between faiths, Jamal Rahman nevertheless has dedicated his professional career to facilitating interfaith dialogue. Rahman will give two free public lectures at Ashland University on March 11 and 12 and also will visit AU classes and interact with students and faculty in smaller events.

His first public lecture, titled “Encountering Irreconcilable Differences,” will be held Tuesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in the Myers Convocation Center on the AU campus. This lecture will focus on celebrating similarities and honoring the dignity of differences, understanding that the goal is not to change the other but to get to know the other on a human and personal level, and recognizing how it feels to be “the other,” according to Rahman.

A second lecture, titled “Sacred Laughter,” will be held Wednesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium on the AU campus, will explore Sufi teaching stories. These stories present lighthearted and humorous ways to connect with the dilemmas and challenges of being a religious person. Rahman says, “When we go over to the other side and look back at our dramas and melodramas, we shall laugh and laugh. So, why don't we laugh right now?”

A book signing of Rahman’s book, “Spiritual Gems of Islam,” will follow the Wednesday lecture.

Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality and interfaith relations. He is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Seattle’s Interfaith Community Sanctuary and he serves as adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He also is a former host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops. Rahman has been featured in the New York Times and on CBS News, BBC and various NPR programs.

According to John Stratton, executive director of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, “Rahman is an outstanding speaker with a strong presence and wonderful sense of joy. He will introduce some aspects of Islam and the Sufi tradition to our Western culture. The goals are to provide information and insight and to challenge the stereotyped views that often result in fear of the unknown ‘other’ that runs through our society.”

Rahman is the author of several books in addition to “Spiritual Gems of Islam,” including “Out of Darkness, Into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Jewish and Christian Sources.” His passion lies in interfaith community building. 

Originally from Bangladesh, Rahman has an abiding faith in the power of heart-to-heart connections to encompass differences and dissolve prejudices. Rahman, an imam, collaborates with and sometimes travels with a rabbi and a Christian pastor sharing their message of spiritual inclusivity. They are known as the Interfaith Amigos. 

Rahman’s visit to Ashland is sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University, the Department of Religion, the Office of Minority Affairs, International Student Services and the Office of Global Education. 

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University is located on the AU campus. The Center seeks a world in which human conflict at all levels can be resolved without resorting to violence and in which social justice can be realized.

For more information about ACN events, or to learn more about the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, please call 419-289-5313 or visit the website at www.ashland.edu/acn.  To be added to the ACN e-mail list, e-mail your request to acn@ashland.edu.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###