Oak Park Public Library, River Forest Public Library and Dominican University’s Rebecca Crown Library are partnering this fall to present a series of programs designed to provide area residents with a comprehensive introduction to Islamic art, culture and history. The series revolves around a collection of books and materials, funded through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA), titled “Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys.”
In addition to the books and materials collection, the three libraries collaborated in applying for an additional grant from the NEH which will fund a series of book discussions led by Muslim scholars, including Aly Drame, PhD, assistant professor of history at Dominican University. Drame teaches courses covering African history, Islamic civilizations, world history, the modern Middle East and immigration. The series will focus on the American Stories theme of the book collection.
Programs planned as part of this series include:
· An opening celebration on Monday, October 21 at 12:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, at Dominican University’s Social Hall.
· Women of Islam: The Quiet Revolution, book discussion on Tuesday, October 29 at Dominican University
· Acts of Faith featuring a book discussion led by Samina Hadi-Tabassum, associate professor in Dominican’s School of Education, on Tuesday, December 10 at the Oak Park Public Library
· The Butterfly Mosque, a book discussion led by Mohamed Askar, associate professor of management in Dominican’s Brennan School of Business, on Tuesday, January 21 at Dominican University
· Prince Among Slaves, a book discussion led by Aly Drame on Sunday, February 16 at the River Forest Public Library
· The Nation of Islam, a book discussion to be on Tuesday, March 18 at Dominican University
Featuring 25 books and four DVDs, the collection highlights the pluralism of cultural forms and traditions within the Muslim world. “Muslim Journeys” is part of the comprehensive NEH Bridging Cultures initiative, which has highlighted the importance of civility in American life and embraced the role of libraries in fostering community conversations about diversity.
The books in the “Muslim Journeys” collection are organized by six themes:
American Stories, including Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel, former Lund-Gill Chair at Dominican University and the founder of the national Interfaith Youth Core;
Connected Histories, including When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors and Monks Who Created the Riches of the East by Steward Gordon;
Literary Reflections, including Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi;
Pathways of Faith, including “The Art of Hajj” by Venetia Porter;
Points of View, including the graphic autobiographical novel Persepolis: Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi, which relates her life under the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The book served as the basis of an award-winning animated film.
Art, Architecture and Film, including Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, a documentary, narrated by Susan Sarandon, which covers nine countries and 1,400 years of cultural history to reveal the astonishing reaches of Muslim arts, crafts and architecture.
All materials from the “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys” are available for check-out at these participating libraries. For more information, contact Dominican University Librarian Felice Maciejewski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 524-6873.