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International expert on Islamic affairs gives Milad un Nabi lecture at Mac Hall

Professor Sulayman Nyang addresses, praises fledgling Arabic Language and Muslim Cultures course


Professor Sulayman Nyang from Washington D.C’s Howard University speaks about the importance of strong leadership in the Muslim community. Photo submitted

February 12, 2015

An internationally renowned expert on Islam and African affairs, Professor Sulayman Nyang from Washington D.C’s Howard University visited the University of Calgary on Monday, Feb. 9, giving a keynote address at MacEwan Hall about the crucial importance of strong leadership in the Muslim community.

Nyang – a co-principal investigator of the Muslims in the Public Square Project, an initiative to foster greater understanding of Islam and Muslims in the United States – was here for the university’s third annual Milad un Nabi event. Held in partnership with the Ismaili Muslim Council for the Prairies to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, the event was attended by leaders from across Calgary’s Muslim community, along with faculty, students and members of the public.

In addition to the Milad un Nabi lecture, Nyang also spoke to an Arabic Language and Muslim Cultures course, a tremendous opportunity for that young and fast growing pilot program.

In his lecture, Nyang emphasized the importance of educating our youth, both in our schools and our communities, as a means of bridging cultural barriers and overcoming the dangers of Islamophobia and radicalization. He also touched on issues of modernization and globalization and praised Canada for being a pluralistic society with strong acceptance and respect for multiculturalism.

Nyang stressed that a key to fostering strong leadership is the collaboration between universities and their respective communities and he praised the University of Calgary for its collaboration with the Muslim community in events like the Milad un Nabi celebration.

“That was an important message at this time, that we should be working with our Muslim communities on serious issues of the day,” said Faculty of Arts Dean Richard Sigurdson. “He cited our new Arabic Language and Muslim Cultures program as an example of this. He noted that such classes develop strong, positive leaders within both the university and the community at large.”

Professor Nyang’s visit to the University of Calgary was in keeping with the university’s Eyes High strategy, which calls for internationalization and a fuller engagement with the communities we serve. The Arabic Language and Muslim Cultures program also brings the university closer to that goal.