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Amid a pandemic, exploring Islam and migration in Istanbul

Author: Rafael Vallejo

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I started writing this blog at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, here in a cosmopolitan city that has been known by many names: Byzantium, Constantinople, Nova Roma, Istanbul. Or “Islambul,” according to the folk etymological preference of the current president to highlight the Islamic character of the city. I am sipping Turkish coffee at a café overlooking the Bosphorus, after a hurried visit to Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). This wonder of Byzantine architecture was built in 537 CE and was once the largest cathedral in all of Christendom.

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From Mecca to Mitt: Religion, politics, and COVID-19

Author: Mahan Mirza, Ansari Institute Executive Director

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The second caliph of Islam, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab (r. 634-644 CE), is reported to have said that even if a dog were to die on the banks of the Euphrates River, he would be held accountable. Other reports say he spoke of a camel or sheep, or perhaps the Nile instead of the Euphrates. These details don’t change the meaning. As the leader of the fledgling Muslim community, it was ‘Umar’s responsibility to provide for the sustenance and care for all beings, even the very least of them, to the farthest stretches of his authority.…

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From silicon to sand: Engaging religion in a global classroom

Author: Mahan Mirza, Ansari Institute Executive Director

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The ship of capitalism set sail centuries ago. Its goods have reached the four corners of the world. The sands of the desert have become the silicon for microchips. Technology has changed the world, most certainly for the better, but pandemics remind us of our precarity. Are we going too fast? Can we build more resilience into our global system? Can its fruits be better shared among all? On the shores of Oman, at the crossroads of Africa and Asia, we were reminded of these questions, as we experienced a different rhythm of life, where, for a few days, strangers became like family, and we saw the possibility of a different world.

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Engaged: Religion and the common good

Author: Mahan Mirza, Ansari Institute Executive Director

Mahan Mirza

Over the course of the next few weeks and months, the Ansari Institute will engage in online conversations on questions relating to the human condition and to global affairs. Our conversations will include local and global partners, students and educators, and journalists and educators, as we explore how religion can serve as a force for good in the world. 

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Oman student experience inspires dialogue, trust, and broader global perspective

Author: Josh Stowe

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When Julia French traveled to Oman as part of a Keough School class on global religion and politics, she quickly dove into challenging conversations. The University of Notre Dame sophomore from Raleigh, NC, heard from Bangladeshi students who worried that Rohingya refugees were taking too many resources from their country, one of the world’s poorest. It was a perspective French hadn’t encountered in reading media coverage of the larger humanitarian crisis.…

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Ansari Institute program manager offers invocation during Notre Dame's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day luncheon

Author: Josh Stowe

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Asmaa El Messnaoui, program manager for the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion, offered the opening invocation during the University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day luncheon on Monday, January 26, drawing on Islamic teaching  to underscore the importance of practicing diversity and inclusion and treating others with dignity and respect.…

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Catholic and Muslim leaders champion interfaith dialogue, learning at Notre Dame event

Author: Josh Stowe

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Members of different faith traditions can learn from each other through civil discourse that respects real differences, prominent Catholic and Muslim leaders said during a Nov. 20 interfaith dialogue at the University of Notre Dame. The conversation, which featured Cardinal Blase J. Cupich…

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Scholars, practitioners discuss religion and South Asia at first ND South Asia Group conference

Author: Lakshmi Iyer and Susan Ostermann

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Rahul Oka The Notre Dame South Asia Group, a multidisciplinary working group of the Liu Institute, brought together scholars and practitioners at its first conference on May 14 and 15 at the Washington, DC, office of the Keough School of Global Affairs. The theme was “Religion, Public Policy, and Development.”…

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