Middle East studies in the News
St. Bonaventure Center for Arab and Islamic Studies Receives Gifts
by Danny Bush
A number of Olean-Allegany area community members have committed gifts totaling nearly $70,000 to St. Bonaventure University's Center for Arab and Islamic Studies.
"We feel that the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies is an important initiative that will foster greater understanding and tolerance in our region and bring our communities together," said Dr. Zahid Khairullah, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Society of the Southern Tier.
The Al-Humadi family has been instrumental in the founding and ongoing work of the CAIS. Their connection with St. Bonaventure began in the late 1970s when Father Cornelius Welch, a longtime dean and administrator at the university, contacted the family for help in identifying several Arabic texts found in the vault of Friedsam Memorial Library.
In 2015, the Al-Humadis — Dr. Adil Al-Humadi and his wife Jehan, and their son, Dr. Mohaned Al-Humadi — established with a generous gift the Dr. Adil and Jehan Al-Humadi Lecture Series for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure.
"We feel very strongly about supporting the center. It is an important part in our lives as Muslims. There is an ever-present need for interreligious understanding of what we all have in common, to promote tolerance and acceptance, especially with what is going wrong in the world. There is some element of intolerance and not being able to differentiate between what is the real Islam and what is fundamental extremism. The extremists have hijacked the Muslim religion in the name of Islam to smear its name. They make it difficult for all of the peaceful, loving and hard-working Muslims in the world," Dr. Adil Al-Humadi said.
He commended the work of Sister Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president, in promoting Christian-Muslim relations and noted the importance of adding Islamic theology to the curriculum.
A variety of students make use of the CAIS, which is located on the second floor of the John J. Murphy Professional Building.
Father Michael Calabria, director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, said students come to learn the language, others who are interested in pursuing political or diplomatic opportunities after graduation, and those who want to understand Islam as a religion.
Amina Golden-Arabaty, a freshman journalism/mass communication major from Lockport, has taken four courses within the center. This semester she is enrolled in Arabic 302 and Christian-Muslim Relations.
"I have really enjoyed studying with Father Michael Calabria. He is so passionate about spreading his knowledge in an effort to create peace and eliminate misconceptions originating from the lack of knowledge," Golden-Arabaty said.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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