Middle East studies in the News
Religious Studies Program Hosts Film Screening [incl. Ihsan Bagby]
by Nneka Walson
The religious studies program will host a special film screening tonight discussing controversial topics within the Muslim community.
"UnMosqued," the film that will be screened, targets the need for change in American mosques. Due to multiple studies conducted by Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, this film allows questions to be raised about the disconnectedness of Muslims to their sacred place of worship.
"The film is a documentary," said Lee Johnson, coordinator of the event. "It is a sociological study of the mosques in America and just recognizing the trends that happen within this religious tradition."
Bagby's statistics show that younger Muslims are not as involved in the life of the mosque. Conclusions in the documentary try to explain how this problem arose. According to Johnson, "UnMosqued" gives an explanation to why young people feel disconnected and what it is about the structure of worship that is causing those feelings.
Following the screening, there will be a discussion involving four panelists. Johnson said two of the panelists are members of the religion department that have expertise in Islam. Also on the panel is a professor from the history department that specializes in Egyptian matters and also has a connection with the Islam faith. The last panelist will be a doctor from Brody School of Medicine involved in community discussion concerning mosques and Islamic traditions.
"What they're going to do is briefly react to the film and then help take questions from the general audience," Johnson said.
Although the movie highlights that of Islam faith, Johnson said it sheds light on other topics as well.
"These types of things that they're discussing in the documentary can be translated to young people in the church," said Johnson. "I think it is the same feeling of disconnectedness from people that operate as spiritual but not religious or unchurched."
Johnson said this film helps to recognize the relation to many communities of faith.
"Religion is an aspect that engages so many other areas," she said. "We have people that are in business, journalism and even medicine. They are realizing that faith is a big aspect in many disciplines."
According to Johnson, the religious studies program is concerned about creating religious dialogue and understanding all aspects of faith in this country. Part of what they do as a club is organize places where meaningful discussions are held about topics that aren't typically discussed in a classroom setting.
"We recognize that this isn't just about Islam," she said. "It's all the same phenomena we see across communities of faith, how young people relate to tradition versus innovation."
Member of the Religious Studies Club, Tyler Beasley, said the documentary will bring forth many discussion topics.
"The conversation that will come from this film through the experts that are on the panel is going to try to foster a respectful discussion on how we should interact with one another," he 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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