Home Muslim religion BYU to host long-awaited Islam conference next week

BYU to host long-awaited Islam conference next week


A copy of the Quran is on Professor Grant Underwood’s desk. Representatives of the Islamic faith are due to visit Provo next week to help the BYU campus community better understand Islam and its followers. (Aubry Noir)

Renowned academics and religious leaders will converge on Provo this weekend for the highly anticipated Islam conference to be held this Monday and Tuesday.

The conference, titled “The Islamic World Today: Problems and Prospects,” went on for years, according to Grant Underwood, Ph.D., director of the Richard L. Evans Chair in Religious Understanding.

“There is a keen interest from this campus faculty and students, as well as senior leaders at The Headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to deepen our understanding of Islam and can – to be more appreciative of our Muslim friends. deeply, ”Underwood said.

Muslims around the world number nearly two billion, making Islam the second largest religious group in the world. The conference website states that the purpose of the conference is to “provide an intensive but accessible introduction to key aspects of Islam” and the nearly two billion people it represents. The information presented aims to “clearly explain why this information is relevant, if not essential, for informed citizenship today”.

The speakers attending the conference are among the most distinguished scholars of Islam in the United States. They represent a wide cross-section of the Muslim community, with eight of the 14 speakers being women and two African-Americans.

Tuesday night’s session will feature David A. Bednar and Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The topic of their presentation will be “Muslims and Latter-day Saints: Understanding One Another”.

All of the speakers were specifically asked to step away from the academics-focused conference and present TED Talks in a more fashionable way. This is intended to make the presentations more appealing and easily applicable to audience members.

“The BYU experience instilled in our students a kind of open, questioning mindset that says, ‘I want to experience other cultures. I want to appreciate other religions, ”Underwood said. He explained how this natural curiosity of BYU students and Church members makes them an “ideal audience” for this conference as they seek to see the good, the truth, and the beauty of Islam.

Along with the students and faculty who were invited to attend, members of the Utah Muslim community were also personally invited. Underwood shared part of a conversation he had with a prominent Muslim leader in the region. The leader expressed his enthusiasm for the conference, calling it a “singular event” in his 20 years of living in Utah.

The first session on Monday will start at 9:00 a.m. and presentations will continue until 3:30 p.m. At 11:30 am, the speakers will address the theme of women and gender in the Islamic world.

The conference will continue on Tuesday and sessions will run throughout the day starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 9:00 p.m. that evening. Topics for the session will range from diversity in Islam to contemporary politics in Islam. Elder Bednar and Elder Gong are expected to conclude the conference with their presentations at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Those interested in the conference are invited to attend the in-person sessions at the Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center. In addition, all sessions will be available live on the Islam conference website.

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