Curiosity Camp offers Insight Into Islam

By Lara Roy

Curiosity Camp
Curiosity Camp

Curiosity Camp, a series of one day learning adventures for adults offered by the College of Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota, will feature a program titled Insight Into Islam on June 23 at the Islamic Center of Minnesota. The day’s program will feature speakers from the Islamic Resource Group, the University of Minnesota, and Mizna, a journal of Arab-American poetry and prose. Here is a full description:

Islam is the predominant religion in much of Africa and the Middle East, as well as in major parts of Asia and eastern Europe, with more than one billion adherents worldwide. However, misperceptions about Islamic religious, cultural, and social practices abound. During this Camp, which is offered in partnership with the Islamic Center of Minnesota, you will spend time at the Center and learn about Islam from a variety of perspectives.

During an introductory talk, you will be introduced to Muslim culture, practices, and beliefs. You also will learn about the earliest Muslims in this country, the development of conversion movements in the African American community, and the impact of West African Muslim culture during a presentation on the roots of Islam in America.

Over a delicious lunch of Middle Eastern cuisine, visit with your fellow Campers and enjoy a compelling introduction to the art and architecture of the Islamic world, accompanied by stunning visual images, with Catherine Asher, art history professor at the University of Minnesota. Then stretch your legs during a short tour of the Center and a visit to the prayer room, where you will learn about Islamic prayer, or salaat. The afternoon will include a more in-depth session on the role of women in Islam, including Islamic teachings in regard to women, concepts of gender equity, and misperceptions regarding Muslim women. The day will wrap up with a talk by Kathryn Haddad, writer and founder of Mizna, a journal of Arab-American writing. She will discuss her experience as a writer of Arab descent and the challenges and rewards she encountered founding the only American journal devoted to Arab-American prose and poetry. Throughout the day you will be encouraged to ask questions and bring your own ideas to the discussion in order to enhance the experience.

Nehrwr Abdul-Wahid is a trainer and consultant in the areas of multicultural competence and work team effectiveness. His educational background includes degrees and studies in mathematics, business, business administration, educational policy, urban studies, and Arabic. He was previously the training coordinator at the University of Minnesota’s Diversity Institute.

Catherine Asher, Ph.D., is associate professor of art history at the University of Minnesota. She has lectured, taught, and published numerous articles on Islamic and Indian art.

Ahmad Fahmy has lived in New York, Cairo, and Baghdad. He received his B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa and his doctorate in optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. He is a frequent speaker for the Islamic Resource Group.

Kathryn Haddad, M.L.S., University of Minnesota, is a playwright, essayist, and activist, as well as the executive director of Mizna, the only journal of Arab-American literature in the United States. Kathryn has received several awards for her writing and work with the Arab-American community.

Fedwa Wazwaz lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.  She works is a freelance writer, a former YourVoices blogger, and public speaker.

For more information, or to register, visit or call 612-624-4000