Exploring Islam

October 27 – December 2, 2016

Since the 7th century, Islam has existed in breathtaking variety as a religion, civilization, cultural and political force. To understand the Muslim experience, we will discuss different approaches to the study of Islam; learn about important episodes in Islamic history, and consider the experiences of Muslim women and youth.

We’ll also visit the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, an architectural gem that houses an important collection of Islamic works.

Lectures are held on Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm to approximately 9:30 pm at the
Columbus Community Centre, 232 Spencer Street East, Cobourg.

Seminars are held Friday mornings  at 9:00 am to approximately 11:00 am at the
Port Hope Public Library, 31 Queen Street.

The Life of Muhammad, a BBC series with British author and journalist Rageh Omaar, will be screened on November 3, 10 and 17 at 6:00 pm before the lectures.

All evening and morning events include a presentation by the speaker, refreshments, and an opportunity to ask questions.

October 27 Lecture
Muslim terrorism, War on Terror and Islamophobia: An overview

The world is experiencing vastly more terrorism and radicalism as well as cultural warfare between Muslims and non-Muslims since the new millennium dawned only 16 years ago. Hardly a week goes by without some flashpoint. Where’s this discord headed?  Click here to see Haroon Siddiqui’s preparatory notes.

October 28 Seminar
Canada, Muslims and Islam

Canada has not been immune to terrorism, radicalism and Donald Trump-ism. How are Canada’s one million Muslims, the fastest growing faith group in the country, responding?

Speaker: Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star Editorial Page Editor Emeritus

November 3 Lecture
What is Islam?

To understand Islam, we examine the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and Muslim discussion throughout the ages on theology, philosophy, law, art, music, science and love.

November 4 Seminar
The Quran: text, history, and interpretation

The Quran is one of the world’s most read but least understood books. Its text is open to many interpretations. This seminar will examine Islam’s most holy book, some of its scholars and their interpretations.

Speaker: Mohammed Rustom, Associate Professor

The College of the Humanities, Carleton University

November 10 Lecture
Sharia: Islamic law and modernity

Islamic law is imagined differently across a broad spectrum of cultures. We will survey the historical tradition of Sharia and how it is presented in the media. Check out Shari'a and the Rule of Law.

November 11 Seminar
The rise and demise of the Caliphate

A caliphate is a government led by a religious and a political successor to Muhammad. How does this concept fit in the modern world? 
Check out Is ISIS Islamic?

Speaker: Anver Emon, Professor & Canadian Research Chair

Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

November 17 Lecture
Islam and interfaith relations

Islam has long been conceived of in the West as a "religion of the sword." Less well known is its commitment to pluralism, tolerance and positive interfaith relations.


Speaker: Katherine Bullock, Lecturer

Department of Political  Science, University of Toronto at Mississauga



November 24 Lecture
Of Hockey and Hijab

What does it mean to be female, Canadian and Muslim?


November 25 Seminar

Shaping a Muslim cultural practice in Canada

Many Canadian Muslims are exploring ways of adapting Muslim principles and practice in the context of Canadian Culture.


Speaker: Sheema Khan, Monthly columnist for The Globe and Mail

December 1 Lecture
Being young and Muslim in Canada

What is it like being part of a group labeled as a potential threat to public and national safety? How does it affect a young person’s sense of identity, citizenship and belonging?


December 2 Seminar
The role of art in countering Islamophobia

Canadian Muslims are using education, the arts and media as responses to the various forms of Islamophobia and to engage in solutions.


Speaker: Jasmin Zine, Professor, Department of Sociology

Wilfrid Laurier University

Sunday, October 30: 3:00 – 5:00 pm, Capitol Theatre, Port Hope:

An afternoon with Zarqa Nawaz, writer and producer of the popular CBC series

Little Mosque on the Prairie, and author of Laughing All The Way To The Mosque,

followed by a reception featuring Middle Eastern refreshments


Sunday, November 13: 10 am, the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre, Toronto:

Private lecture and tour of special exhibitions with Dr. Ruba Kana’an, Head of Education and Scholarly Programs and Designer Arriz Hassan, Arriz & Co.