Throughout the week, scholars participated in learning sessions led by Ebrahim Moosa, primary investigator for Madrasa Discourses and professor of Islamic studies at the Keough School and lead faculty members for the project, Waris Mazhari in India and Ammar Khan Nasir in Pakistan. SherAli Tareen, U.S.-based Madrasa Discourses faculty member and associate professor of religious studies at Franklin and Marshall College, and Joshua Lupo, Madrasa Discourses classroom coordinator, also presented lectures.
"One highlight from the week was that the scholars are beginning to discover that there are different ways of understanding theology and texts we encounter if one steps into a position of inquiry rather than believing that everything you read is simply true. They found that concept empowering and interesting."
Several guest speakers presented on topics including evolution and processes of scientific inquiry. Speakers included Rana Dajani, associate professor of biology at Hashemite University in Jordan; Sohaira Siddiqui, associate professor of theology at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Qatar; and Sheikh Ali Al-Qaradaghi, professor of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence at Qatar University.
For Notre Dame senior Cassandra Anzalone, a political science and Arabic major with a minor in peace studies, and sophomore Josephine Flanagan, an Arabic, political science and peace studies major, a highlight of the week was getting to build relationships with the Madrasa Discourses participants, especially their roommates.
"Through our discussions we were able to explore the differences between the madrasa educational system and American education. She talked about her own feminist views and it was interesting to see how much we had shared ideas, but one main problem she was grappling with in a different way was how to bring feminism into her Islamic, scholarly context," said Flanagan.