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“Islam in Focus” Event to Be Held at Frostburg State University

The American Institute for Yemeni Studies will present “Islam in Focus: Contemporary Religion and Political Movements in North Africa and the Middle East,” a day of lectures and discussion on contemporary Islam, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, starting at 8:30 a.m. (new time) in the Atkinson Room (232) at the Lane University Center at Frostburg State University. The symposium will provide an introduction to contemporary expressions of Islam, of culture in Muslim societies and of the politics of contemporary Islamic movements.

Three scholars of the Muslim world will present topics on religion and religion’s relationship to politics from the contemporary Muslim world. Following each presentation, the entire panel will engage in an open discussion about Islam, Islamic politics and political movements. The lectures are designed to stimulate questions from the audience about their understanding of Islam and politics in the Muslim world. Dr. Charles Schmitz from the American Institute for Yemeni Studies will open the symposium at 9 a.m. with an overview of the institute, its history, its accomplishments and the services it offers scholars of Yemen today. Schmitz will also give an overview of the three lectures, emphasizing the importance of understanding the Muslim world and Islam for global literacy among American students today.

The first presentation by Abdulla Hamidaddin at 8:45 a.m. (new time) will address religion and its relationship to politics and society in Saudi Arabia. Hamidaddin is a native of Saudi Arabia and a doctoral candidate at King’s College in the U.K. He has been in close interaction with the staff of the Embassy of the United States in Saudi Arabia and has lectured at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.

At 10 a.m. (new time), Dr. Anouar Boukhars from McDaniel College in Westminister, Md., will speak about contemporary Islamic political movements. Boukhars will speak about the evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood’s politics in Egypt over the 20th century and in the contemporary context of the Arab Spring. Boukhars is a specialist in Middle Eastern politics, international relations and security issues from Morocco.

At 12:30 p.m. (new time), Schmitz will speak about contemporary Islam in Yemen, emphasizing the diversity of political forms of Islam and the rapid transformation of religious expression in Yemen today. Schmitz will pay particular attention to the wide-ranging debates among Muslim scholars about proper Muslim approaches to politics in modern life.

Funding for this activity was provided by the not-for-profit Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. CAORC was awarded a three-year grant from the Islam Initiative at Carnegie Corporation to help increase public knowledge about the diversity of thought, cultures and history of Islam and Muslim communities and to develop a more complex understanding among Americans about Muslim communities throughout the world.

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Paul J. Charney at 301-687-3120 or

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258. -end-

For further information on this release, contact:

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Frostburg State University
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Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589