Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS) hosted a public lecture by Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah at the Lecture Theatre 2 of IHS Extension Building, UBD on 13th March 2017.
About 150 people attended the lecture, including the Director of SOASCIS Professor Dato' Dr Osman Bakar. Also present in the audience were the Vice Chancellor of UBD, Datin Dr Hjh Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Hj Awang Abdul Aziz and Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education (Higher Education) Associate Professor Dr Hj Azman Ahmad.
Titled "The Roots of Islam in America", Dr Umar brought to light the rich and unexplored history of Muslims in the New World during the pre-modern period. The lecture pointed out how the presence of Muslims throughout the history of America attests to the fact that they have played a significant role in the American experience. Knowledge of this background would help to transform historical accounts from an ideological "meta-historical narrative" to a more balanced record of the past. Such knowledge has become indispensable as the world moves into uncertain times.
Coming to deliver the public lecture in UBD was Dr Umar's first ever visit to Brunei and the response to it was greatly positive. Members of the audience found it very engaging and interesting. SOASCIS received words of congratulations from the audience and they expressed interest in upcoming academic activities of similar nature.
Dr Umar is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Scholar-in-Residence at the Nawawi Foundation, an educational institution based in Illinois, USA. Born out of a need to provide relevant, meaningful Islamic teachings to America's growing first and second generation Muslims, the foundation provides teachings firmly rooted in authentic scholarship and taught in a way that is dynamic and applicable to the modern world. He is currently completing a second work entitled "Roots of Islam in America: A Survey of Muslim Presence in the New World from Earliest Evidence until 1965" and is also updating his dissertation for publication.
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