Professor Ahmed and Professor Pearl Bring Their Dialogue to London
June 21-25, 2004
Free Public Event
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London
Advance tickets not required.
The Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding is a program devised by Professor Akbar Ahmed and Professor Judea Pearl in equal partnership out of a shared concern about the deterioration of relationships between the Muslim and the Jewish communities and a shared belief that reconciliation of these two Abrahamic faiths is critical and can only be achieved through the re-establishment of respectful dialogue. After three engaging programs in the United States, Professors Ahmed and Pearl will bring their Dialogue to London for the first time.
The tragic death of Daniel Pearl serves as a symbol of what has gone wrong in Muslim-Jewish relations and is the trigger for this effort. However, the dialogue is based on Daniel Pearl's mission in life - to reach across barriers in an attempt to experience, understand, and appreciate all the cultures of our diverse world. As Daniel Pearl saw open and honest dialogue as the key to mutual respect and understanding, so Akbar Ahmed and Judea Pearl hope their dialogue will help encourage mutual respect and understanding among all people of diverse background.
Though neither Akbar Ahmed nor Judea Pearl engages in this Dialogue in the expectation that either owes an apology to the other for the actions or beliefs of his coreligionists, they nevertheless engage one another in a proactive attempt to gain an understanding of those actions and beliefs. It is their hope that understanding will lead to the breaking down of negative stereotypes of the other and change the nature of discourse from accusation to inquiry and from demonization of the other to respect for our common humanity.
Professors Ahmed and Pearl speak only for themselves, as concerned individuals, not as official spokesmen of the Muslim or Jewish communities. Indeed, neither community speaks with a single voice. But as individual Jews and Muslims guided by the shared human values of their Abrahamic traditions, they hope that other Jews and Muslims will be motivated by their experience to engage in dialogue as well.
Professors Ahmed and Pearl are taking their dialogue across the United States. They have chosen Great Britain for their first international programs in recognition of the importance of the Muslim and Jewish communities in Britain and of the proud history of dialogue that exists between them. Their week-long series of events in London includes visits to Islamic and Jewish schools, visits with local civic and religious leaders, a press conference and media interviews.
The official London launch will be on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 at the House of Lords with Lord Simon Haskell, Lord George Carey and Baroness Pola Uddin, after which Professors Ahmed and Pearl will engage in a Dialogue open to the general public at 18:00 at the Brunei Gallery on Russell Square. Simon Woolley, founder and national co-ordinator of Operation Black Vote, will moderate the session. Mr. Woolley writes and comments for the national and black press and media. He is a board member of the String of Pearls Festival, Chair of the Black Londoners Forum, member of the National Black Caucus and of the Black Jewish Forum. He was awarded the Men of Merit.
Akbar Ahmed is Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, Washington DC , and author of several books including “Islam Under Siege.”
Judea Pearl, President of the Daniel Pearl Foundation ( www.danielpearl.org ), is a professor of computer science at UCLA, author of several books on artificial intelligence and co-editor of "I am Jewish".
Ms. Saba Zaman of Q-News who is coordinating the London events can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.