DCM Sadiq and Shahid Hussain Enthrall American
University Students
By Jerusha Ghazanfari

Washington, DC: Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed welcomed Mohammad Sadiq, Embassy of Pakistan’s Deputy Chief of Mission, to the American University on Thursday, November 10th when he arrived to give a lecture on Islam and South Asia.
To introduce his lecture Mr. Sadiq shared with the students the outcome of a recent poll taken of 400 young professional Pakistanis. About 90% described Dr. Akbar Ahmed as the best-known Pakistani role model in the United States and the best recognized Pakistani outside of Pakistan. Inside Pakistan’s borders, of course, Pervez Musharraf was the best recognized.
Mr. Sadiq provided insight into Islam’s historical expansion into South Asia by detailing the religion’s 8th century introduction to the region by Sufis, thereby establishing the message of tolerance and peace. He also skillfully answered complex questions regarding education, Pakistan’s recent earthquake and its implications, and other economic issues facing the South Asian region today. Mr. Sadiq discussed the history of Kashmir as well as the evolution of tension between India and Pakistan regarding this region. He also explained the role of the madrassa and how its students are easily misunderstood in the controversy surrounding education these days.
Dr. Ahmed then introduced Shahid Hussain, former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, to the AU audience. Mr. Hussain spoke briefly about his interpretation as to why many Muslim countries currently find themselves in a period of transition, tension and intellectual decline.
“By inviting such distinguished guests to my Contemporary Islam and International Relations class, my students have the opportunity to learn directly from the individuals responsible for implementing policies that change the world they live in,” said Dr. Ahmed.
Dr. Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at the American University, has been actively involved in inter-faith dialogue for several years. He continues to foster understanding between Islam and the West by inviting distinguished guests such as Mohammad Sadiq and Shahid Hussain to speak to his classes.
As with Dr. Ahmed’s previous guest speakers, students were eager for the opportunity to listen to Mr. Sadiq as well as to ask candid questions regarding Pakistan’s stance on difficult issues such as illiteracy, the recent earthquake, and Kashmir.
“Mohammad Sadiq was excellent. He stressed education and clearly explained the Kashmir situation, which always confused me,” said Ryan Grannon-Doll, a senior majoring in international studies at AU.
“I thought both Mr. Sadiq and Mr. Hussain spoke clearly and to the point, giving the class a much-needed education on topics that can possibly transform the Middle East and South Asia.”

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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