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Press Release  
Release Date: Monday, April 1, 2013 12:18 PM
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By Jessica Brockington
Office of University Communications      
Two-Day Conference on Islamic Teachings Draws Scholars from Across Nation


Sulayman Nyang, Ph.D.

WASHINGTON (March 27, 2013)-Despite the early morning snow, over 90 people from as far away as South Africa, Cambridge, Md., and Fullerton, Calif., turned out on Monday, March 25, and Tuesday, March 26, for the Howard University School of Divinity’s two-day conference, “Tadabbur Al-Qur’an-Contemplating the Qur’an.”

The event was held in conjunction with George Mason University, Georgetown University, the International Institute of Islamic and Howard University.

Students, professors and religious scholars from across the globe came to the school’s Howard Thurman Chapel to listen, discuss and debate the meaning and significance of the Qur’an.

The keynote speaker was Howard University professor Sulayman Nyang, Ph.D., an expert on Islam, Islamic teachings and a former deputy ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Zainab Alwani, assistant professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Divinity and conference organizer, said Nyang was well received.

“He was very insightful with the history of the Qur’an in an American context,” Alwani said.

The conference included seven panels, led by scholars from Duke University, Harvard University, the University of Florida, Emory University and the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

Panels included discussions of myths and friendships between Christians, Jews and Muslims during such topics as “Qur’anic Translation as Linguistic Performance: The Case of Surat Maryan,” “The Structural and Literary Analysis of The Qur’an, Faith and Critical Thinking Through the Qur’an” and “Qur’anic Conceptions of Virtue and Ethics”.

Alwani described the conference as lively. “There was a very active discussion between the speakers and attendees, especially during the question and answer periods,” she said.

The Rev. Paula Hall, media and communications manager for the School of Divinity, said despite the weather, the crowd appeared to enjoy the conference.

“They were very excited to come and have an intellectual conversation about the Qur’an and its different aspects,” Hall said


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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