Community News (V15-I37)

Kazim Ozyurt wins Mass.Governor’s Award

kazimKazim Ozyurt, an employee of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, was one of the ten 10 to receive the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service, the commonwealth’s highest honor for executive department employees.

In his capacity as Director of the of the Office of Tax Policy and Analysis, Kazim Ozyurt is responsible for fulfilling a large variety of functions that are of vital importance, not only to the DOR but to both the Executive and Legislative branches and the Commonwealth as a whole.  Some of these functions include providing revenue projections and analysis; reporting on capital gains; film credit, sales tax holidays as well as estimating revenue projections on proposed legislation.  “In all of these areas, and many more, Kazim has provided exceptional, timely and responsive service to the Commonwealth, “ reads his award profile.

Ozyurt, who moved to the United States from Turkey in 1990, has been conducting research for the Department of Revenue for 15 years, the Dedham Transcript reported.

He has a master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from Northeastern University, where he still occasionally teaches economics and finance courses.

Islamic exhibition opens at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

A painting on display at the museum


KANSAS CITY,MO– What is Islamic Art? How do contemporary artists respond to Islamic art and culture in their own work? The answers to these and other questions can be explored at an exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The  “Echoes: Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists,” which opened at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City Aug. 31, will explore these questions through a series visual conversations that make connections across cultures, geography and time.

The installation will juxtapose historical objects and architecture with works by contemporary artists that employ traditional Islamic styles, materials and subject matter as their source. Framed beneath the Museum’s stunning 17th century Persian mosaic arch, visitors will see how contemporary artists are drawing upon their cultural and visual past to explore personal, political, and aesthetic concerns.

The artistic achievements of traditional Islamic art will be represented by works in the Nelson-Atkins permanent collection, including examples of calligraphy, ceramics, paintings, carpets and architectural forms. Contemporary art works include sculpture, video, photography, paintings, ceramics and digital collage, by internationally recognized artists such as: Shahzia Sikander and Rashid Rana.

Echoes is part of a city–wide collaborative project focusing on Islamic art and culture, featuring exhibitions, artists’ residencies and public programming at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Artists Coalition, and the Kansas City Public Library.

Islamic Centre hosts Topeka Methodists

TOPEKA,KS–The Islamic Centre of Topeka hosted a group of Methodists who wanted to know more about Islam.

“We are extremely honored and happy that they’re here as our guests,” Imam Omar Hazim told the Topeka-Capital Journal. “We just hope and pray we can be worthy of them coming.”

Hazim said the Islamic faith places a “high value on getting to know your neighbor,” and said members of the Topeka mosque wanted to make their guests feel welcome.

In addition to allowing the United Methodist guests the opportunity to learn more about Islam, Hazim said, the event also allowed local Muslims to learn more about the Christian faith.

“When we get to know each other,” Hazim said, “we have more sensitivity and tolerance for each other.”

Hazim said the United Methodists would be treated to lunch, where they could sit across the table from Muslims and visit with them, then would get a tour of the mosque, hear a short presentation about Islam and take part in a question-and-answer session.

Hazim said Muslims in the audience also would be able to ask questions of Moore and other Christians in the room.

“We want them to share anything they want to share about their faith with us,” Hazim said. “We want to learn about them.”

The Rev. Sandra Moore said she “loved” the opportunity to “break bread” with Muslims at the Islamic Center and said the United Methodists were made to feel “very welcome.”

When the decision was made to study Islam, Moore said, she felt God called her and the others in her group to go visit Muslims directly, because “they are our neighbors.”

She said she also appreciated Hazim and Islamic Center of Topeka being willing to share their faith with the United Methodists.

“The more we know,” Moore said, “the more we understand, and the more we’re good neighbors.”

Eboo Patel to speak at Oklahoma U.

Eboo Patel, one of the nation’s leading scholars in religion and interfaith studies, will speak at a President’s Associates dinner at the University of Oklahoma on Monday, Sept. 9. Prior to dinner, Patel will meet with OU students for an informal discussion.

Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders, Patel is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based organization that promotes interreligious understanding on college campuses nationwide.

The Interfaith Youth Core helps college students learn about religious differences and find common bonds among their faiths. In addition, the Youth Core works with colleges across the country to develop new courses and to teach students how to handle questions about their own faith while they work to understand the practices of others.

“Eboo Patel is one of the most important leaders around the globe in the effort to strengthen interfaith dialogue, and mutual respect and understanding between different religious groups,” said OU President Davis L. Boren. “Clearly, religious intolerance is a major cause of violence in the world in which we live. His cause should become the cause of all of us.”

Limited seating is available by reservation for OU students, faculty and staff, with overflow seating available to the public. For reservations, more information and accommodations on the basis of disability, please call OU Public Affairs at 325-3784 or email


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