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Houstonian Corner (V9-I21)

Conference: Exploring models for peace by re-exploring the past: diversity in the Ottoman Empire

One of the world’s prominent universities, the University of Texas, held a two-day international conference on Ottoman Tolerance. The Center for Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Texas, the Raindrop Foundation, and the Institute of Interfaith Dialog, were the organizers of the conference.

The conference started with a reception held for the conference speakers and distinguished guests. Speakers from England, Turkey, Egypt, Macedonia and various cities of the US delivered detailed information about the diversity and the tolerance that existed in the Ottoman Empire.

The Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Dr. Kamran Scot Aghaie, stated that history holds examples of peace, and for sure the Ottoman Empire is one of these examples.

On the second day, the conference started with a presentation by Nisya Ishman Allovi, Director of Jewish Museum of Turkey. Allovi presented the historical details of Jewish existence in the Ottoman Empire starting with the immigration of Jews from Spain to Istanbul in 1492.

Other papers presented by scholars were: Dr. Bernadette Andrea, The Ottoman Spirit and the Multicultural Debate; Dr. Yetkin Yildirim, The Analysis of the Millet System in Light of Contact Theory; Dr. Rhoads Murphey, Living Together: Cultural Diversity in the Ottoman Empire; Dr. Linda Darling, Christian-Muslim Interaction on the Ottoman Frontier: Ghaza and Accommodation in Early Ottoman History; Dr. Mehmet Ipsirli, Remarks on Ottoman Peace and Presence in the Balkans; Dr. Kemal Karpat, From Ottoman Cultural and Religious Diversity to Turkish National Identity and Uniformity; Dr. Azmi Ozcan, Facing the Threat of Separatism in a Multi-Cultural Empire in the Age of Nationalism: An Ottoman Solution; Dr. Mehmet Akif Aydin, Pax Ottomana.

On the third day, Dr. Ihsan Yilmaz delivered a paper titled Diversity, Legal Pluralism and Peaceful Co-existence in the Ottoman Centuries. Other papers presented in the conference were: Dr. Macit Kenanoglu, Is Millet Systme a Reality or a Myth? An Alternative Approach to the Administration of the non-Muslim Subjects in the Ottoman Empire; Dr. Safsafi Ahmed Al-Katury, The Ottoman Administration and Non-Muslims; Dr. Abdel Rahman Ahmad Salem, The Roots of Religious Tolerance in the Ottoman Empire; Dr. Tom Gage, Ottoman Palimpsests: The Past Reviewed in Architecture and Literature; Dr. Iskender Pala, Ottoman Tolerance Reflected in Classic Turkish Poetry; Dr. Salim Ayduz, What Contribution did Turks do to the Science and Technology of the Modern Western Civilization?

Organizers of the conference stated that the papers of conference would be published by the university as a book. The conference showed once again that the Ottoman example can contribute to the solutions of tension and problems in the Middle East and the Balkans, where people co-existed in peace for centuries.

For more information, contact Raindrop Turkevi – Turkish Cultural Center – 5905 Winsome Lane – Houston – Texas 77057 – Phone: 713-974-1412 – Fax: 713-974-1418.

ILM Academy Providing Individualized Learning Opportunity – $225,000 Raised

A full-time Islamic school with a Pre-K Montessori Program has been initiated by the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) Northwest Center, located at 1209 Conrad Sauer Drive.

It will soon be getting accreditation from the State of Texas.

Currently they enroll students ages 3 to 5. Other than the regular Montessori Curriculum, both Arabic Language and Islamic Studies are taught to the students to make their foundations strong.

A fundraiser for the event was held at the Hilton Post Oak in the Galleria, which was well attended. Mainly the Muslim doctors of Houston contributed much towards this upcoming state-of-the-art facility: About $225,000 were raised.

A.J. Durrani, Director of NW, gave those gathered his vision of future Islamic education in USA. The main speaker on the occasion was Imam Wazir Ali of MAS Bellfort Masjid, who inspired the people present with his eloquent talk, where he asked people to open their “Expirement Accounts” for the next life together with retirement plans for this life and said this can be done by whole-heartedly donating to noble causes.

The program started with delicious food provided by Sohail Feroze and ended with comedian show by Azhar Usman.

For more information about ILM Academy, contact Sister Zuhaira Razzack – Principal of ILM Academy at 713-464-4720 – Or Visit www.ilmacademy.org.


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