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Hartford Seminary

Scholar in Islamic Studies Named Visiting Professor at Hartford Seminary

For Immediate Release

HARTFORD (January 30, 2012) ? Omer Awass, an instructor in Islamic studies with experience in the United States and abroad, has been named Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, starting in Fall 2012.

Awass, who is close to completion of his Ph.D. in Religion at Temple University, will teach three courses during the 2012-2013 academic year, assist in a team-taught course, and advise Seminary students.

In the fall, he will teach ?The Life of the Prophet Muhammad? online and assist in the ?Dialogue in a World of Difference? course. During the Winter/Spring semester in 2013, he will teach ?The Qur?an and Its Place in Muslim Life and Society,? followed by ?Contemporary Islamic Ethics? during Summer session, both on campus.

?Mr. Awass is very highly regarded by the faculty at Temple University, who praised his cosmopolitan perspective combined with his clear awareness of the American Muslim experience,? said James Nieman, Academic Dean.

?In speaking with him, I was impressed not only with his significant background in teaching and research, but also his congenial and approachable manner,? Nieman said. ?He is a significant emerging young scholar in Islamic studies and a strong model for what a new generation of such scholars will be. I am confident he will provide the depth of instruction our students have come to expect.?

Awass will be a visiting professor while the Seminary completes a search for a new Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations to succeed Ingrid Mattson, who has taken a new teaching position, effective July 1.

Awass has studied with Mahmoud Ayoub, currently Faculty Associate in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary and professor emeritus at Temple. ?Omer is a good scholar and a pious and open minded individual with a creative mind, who will be a good and effective teacher. He as well has good contacts with Islamic educational institutions in Syria and other countries of the Middle East,? Ayoub said.

Awass?s specialization is Islamic law. His dissertation examines contemporary fatwas and changes in Islamic legal discourse.

Awass said it will be a great opportunity for him to teach graduate students who are committed to the academic study of Islam and chaplaincy students who are more practically oriented in their studies to become Muslim chaplains.

?The Seminary has a long tradition of bridging the gap between the Muslim world and the western world,? Awass said. ?I am very much interested in that dynamic.?

Besides his doctoral work at Temple, Awass earned a Master?s in Religion there in 2010. He has studied at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, and is a graduate of Al-Fatih Islamic Institute in Damascus, Syria, which has enjoyed a partnership with Hartford Seminary and had students earn degrees at the Seminary.

He has received an Indonesian Fellowship from the Luce Foundation and participated in the Scholars Research Program at the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Herndon, VA.

Awass has taught at Temple, the ISM Institute in Istanbul, Turkey, and the State University of New York.

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