Two popular comedians, two different faiths were the high point of the third anniversary celebration of the Center for Interfaith Study and Dialog (CISD) held on March 26. Two internationally known comedians - one Jew and one Muslim - Rabbi Bob Alper and Azhar Usman, shared one stage at Nazareth College Shults Center Otto Forum. The performance followed a dessert reception, and drew an excited crowd.
The Center, headed by Dr. Muhammad Shafiq, is based at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. It was created by Nazareth College religious department academics and religious leaders representing all major faith traditions in the Greater Rochester area. The Center promotes research and encourages strategies for living peacefully in a religiously diverse world, seeking to realize this vision through dialogue, education, and community-building efforts.
IIIT has been a major benefactor of CISD since its inception. Last month, Nazareth College president Daan Braveman, Gregory Soehner, director of Corporate Foundation and Government Relations, and Dr. Muhammad Shafiq, director of CISD, visited IIIT to exchange views and discuss further avenues of cooperation between the two institutions. IIIT vice-president Dr. Jamal Barzinji and senior staff at IIIT attended the meeting. Among ideas discussed were the establishment of a research institute at Nazareth College and offering off-site certificate courses at the Fairfax Institute, the instructional division of IIIT.