The meeting, which was sponsored by the American Muslims for Constructive Engagement (AMCE) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) focused on three major themes: (a) the belief systems and rituals of worship of Shia and Sunni, the common grounds in these areas that constitute the essence of unity between the two communities and the differences that they need to clarify and discuss, (b) political thought with focus on concepts like the Imama and Khilafa, their original manifestations and impact on institution building and political, social and cultural practices, and (c) political realities with a focus on the current global environment, and how it impacts Sunni-Shia relations.
Participants from the Shia side included: Imam Abulfazl Nahidian of Manassas Mosque, Imam Sayid Nabil Abbas of Lebanese Islamic Center, Montreal, Canada, Imam Nadeem Al-Taee of Lebanese Islamic Centre, Montreal, Canada, Professor Mahmoud Ayoub of Temple University/Hartford Seminary, Hujat-ul-Islam Hamid al-Aaraji, Moulana Amir Mukhtar Faeizi, Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi of Islmaic House of Wisdom, Dr. Mahmoud Sadri of Texas Women’s University, Ayatollah Ahmad Irvani of Catholic University of America.
Participating from the Sunni side were: Sheikh Mohamad al-Hanooti, Dr. Sayyed Saeed of ISNA, Dr. Esam Omeish of Muslim American Society, Dr. Sulayman Nyang of Howard University, Dr. Zahid Bukhari of School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad of Minaret of Freedom Institute, Imam Mohammad Majid of ADAMS Center/ISNA, Imam Johari Abdul Malik of Dar alHijrah/Howard University, Mustafa Abdul Basit Ahmed of Foundation for Islamic Education, Dr. Mohammad Nimer of American University, Dr. Omar Abdul Malik of Harvard University.
In the opening session, Dr. Jamal Barzinji, Vice President of IIIT, welcomed the participants, and explained the relevance of the subject to IIIT's interest in reforming Islamic thought, as well as to IIIT's objectives of addressing the crises that engulf the Umma and enhancing of Muslim Unity.
Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, who provided guidance to the project from its inception, gave the keynote address on Friday evening and explained the rationale behind the meeting and its objectives. He focused on the importance of Muslim unity and particularly to a current global environment that poses serious threat to the Umma, its fundamental values, its sense of identity and its mission to human civilization.
The participants agreed to issue a communique that will highlight the major points discussed and the agreements reached, and circulate it to interested individuals and organizations.The proceedings ended with a dinner reception at the residence of Dr. Barzinji on Saturday evening.
For audio, click on the following links or go to Audio page on the website and click on lectures: Day 1, Day 2