CIS News for May 2017

News and events from the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union

CIS/GTU is pleased to announce our first annual student symposium:

Scholarship, Leadership, Activism: Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union

Please join our students, alums, faculty, and visiting scholars for engaging panel discussions highlighting research, study, and teaching in the field of Islamic Studies and professional work beyond.
Thursday, May 4, 2017, at the GTU Library Board Room
Panel Discussions: 9am-5pm
Reception, Artistic Presentations, Keynote Address: 5:30-8:30pm
For more details: /events/first-annual-student-symposium
Contact: Rania Shah,

CIS/GTU is delighted to announce our 2016-2017 graduates in Islamic Studies:


  • Mahjabeen Dhala, The Right to Choose Piety: Understanding Muslim Women’s God-Centric Choice from a Shia Perspective (with honors)
  • May Kosba, From Ikhwanophobia to Islamophobia: Post-Colonial Cultural Nationalism in Post-Revolutionary Egypt 
  • Reem Kosba, Contemporary Christian-Muslim Relations in Egypt: Secularism, Violence, and the Challenges of Conflict Resolution
  • Rizwan Mawani, Tradition as Rupture: Caste, Community, and the Colonial Courts –Forging Religious Identity in the 1866 Khoja Case
  • Rania Shah, Al-Ghazali on Reason and Revelation: A Revival in the Heart of the Islamic Scholarly Tradition (with honors)
  • Saad Shaukat,  Shibli Nomani's Contribution to Kalam


  • Dr. Abdullah Ali, The “Negro” in Afro-Arabian Muslim Consciousness
  • Dr. Ali Ataie, Authenticating the Johannine Injil: Sunnite “Polemirenic” Interpretive Methodological Approaches to the Gospel of John 
  • Dr. Hatice Yildiz, Revisiting the Qizilbash-Alevi Tradition in Light of 17th Century Mecmua Manuscripts

Congratulations to all the graduates! We are so proud of your wonderful achievements and we look forward to celebrating with you at graduation.

CIS is delighted to share that Carol Bier, historian of Islamic art and CIS visiting scholar, has been invited  to Tashkent and Samarkand, Uzbekistan, May 14-18, to participate in an international scientific congress on the cultural legacy of Uzbekistan in world collections. She will offer a presentation on Uzbek embroideries at the Academy of Sciences, based upon her analysis and documentation  of Suzanis in the collection of Doris Duke at Shangri La in Hawaii.

CIS is also delighted to share that on Sunday May 21, from 2-4pm at the Doug Adams Gallery, CARe/GTU, Carol Bier will be in conversation with Dr. Robert Russell, Director of The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences and Ian Barbour Professor of Theology and Science, GTU, on the current exhibition Carol has curated, Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art.

CIS takes this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to Carol Bier for this extraordinary exhibition and book highlighting the work of seven American artists of diverse interests, backgrounds, and training.  Inspired by traditional Islamic art, their works echo historic and  aesthetic concerns, often advancing human knowledge and understanding by experimentation with new technologies. Carol’s curatorial expertise and vision have had a profound impact on creating a space for much-needed dialogue and building bridges of understanding across traditions and cultures through contemporary art and artists, inspired by traditional Islamic Art. Congratulations and thank you to CARe for this incredible exhibition and book, and once again to Carol for her dedication to the work of the Center for Islamic Studies, GTU.

For more info on the exhibition which closes May 26, please see:

For more info on the book, please see:

CIS/GTU would like to acknowledge and express our deepest gratitude to the Henry Luce Foundation for its generous support of our academic and public programs, including support of our students in the Islam in the Public Sphere Leadership Program. Thank you so very much.