Journey into Europe to air on Next TV

For more information, visit the Next TV Facebook page.

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Journey into Europe to screen on Capitol Hill Wed. Sept. 28 at 1pm

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Journey into Europe to screen at Texas Christian University Wed. Oct. 5 at 6:30pm

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Journey into Europe to screen in West Lafayette, IN on Thurs., Sept. 22 at 6pm

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Omran Daqneesh and Aylan Kurdi – Ambassador Ahmed, Express Tribune

The waves of migrants who have arrived in Europe, hoping to escape horrors in their home countries, have evoked a broad range of emotions in Europe and around the globe. Throughout the crisis, desperate refugees, after initial goodwill, have faced unparalleled hate and dehumanisation, but two photographs, in particular, have created empathy for the impossible choices faced by those fleeing their home nation. The world responded in outrage when the photograph of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a young Syrian boy who was face down on the Turkish shore after drowning in his family’s attempt to reach Greece went viral in September 2015. It seemed that the world finally understood the dangers that refugees faced as they attempted to make their way across Europe. But all too quickly, as the backlash began against the refugees, Aylan’s tragedy was forgotten and he was being depicted in cartoons, had he lived, as a future rapist chasing white European women. Angela Merkel, seen as the champion of the refugees, saw her political fortunes decline.

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Ambassador Ahmed and team join distinguished interfaith roundtable with State Dept. delegation from Pakistan and Afghanistan

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Ambassador Akbar Ahmed (center), Dr. Amineh Hoti (right), and Patrick Burnett (right) join a distinguished interfaith roundtable featuring a visiting delegation from Afghanistan and Pakistan at the National Cathedral  on September 9. The roundtable featured top interfaith leaders from Greater Washington engaging with government officials and scholars from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On the morning of Friday, September 9, Ambassador Akbar Ahmed and team members Dr. Amineh Hoti and Patrick Burnett joined a distinguished roundtable of Greater Washington interfaith leaders at the Church House of the National Cathedral to welcome and speak with five visitors from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The visitors are touring the US as part of the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, conducted under the auspices of the Meridian International Center. The purpose for the visit of these distinguished government officials and scholars is to explore “religious dialogue influencing foreign policy” as part of a State Department Sub-Regional Project for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

The visiting delegation took the opportunity during this two-hour closed-door session to explore some of the challenges American interfaith leaders have faced in working to build bridges between different faith communities, particularly in the years since 9/11, and seek advice for how to overcome some of the great obstacles individuals and communities face in trying to come together and overcome differences.

 

Ambassador Ahmed, hailing from Pakistan and having worked extensively as a Commissioner in the Tribal Areas, was able in particular to poignantly illustrate to the delegation the importance of knowledge and understanding, as well as the importance of reaching out directly to both leaders and community members in order to build bridges. He made a strong plea to the Pakistani and Afghan leaders at the roundtable to not fall into the trap of many American Muslim leaders immediately following 9/11, who frequently echoed the hollow phrase, “Islam is a religion of peace,” as people were cynical and did not believe it to be so in light of the attacks. Fifteen years since 9/11, Ahmed emphasized that the challenge remains for Muslims to convince the world that their religion is one of peace and for the world not to indulge in Islamophobia – issues that remain at the fore of global affairs today.

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Ambassador Ahmed (center right) and Dr. Hoti (center) discuss  the importance of engaging non-Muslim communities around the globe as Muslim leaders with the visiting delegation.

 

Ahmed also stressed the importance of overcoming differences within one’s community and making a stand against those oppressed groups in their own society, while also emphasizing to the delegation the importance of having their voices heard both as interfaith leaders and as ambassadors of Pakistan and Afghanistan in a time when so many in the West grossly misunderstand the politics, culture, and society of these two nations. Without greater understanding in the West, Ahmed argued that it would continue to be difficult for American Muslims to make a strong case for themselves.

 

Following the roundtable conversation, the visiting delegation took a detailed tour of the National Cathedral and had a chance to learn more about Christianity, particularly the Episcopalian denomination. In the coming weeks, the visiting delegation will be traveling around the US further exploring how American interfaith practices are conducted.

 

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A delegation of leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan discuss the challenges of interfaith dialogue with leading interfaith practitioners from Greater Washington at the National Cathedral on Sept. 9. The visit was part of a nationwide tour for Pakistani and Afghan government officials and scholars sponsored by the US Department of State, under the auspices of the Meridian International Center.

 

 

The program was facilitated by Rev. Carol Flett, the Interreligious Officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and former Interfaith Programs Coordinator at the National Cathedral. The Washington-based delegation, in addition to Ambassador Ahmed and Islamabad-based Dr. Hoti, included Rabbi Bruce Lustig of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, Ann Korky, a retired US Foreign Service officer and active lay member of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and Alan Ronkin, the Regional Director for the Washington office of the American Jewish Committee. Representing the delegation from Afghanistan and Pakistan were Mr. Sayed Muzammel Ferqat, the Director of the Secretariat of Afghanistan Moderation Center; Dr. Noorullah Kawsar, the Chief Editor, of Esteqamat (monthly) and a Lecturer at the Sayed Jamaludin Institute of Higher Studies; Professor Junaid Iqbal, a Religious Scholar and a Senior Anchorman for A Plus TV, Dr. Mohammed Khan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Iqra University and Visiting Faculty at National Defense University Islamabad, and Professor Khurshid Ahmad, a Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the University of Peshawar.

The ink of the scholar – Aijaz Zaka Syed – Arab News

Dr. Akbar Ahmed is a man of many parts. Civil servant, diplomat, author, filmmaker (creator of biopic Jinnah) and teacher, he has also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the UK. Currently Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and Professor of International Relations at the American University in Washington, it is his extraordinary insight into Muslim societies around the world and contribution as a scholar of Islam that truly sets him apart from his tribe.
Distinguished author of such groundbreaking books as Postmodernism and Islam, Predicament and Promise (1992), Living Islam, From Samarkand to Stornoway (1993), Discovering Islam, Making Sense of Muslim History and Society (2002), and Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World (2002), he is perhaps the best living and walking encyclopedia of Islam around.
Given the unprecedented challenge of extremism and terrorism facing Islam and contemporary Muslim societies, it’s only natural that Prof Ahmed has constantly written and talked about it, analyzing often for the benefit of Western audiences the underlying causes and historical drivers of violence and radicalization, as he most recently did in The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (2013).

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Islam and the West: Promoting the Dialogue of Civilizations—Ambassador Akbar Ahmed – National Presbyterian Church

Islam and the West: Promoting the Dialogue of Civilizations–Ambassador Akbar Ahmed from The National Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Ambassador Ahmed welcomes former Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to American University

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Ambassador Ahmed (left) presents Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (right) with an autographed copy of his book, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam in Ambassador Ahmed’s office prior to an intimate luncheon at American University.

On Wednesday, August 3rd, Ambassador Ahmed was honored to host distinguished guests Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Ambassador Nasir Khan, Senator Abdullah Riar, and Mr. Zain H. Qureshi at American University for an intimate luncheon. The luncheon was the Pakistani delegation’s final stop on their visit to Washington. The delegation was received by Ambassador Ahmed, Mr. Arsallah Khan Hoti, a senior member of the Privatisation Commission of Pakistan, and Special Envoy Arsalan Suleman, the acting U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and Patrick Burnett, assistant to Ambassador Ahmed.

 

Once settled, the delegation was welcomed to the University by Dean James Goldgeier, Dean of the School of International Service, Dr. Louis Goodman, Dean emeritus of the School of International Service, and Ambassador Anthony Quainton, Distinguished Diplomat-in-Residence in the School of International Service and former U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Peru, Kuwait, and the Central African Empire. Ambassador Ahmed also presented His Excellency The Foreign Minister with an autographed copy of his book, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam (2010), as well as a copy of his newest film, Journey into Europe (2015).
After receiving a warm welcome to the University and learning more about the activities of the School of International Service and the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, the delegation was then treated to lunch in the Terrace Dining Room (TDR) at American University, organized by Elisa Frost, Research Assistant to Ambassador Ahmed, allowing the honorable gentlemen to experience the culinary delights of American campus life while further discussing the work of both Ambassador Ahmed and His Excellency The Foreign Minister.

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Ambassador Akbar Ahmed (center), Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (center-right), and Pakistani Ambassador Nasir Khan (center-left) gather with their delegations in the Terrace Dining Room at American University after an intimate luncheon to welcome His Excellency The Foreign Minister and his delegation to American University. The luncheon was the delegation’s final stop on their visit to Washington.

Humza Yousaf: a Pakistani Braveheart in Scotland – Amb. Akbar Ahmed, Express Tribune

The recent referendum in the UK to leave the European Union has brought widespread xenophobia to light throughout the country. Following the June 23 vote, one Muslim schoolgirl in England was told “Get out, we voted Leave”, while a Muslim native of Wales who campaigned for Remain received a Tweet saying, “Great news…you can pack your bags, you’re (sic) going home… bye then!” Meanwhile, in the week leading up to the vote, Labour MP Jo Cox, known for her advocacy for Syrian refugees, was fatally shot and stabbed by a man shouting “Britain First”.

These examples of hatred throughout the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote are truly shocking. Yet, they are not reason to lose hope in the plight of Muslims in the West. Some of the UK’s finest young leaders today are from the British Pakistani community, and are as British as any Anglican Englishman from Essex.

One of these top young Pakistani leaders is Scottish native Humza Yousaf, a member of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Minister for Transport and the Islands. A mere 31 years of age, Yousaf has already served for four years as Scotland’s first minister for Europe and International Development. During his rapid ascent to power he has faced racist attacks.

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