By Patrick Burnett
Amb. Ahmed (center), Patrick Burnett (second from right), and Ahmed family at ISNA Convention 2015 in Rosemont, IL
As a Catholic who grew up in Northern Ohio, I never thought I would be speaking on a panel at the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) annual Convention and Film Festival a mere four months after receiving my bachelors degree.
Yet on Sept. 5, I had the opportunity to speak alongside Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies at American University and former Pakistani High Commissioner to the U.K., Dr. Amineh Hoti, Director of Pakistan’s Center for Dialogue and Action—speaking a mere 36 hours after arriving in the U.S. from Islamabad—and Michael Wolfe, renowned author and director, of the Unity Productions Foundation, on a panel at the ISNA Convention in Chicago to discuss Muslims in the media.
But more importantly, I represented the new film Journey Into Europe, one of the most important films to date on dialogue between the West and Islam, at its launch, acting as an interfaith ambassador working to promote understanding and goodwill on behalf of my country and culture.
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Will the film be available in DVD format? This might have a broader outreach and impact. So valuable a message and timely.