On the evening of Wednesday, August 24th, 2011, IIIT held its 5th Annual Friends of IIIT Iftar/Dinner on the premises of IIIT. The event brought together about a hundred scholars, interfaith leaders, politicians and Imams representing universities, interfaith groups and Islamic centers in the metropolitan Washington area.
The four- hour program featured the Annual Isma’il al Faruqi Memorial Lecture delivered by Dr. Charles Butterworth, Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland and specialist in Arabic language and Islamic Political Philosophy. Professor Butterworth spoke on “Reading the Qur’an”, reflecting on its awesome linguistic complexity, the outsider/insider perspectives in approaching the Qur’an, and the continuity of its message in relation to earlier revealed scriptures. At the dinner that followed Governor John Sununu, former Chief of Staff at the White House for President George Bush, Sr. delivered keynote remarks. Governor Sununu reminded the audience of the utmost importance of engagement in the political process, particularly in the coming election year, and counseled them to stay united as they seek their rights within this process.
Other distinguished guests who made brief remarks at the dinner included Dr. Calvin Allen of Shenandoah University, Dr. Andrea Bartelo of George Mason University; Rev Clark Lobenstein ofThe Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, Rabbi Gerry Serotta of Clergy Beyond Boarders, Delegate Tom Rust of Virginia General Assembly, Chaplain Shreda Hussain of CENTCOM, Prince William County ophthalmologist Babur Lateef, and Imam Yahya Hendi of Georgetown University. Others attending included Dr. Ed Martin of Eastern Mennonite University, Dr. John Kiser, author and a director of International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, and John Faust of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.