February 26, 2011 – Celebrating Early Prophetic History and its Inspiration in the Modern Day

At Park51, 5:00-7:00PM

Lectures, Q & A session
Food will be served

In the spirit of intrafaith peace and understanding, Park51 is honored to host a night of lectures, dinner, and discussion relating to the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace be Upon Him. This discussion will focus on how the early life of the Prophet reflects upon people today, and how his teachings apply to contemporary society, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.


Shamsi Ali, Imam of Islamic Culture Center of New York

Imam Shamsi Ali is currently the Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, which is the city’s largest mosque located in 96th street and 3rd AV Manhattan. He is Chairman of the Al-Hikmah Mosque in Astoria and the Director of Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens. Imam Ali serves as an Advisory Board member to numerous interfaith organizations, including the Tanenbaum Center and Federation for Middle East Peace. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the ASEAN Muslim Federation of North America. Imam Ali also is a Board member for the Partnership of Faith in NY, and co-founder of the UNCC (Universal Clergy Coalition-International). Furthermore, he is also Assistant Director and a Board member of the Muslim Foundation of America, Inc., and Chairman of the annual Muslim Day Parade in NYC. He also serves as the Vice President of the Asian-American Coalition USA (AAC-USA) and its UN Representative.

Professor Hassan Abbas, Quaid-i-Azam Chair, Columbia University

Dr. Hassan Abbas holds Quaid-i-Azam Chair at South Asia Institute and School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, New York. He is also a Senior Advisor, at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where he remained a fellow from 2005–2009. Since September 2009, he is also a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society’s New York headquarters working on U.S. relations with South and Central Asia. He received his Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and an LL.M. in International Law from Nottingham University, United Kingdom, where he was a Britannia Chevening Scholar (1999). He has regularly appeared as an analyst on security issues on CNN, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, BBC and VOA. His forthcoming book is Letters to Young Muslims on Science, Sovereignty and Sufis. He runs WATANDOST, which is a blog that covers Pakistan and its neighbors’ related affairs besides focusing on the US relations with the Muslim world.

Opening Comments and MC provided by Lawyer and Stand-up Comedian Azhar Usman.

Azhar Usman is a Chicago-based standup comedian. He is the co-founder of “Allah Made Me Funny–The Official Muslim Comedy Tour,” and he has performed in over a dozen countries on five continents. Azhar and the Tour have been covered by over 100 major world media outlets. Azhar recently produced a concert/documentary project entitled “ALLAH MADE ME FUNNY–LIVE IN CONCERT,” which is a Kings-of-Comedy-style feature-length concert film. Additionally, he is star and creator of “TINKU’S WORLD,” a semi-scripted alternative web comedy show, and he is also developing a television show and a humor book project. See more at www.azhar.com/biography

*This event is a closed media event. What occurs and what is said at and during this event is considered off the record and not for attribution.

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