In an era of increased misunderstanding of the world’s Muslim community, Notre Dame recently launched a Quran Seminar project to encourage constructive new commentary on the Islamic faith’s holiest text. Project co-founder Mehdi Azaiez said the year-long Quran Seminar will draw numerous leading Muslim scholars and intellectuals from around the globe to offer their insight on 50 central Quranic passages. Azaiez said a main goal of the project is to demonstrate how new commentaries on the Quran’s biblical subtext help uncover the richness of its discourse. “The work of the Quran Seminar is to show that there is no separation between the Quran and the Bible, that reading the Quran with its biblical legacy helps us understand better the Quran and its message,” Azaiez said. Azaiez said two prominent Muslim intellectuals will give lectures this week as part of the seminar. Nayla Tabbara, director of cross-cultural studies for a Lebanese non-governmental organization dedicated to Muslim-Christian relations, will speak Thursday night about the Quran and the importance of interfaith dialogue at 7:30 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. Iranian professor Maryam Mussharaf will lecture Friday about mystical commentary on the Quran at 5 p.m. in McKenna Hall. Azaiez said he anticipates the seminar will positively change students’ perceptions of the Quran and of the Islamic community. “It is the possibility to learn from main leaders of Islamic thought today, to maybe be interested and discover more about the Islamic world and its culture,” Azaiez said. “I think it will be an occasion to improve the [students’] knowledge and hopefully break false representations of this world.” Moving forward, Azaiez said he hopes the efforts of the Quran Seminar project will encourage more scholars and students to offer their own respectful interpretations of the text, showcasing the pluralism of contemporary Quranic thought. “We hope this is the beginning of a project that will give ideas for Muslims and non-Muslims to continue in the same way our rich approach to the Quran,” Azaiez said.
Cian Healy continues to make very promising progress following his hamstring injury. Conor Murray is expected to be fit for the Italy clash in Rome, while Fergus McFadden and Craig Gilroy are the two big names to miss out after suffering a rib injury and concussion with Tipp’s Dave Foley also ruled out through injury. Ireland begin their campaign with an away game to Italy on Saturday with kick-off at half three. Meanwhile, Warren Gatland has today named his Wales side 48-hours early for Friday’s Six Nations opener with England at the Millennium Stadium. It shows two changes from the fifteen that beat South Africa back in November. George North returns to the left wing in place of the Scarlets’ Liam Williams, while Richard Hibbard comes in at hooker.Captain Sam Warburton has been named in the back row, and will be making his 50th appearance for his country on Friday night. England prop David Wilson is out of that game with a nerve problem in his neck But Dan Cole is available for selection after recovering from a foot injury. Schmidt said: “Jack Conan and Michael Bent did well against the Saxons but will return to Leinster, as will Noel Reid who was restricted to a brief cameo as he was covering a number of positions.“Rob Herring returns to Ulster and will look forward to having an opportunity for further game-time. Fergus McFadden has a rib cartilage injury, while Craig Gilroy will follow the return-to-play protocols after a concussion in the Wolfhounds game.”Dave Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald are expected to be fully fit to train in preparation for next Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Italy, while Eoin Reddan and Jamie Heaslip are progressing well and are likely to be available to train fully on Tuesday.