Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
There is a rich and vibrant mystical tradition in Islam that locates human love as part of Divine love. This tradition, at once erotic and spiritual, dominates the poetic tradition of Islam symbolized by the incomparable poet Rumi.
Omid Safi is a leading Muslim public intellectual in America. He is a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. He is the chair for the study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization devoted to the academic study of religion. Omid is an award-winning teacher and speaker, and was nominated six times at Colgate University for the "Professor of the Year" award, and before that twice at Duke University for the Distinguished Lecturer award. He is the editor of the volume "Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism" (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003) where he inaugurated a new understanding of Islam which is rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious/ethnic pluralism. His work "Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam," dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, was published by UNC Press in 2006. His "Voices of Islam: Voices of Change," was published by Praeger in 2006. His last book was published by HarperCollins, titled "Memories of Muhammad," and deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.
He has appeared often in the New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and international media. He has recently been designated as the lead Islam writer for the Huffington Post, and is featured at Religion News.