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University of Iowa News Release

June 2, 2006

Five Bahraini Clerics To Visit Iowa City, Eastern Iowa

In an effort to foster understanding and religious tolerance, five Bahraini clerics will visit Eastern Iowa June 7-10 to speak with area religious scholars, communities and organizations. The Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) is sponsoring the visit as part of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.

For three weeks the guests will stay in the United States to engage in dialogue and encourage moderation and solidarity against extremism. Each guest is an active religious scholar and public lecturer, and together, the group represents both Shia and Sunni religious communities in Bahrain. The visitors plan to share their experiences in public lectures when they return to Bahrain.

Participants include: Hameed Shaikh Ebrahim Naser Al Mubarak, head of Supreme Shariat Appeal Court-Shia Department, Ministry of Islamic Affairs; Fareed Mohamed Hadi Abdulqader, chairman of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Arts College, University of Bahrain; Shaikh Adnan Abdulla Hussain Al Qattan, judge in the High Shariat Court Hall, Ministry of Justice; Nasser Ahmed Khalaf Al Asfoor, head of Supreme Shariat Jaffariyat Court, Ministry of Justice; and Nawaf Rashed Mohamed Rashed Abdulla, administrative coordinator for Islamic Affairs Undersecretary, Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

During their time in Iowa City, the Bahrainis will travel to the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, the Mother Mosque of America and meet with a variety of Iowans to discuss five main topics: religious tolerance, interfaith dialogue, interfaith understanding and how to fight extremism, solidarity against extremism and Islamic studies programs at American universities. The State Department's main objective for the Bahraini's visit is to communicate a well-rounded image of American culture and society and of Muslim life in America.

CIVIC is one of two organizations in Iowa that supports the U.S. Information Agency's International Visitor Leadership Program, and is a community organization of volunteers "serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis," said CIVIC Executive Director Tom Baldridge.

CIVIC is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For a more detailed itinerary of the Bahrainis' stay, call the CIVIC office at 319-335-0351, located in 1111 University Capitol Centre.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, lois-gray@uiowa.edu. Program: Tom Baldridge or Marianne Weiss, 319-335-0351, thomas-baldridge@uiowa.edu; Writer: Erika Binegar.