Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 14, 2007

Interfaith forums to address human rights consequences of 'war on terror'

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) and University of Iowa Press are co-sponsoring a Public Interfaith Forum in connection with the UI Press' recent publication and release of "Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak."

The UI Press and UICHR will host two separate discussion forums on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The UI Press will host the first forum, an interfaith dialogue on U.S. detention policy at Guantánamo Bay, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, in 1117 University Capitol Centre (UCC). It will be an open forum to share perspectives from different faith-based communities on issues relating to the U.S. responses to terrorism, and in particular, the detention policy at Guantánamo Bay and its impact. Members of the Johnson County Consultation of Religious Communities will participate in this forum.

Speakers include the following: Rabbi Jeff Portman of the Agudas Achim Congregation of Iowa City; Miriam Amer, National Community Services director for the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; the Rev. Nancy Haley of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City; the Rev. Mel Schlacter of Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City; the Rev. John Raab of First United Methodist Church in Iowa City; and Shams Ghoneim, coordinator of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Iowa Chapter (MPAC-IA).

The UICHR will host the second forum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in 1117 UCC. The second forum will be a panel discussion encouraging audience engagement on the question, "Is there a human rights response to terrorism?" as well as the implications from a human rights perspective of U.S. counterterrorism policies. The panel will share a variety of scholarly perspectives and provide context for understanding and evaluating U.S. policy.

Speakers include Ahmed Kanna, a postdoctoral fellow in UI International Programs and Corey Creekmur, associate professor of English and cinema and comparative literature in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The forums are being held in conjunction with the release of the book, "Poems from Guantánamo: the Detainees Speak," published by the UI Press. The collection brings together 22 poems by 17 detainees, most still at Guantánamo. Since 2002, at least 775 men have been held in the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The UICHR is part of International Programs, which enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

Established in 1969, the UI Press publishes books that fill the needs of scholars and students throughout the world, poetry and short fiction, and works of creative nonfiction. As the only university press in the state, Iowa is also dedicated to preserving the literature, history, culture, wildlife, and natural areas of the Midwest. For more information, visit

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Amy Weismann, UICHR, 319-335-0483,; Kelli Andresen, UI International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Writer: Kyle Simpson