New Minor to Focus on Islamic Studies

Posted: June 6, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies will offer a new minor this fall in Islamic studies. Through interdisciplinary study, the minor will allow students to explore Islam’s role and contributions beyond the Middle East and learn to appreciate the experiences that connect more than one billion Muslims worldwide historically and currently.

“Islam has a rich and fascinating history as a religion, culture, and civilization,” says Sumaiya Hamdani, director of the minor and assistant professor of history and art history. “It is globally important as well–Muslim societies range from Morocco to Indonesia, and large Muslim communities exist in the West. Seven million Muslims live in the United States alone.” Students will examine societies with significant or majority Muslim populations in the Middle East, North Africa, Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, as well as Europe and North America.

Requirements for the minor consist of a minimum of 21 credits of related course work, including 9 required credits, 9 elective credits, and one course in a foreign language of any country with a significant Muslim population.

Hamdani pointed out that current world events have created a need for understanding Islam and its culture. She feels the minor will not only bring students further opportunities to study the Islamic world through study abroad and cultural exchange, but will also help them acquire a specialization that can help with graduate study or government jobs and internships.

“George Mason, luckily, has many faculty members who specialize in Islamic history, religion, politics, and art. The Islamic studies minor will help students get recognition for taking these courses,” says Hamdani.

For more information, visit the program’s web site.

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