Leading thinkers and interfaith advocates to address RIS Convention

Mufti Mustafa Ceric and Pope Benedict XVI

(Toronto, ON) – An impressive array of leading thinkers and interfaith speakers is scheduled to address the largest Muslim Convention in North America that is set to begin in Toronto on Friday, December 24.

The Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention will take place at Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will address the theme, “Rules for the Road of Life:  Reviving the Ten Commandments In the Modern World.”

In its seventh year, the gathering aims to showcase well-known Muslim personalities and speakers “from across the globe sharing a common platform before the widest cross section of our community.”

This year’s headline speakers include leading thinkers and interfaith visionaries – John Ralston Saul, Tariq Ramadan, Ingrid Mattson, Eboo Patel, Mustafa Ceric and Attallah Shabazz.

John Ralston Saul is a well known Canadian author, essayist, and public intellectual. Saul has had a growing impact on political and economic thought in many countries. Declared a “prophet” by TIME magazine, he is included in the prestigious Utne Reader’s list of the world’s 100 leading thinkers and visionaries. Saul, a long-time champion of freedom of expression, was elected President of International PEN in October 2009.

Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, occupies a unique place among leading Islamic thinkers. Representing a new generation of Islamic reformers, Ramadan advocates the exploration and application of Islamic traditions and values within a modern pluralistic context, calling on Western Muslims to embrace Western culture rather than reject it. He has been listed among the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine and one of the Top 100 innovators of the 21st century by Time Magazine.

Ingrid Mattson is Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations and Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT. Mattson is the first convert to Islam and the first female to lead the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

Eboo Patel, founder of a national movement promoting interfaith religious cooperation was named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009. Patel is author of the award-winning book, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, and a regular contributor to National Public Radio and CNN. He is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University.

Mustafa Ceric is the Reisu-l-Ulema of Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Grand Mufti of Bosnia since 1993. Ceric is considered as one of the most powerful scholarly voices in contemporary Islam and is known to be a mediator between Islam and Christianity. He is the co-recipient of the 2003 UNESCO Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize for Contribution to World Peace and recipient of the International Council of Christians and Jews award for exceptional contribution to interfaith understanding. He graduated from the Faculty of Arabic Language and Literature at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo.  In 1987 he received his Ph.D in Islamic studies from the University of Chicago, where he studied under the late Dr. Fazlur Rahman.

Ambassador Attallah Shabazz, a producer, writer, and diplomat, is one of today’s most sought after and captivating keynote speakers, who has spoken throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. Shabazz is the eldest of six daughters born to Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X Shabazz. Appointed as Ambassador-at-Large by the Prime Minister of Belize, she is an advisor on International Cultural Affairs and Project Development.

Other well-known speakers slated to address the 3-day convention include Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, Habib Ali Al-Jifri, Abdal Hakim Jackson, Chris Hedges and Umar Faruq Abdullah.

Further information on the convention and a complete list of speakers can be found at: www.revivingtheislamicspirit.com