Interview on NPR on Riyaaz Qawwali

I was recently interviewed on NPR about Riyaaz Qawwali, a group out of Austin, TX.

Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Hofstra University, says that many qawwaliartists working in South Asia today have limited themselves. He believes this American group is bringing the music back to its roots. 

“You know, I think there’s been so much concern about what is Islam, and what isn’t, politically speaking and artistically speaking,” Rashid says, “that there’s been a push in modern qawwali to actually sanitize it and make it very sterile — and almost rule-bound — rather than ecstatic and devotional. For me, I think what Riyaaz Qawwali is doing is trying to go back to that very exciting, innovative space that qawwali was.”

And so to Rashid, it’s totally logical that such a burst of inspiration would come from deep in the heart of Texas. “In fact,” he says, “it seems natural that we would get a new flourishing of Muslim devotionals in a place like America, where we do have this freedom of religion.”

I previously wrote about the group of OnBeing, in a piece called Qawwalis, Found Sounds, and Benghazi: Locating the Sacred in a New York Church

Marble Church Sermon

Marble has a rich history of participating in interfaith activities and one of the highlights is our “Trialogue” under the leadership of Dr. Michael Brown. The focus of the service is a conversation among spiritual leaders of three faiths: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Ask a friend to join you for this unique and memorable worship experience.

With A Mighty Arm And An Outstretched Hand from Marble Collegiate Church on Vimeo.

State of Formation – The World is on Fire, so I rode The Ark

State of Formation – The World is on Fire, so I rode The Ark.

On Sunday, September 21, I was blessed to be asked to join The Ark, organized by Auburn Seminary and Groundswell (with help from lots of named and unnamed supporters) for the People's Climate March. The New York Times found it an “odd juxtaposition," that so many faith groups were next to one another, missing the point that we all share one planet. More importantly, the NYT is in the business of showing us in conflict, not the billions of ways we get along with one another because of all the things we have in common. 

 Like so many others on Green Faith Street, I marched because it is a moral imperative. Although I could easily point to the Quran and show how defiling and wasting water are potentially the greatest sins in the tradition, I want to move immediately to a broader discussion. The ethics of caring for God's creation is a means of being God conscious.

State of Formation – I am ي، ن، ر

State of Formation – I am ي، ن، ر.

It is obvious that most Muslims across the world find the actions of the so-called “Islamic State” abhorrent; from condemnation in the US and UK, to satire in the Middle East, there is no point in elaborating my own personal opposition to them. However, while they may denigrate the name of the religion, and spitting on the declaration of faith they sewed into their flag, I will not give them the power to define my faith in relation to them. So, I am not ISIS, let me tell you who I am.

Speaking Engagement: Presentations on Islam at East Meadow Public Library

EMPL receives Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys Grant
Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys is a scholar-led reading and discussion program designed to foster opportunities for informed community conversations about the histories, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the United States. This is only available to sites that have been selected to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. ALA and NEH invited the humanities councils and public, academic, and community college libraries that are participating in the Bookshelf to apply for Let’s Talk About It. In May 2013, NEH and ALA selected 125 libraries and humanities councils to participate in the project. Each participating site will focus on one of five Muslim Journeys themes, hosting a five-part, scholar-led reading and discussion series exploring the theme and related books.

We have chosen the theme American Stories. Our scholar is the esteemed Dr. Hussein Rashid from Hofstra University. Look out for our accompanying programs. Please see our schedule of book discussions on Thursdays at 7 p.m. below:

Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alford January 9

The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States (selections) Compiled by Edward E. Curtis, IV February 6

Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel March 6

A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, From the Middle East to America By Leila Ahmed (Special Guest Speaker) April 10

The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson May 8

Reem Hussein, Islamic Calligraphy Sunday, January 26
American born Muslim artist Reem Hussein holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. She
completed her training in interior design and the restoration of antiques and decorative arts objects at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Her study of antiques, and preserving of the visual aging qualities of metal, wood, and ceramics inspire the background renderings for her paintings. Traditional calligraphy is produced with a reed pen that the calligrapher herself carves, and homemade. Though Reem still practices her art using this medium, her finished works are usually in watercolor. Join us for this interactive presentation. 
Reservations open on Monday, January 13.

NYC Event: Eboo Patel at Hofstra University, Wed. Apr. 18, 2012


A conversation with Dr. Eboo Patel
Recipient of Hofstra University’s 2012 Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize and Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core

Moderated by Dr. Hussein Rashid
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Religion, Hofstra University

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4:30-6:30 p.m.
The Helene Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center, South Campus

37697 Guru Nanak Poster.pdf

NYC Speaking Event: Sharing Sacred Space in Jerusalem – Mar. 27, 2012

Media Contact: Rubenstein Associates, Melissa Mandel Kvitko, 212-843-8060,

Fordham Law Presents Interfaith Speaker Series on Sharing Sacred Space in Jerusalem

Fordham Law School’s Institute on Religion, Law & Lawyer’s Work will host Part I of its Interfaith Speaker Series, titled “Sharing Sacred Space in Jerusalem,” on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at Fordham Law School in New York City. The event will be cosponsored by the Auburn Theological Seminary and The Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

The discussion will examine how religious space, particularly Jerusalem—a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims—has been historically shared; how religious communities have interpreted customary law; and how they have engaged each other to overcome and resolve conflict.

Nelson Tebbe, Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School will moderate the event, which will include lectures by Hussein Rashid, Adjunct Professor of Religion at Hofstra University; Mark Movsesian, Frederick A. Whitney Professor of Contract Law and Director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University; and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights – North America.

The event is free and open to the public. CLE credits are available.

Title: Sharing Sacred Space and the Law

Date: March 27, 2012

Time: 6 to 8:30 pm

Location: Fordham Law School, James B.M. McNally Amphitheatre

Sponsor: The Fordham Law Institute on Religion, Law & Lawyer’s Work

Media contact: Melissa Mandel Kvitko, Rubenstein Associates, 212-843-8060,

Additional contact: Ana Renata Dias

Telephone: 212-636-7699  

Website: Institute on Religion, Law and Lawyer’s Work

CLE information: