Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive announced today that several leading Muslim clerics and thinkers from around the globe will participate in an unprecedented online dialogue about their religion, terrorism and human rights on the joint washingtonpost.com and Newsweek blog “On Faith,” which explores the intersection of religion and culture. The event, “Muslims Speak Out,” is being presented in conjunction with Georgetown University and will run from Sunday, July 22 through Friday, July 27. http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/

The Washington Post’s Sally Quinn — moderator of On Faith with Newsweek editor Jon Meacham — said that “Muslims Speak Out” marks the first time a major American news outlet has brought together so many Muslim leaders to ask their views on hot-button topics. “Muslim leaders say that the media don’t listen to their views, or represent them accurately,” Quinn explained. “This is an opportunity for these well-known men and women to speak in an open forum, and to educate people everywhere about their faith and its relevance in today’s world.”

The Washington Post Company will coordinate across its national media outlets to cover this critically important topic, each featuring unique stories and reporting. On Sunday, July 22, The Washington Post’s Outlook section will run articles about Islam and its religious tenets; the issue of Newsweek on newsstands on Monday, July 23, will feature this in its news coverage; and the entire week of July 22 the online magazine Slate.com will cover the topic through text and photography features. Post/Newsweek television stations across the country will also participate in the event, and content from On Faith will also run in newspapers around the world that are part of The Independent Media Group.

Participants in the online discussion include representatives from all points in the political spectrum, discussing provocative issues of importance to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The questions each will address in “Muslims Speak Out” include:

— What would you tell suicide bombers who invoke Islam to justify their actions?
— What are the rights of women is Islam?
— Is it permissible for a Muslim to convert to another faith?
— Does Islam’s view of male-female equality differ from the Western view?
— Under what conditions does Islam sanction the use of violence?
— How can laws against apostasy be reconciled with the Koranic injunction of “no compulsion in religion”?

All of the panel’s participants will also be able to respond to comments and questions left by readers, creating a dialogue and a bridge to mutual understanding.

On Faith’s “Muslims Speak Out” will include additional original content that further explores Muslim religion and culture for the six-day event. These companion pieces will not only offer other perspectives on Muslims and Islam in our world today, but bring other voices and experiences to this multi- faceted interactive discussion.
Scheduled to contribute pieces are President Jimmy Carter; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; former South African leader Nelson Mandela; Congressman Keith Ellison (the only Muslim member of Congress); University of Chicago professor Martin Marty; Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia; and John L. Esposito, Dr. Akbar Ahmed, Judea Pearl, and Bishop John Chane who will discuss together the relationship between Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Among the best-known prominent Muslim thinkers and religious leaders expected to take part in this event:

* Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, one of the leading Shi’ite Muslim religious authorities in the Islamic world, and a former spiritual adviser to the Lebanese Shi’ite resistance movement, Hezbollah;
* Tariq Ramadan, professor of Islamic Studies and senior research fellow at Oxford University. Selected by Time magazine as one of the world’s top 100 thinkers and scientists in 2005, Ramadan relinquished his appointment to a tenured professorship at Notre Dame University in 2004 after the U.S. government revoked his visa;
* Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Mufti of Egypt and a leading Sunni Muslim religious authority;
* Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia; and
* Sheikh Rashid Rashid al-Ghannoushi, the Muslim intellectual and exiled leader of Tunisia’s Islamist opposition movement who is widely considered an Islamic radical in his native country.

A full list of participants is available upon request.

CONTACT: Angela Hayes, +1-212-446-5104, ahayes@goldbergmcduffie.com , for Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive

Web site: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith


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