Press Release

Film Screening and Discussion on Muslim Art, Shared Heritage with West

CHICAGO, IL- August 8, 2013— An upcoming film screening and panel discussion in Chicago will explore how art can be a starting point to become more familiar with the people, places, history, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the U.S. 

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World will be screened Thursday, August 29, 2013, 5:30pm at the offices for the Chicago Council on American-Muslim Relations (CAIR–Chicago). 

The ninety-minute film, narrated by Susan Sarandon, explores the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work. The film takes audiences on a journey across nine countries, including Turkey, Spain, Mali, and Israel, and over 1,400 years of history, finding commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East. The film premiered last year in a national broadcast on PBS.

A post-screening panel will discuss the film’s themes. The event is produced by the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) in partnership with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), and the Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago). 

This event is part of Bridging Divides, a series that draws on the humanities to help local communities address seemingly intractable social, cultural and political divides. The Bridging Divides series is made possible in part by the generous support of The Boeing Company. 

Panelists include:

Dr. Marcia Hermansen, Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago. Her numerous books and academic articles in the fields of Islam and Muslims in America include Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians.  

Asad Jafri – A multidisciplinary artist, Jafri is also the former Director of Arts and Culture at the Inner-city Muslim Action Network. In 2012 he was appointed to the U.S. State Department’s Center Stage Artist Advisory Committee, an international exchange program to promote understanding of diverse cultures with performing artists.

Omer Mozaffar is an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Loyola University Chicago.  He has served as the Program Director of Muslim Leadership Academy (MLA) at the Islamic Foundation, and Director, Higher Studies Project with the Islamic Organization of North America.   

Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer is an artist-scholar who uses anthropology and performance art to explore the intersection of race, religion and popular culture. She is currently an assistant professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at Purdue University. Su’ad’s poetry was featured in the anthology Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak.   

Scott C. Alexander (Moderator) is Associate Professor of Islam at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he is also Director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program. He is a consultant on Catholic-Muslim relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. His most recent book project is entitled The Race to Goodness: an End to Triumphalism in Christian-Muslim Relations.  

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, will screen Thursday, August 29, 2013, 5:30-7:30pm at CAIR-Chicago’s offices at 17 N. State Street, Suite 1500, Chicago, IL 60602. The event is free to the public, though reservations are required and can be made by emailing to, or visiting the IHC website,  For more information on the event and/or the Bridging Divides series, please contact Geoffrey Banks, Director of Public Programs and Partnerships at the IHC, at (312) 422-5580, x225 or   

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233 

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