Christine Cox | December 5, 2018
The official launch of the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion started with prayers and blessings from multiple faith traditions.
Imam Mohammad Sirajuddin of the Islamic Society of Michiana shared words from chapter 96 of the Quran that encourage the furthering of human knowledge: “Read! Your Lord is the Most Gracious, Who taught by the pen, Taught the human being what he knew not.”
Tzvi Novick, an associate professor of theology who specializes in rabbinic law and liturgy, prayed the institute would summon our divinely endowed “ability to see in the Other a fellow creature of God.”
The Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, prayed for the institute to be a “catalyst for honest conversations that deepen understanding and mutual respect among us” and “allow us to grow closer to one another.”
The service in the multi-faith prayer room in Jenkins Nanovic Halls on October 25 began two days of inaugural events to celebrate the new institute, which will engage religions from around the world for the greater good.
The institute was established through a gift from philanthropists and local physicians Rafat and Zoreen Ansari and their children, Sarah (JD ’09), Adam and Sonya.
In a 2017 New York Times interview, Zoreen Ansari gave this explanation for the family’s generous gift: “We came as immigrants, and this country has given us so much. We want to give something back to America, but also to humanity. We want to promote the idea of equality.”
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