Award-Winning Wittenberg Professor Organizes Iftar Celebration To Further Link College And Community
Springfield, Ohio — Less than three months after two prominent Wittenberg professors were given awards by the Springfield An-Nur Islamic Center, the university will host a Community Iftar celebration at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, in Room 105 of the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning.
Although Ramadan demands a strict fast during the day, it usually ends with a meal that brings family and friends together. The Community Iftar at Wittenberg will be educational in nature, featuring a discussion of Ramadan and the experience of being a Muslim in America. There will also be a question and answer session.
The public is invited to the Community Iftar, a meal that breaks the fast during the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan. Jerry Pankhurst, professor of sociology, said this is an important opportunity for members of the Wittenberg and Springfield communities to learn more about Islam, one of the fastest growing and most influential religions in the world today.
A member of the Wittenberg faculty since 1984 and a noted scholar of the societies of Russia and the Post-Soviet region, Pankhurst has also developed a teaching and research specialization on Islam and Islamic societies, with special interest in Egypt. The observance marks the third straight year that the campus has held a Community Iftar celebration, which is unique in the way that it links the college and community.
On July 26, Pankhurst was given an award for outstanding achievement in education by the Springfield An-Nur Islamic Center, while Warren Copeland, professor of religion at Wittenberg and mayor of the city of Springfield, was recognized for outstanding achievement in government. The awards were given as part of the center's "A Celebration of Comm-Unity" events, during which local Muslim leaders announced plans for the building of a community center and other initiatives.
The Ramadan fast will be broken with traditional dates and fruit juices at approximately 7:30 p.m. Then the brief sundown prayers for Muslims will be led by Imam Mustafaa Islam from the An-Nur Islamic Center.
Campus support for the Community Iftar was provided by the Faculty Endowment Fund, the Global Studies Program, the Office of Multicultural Programs, the Sociology Club, the Office of the Pastor, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President. For more information, contact Pankhurst at 327-7506 or by e-mail.
Written By: Ryan Maurer