October 19, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Abdulaziz Sachedina, a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, will give a series of three lectures at Amherst College this fall on “The Ideals and Realities of the Islamic Community.” Sachedina will begin his discussion of the Shiite sect with a talk titled “Sucession to the Leadership: The Genesis of Shiism” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Cole Assembly Room of Converse Hall. His second lecture, “Messianic Shiite Theology and Its Political Ramifications,” will be given on Thursday, Nov. 30, and he will discuss “Modern Theological-Juridical Shiite leadership” on Thursday, Dec. 7. The talks are free and open to the public, and sponsored by the religion department and the Willis D. Wood Fund.

Sachedina, author of Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism, is professor of Islamic and Shi’ite studies; theological and juridical studies in the department of religious studies at the University of Virginia. He was educated at the University of Toronto, the Aligarh Muslim University in India and the Ferdowski University in Iran, and has taught in Canada at Wilfred Laurier, Waterloo and McGill Universities, at Haverford College and at the University of Jordan, Amman. Born to a West Indian family in Tanzania, Sachedina has been praised for his reassertion of “Islam’s potential as a source of tolerance and pluralism” (Middle East Journal). A prominent member of the Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism objective within the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Sachedina works to bring knowledge of Islam as a peace-building religion to the general public. He is currently conducting a study titled “Islamic Law for Muslim Physicians: The Spiritual Foundations of Biomedical Ethics in Islam.”