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In Dialogue: Artist as Citizen

Apr 15, 2018
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
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With Wajdi Said, Executive Director, Muslim Educational Trust

In Dialogue is an occasional series of interdisciplinary, discussion-based seminars that explore art on view at the Museum in relation to works in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. During the 2017–18 program year, we will investigate the idea of artist as citizen. How do artists participate in our social and political world through their artwork?  Fazal Sheikh’s Common Ground exhibition calls attention to the many Muslim people experiencing displacement around the world, often as a result of war and persecution. It invites people of all faiths and backgrounds to fight hatred and prejudice, to deepen our understanding of Islam, and to recognize Oregon’s vibrant and diverse Muslim communities.

In conjunction with Common Ground, Wajdi Said, the Co-Founder and President of the Muslim Educational Trust, will lead a seminar on Madinan Society and Pluralism. Mr. Said will provide an overview of the fundamental beliefs of Islam, including the five pillars, significant holidays, and the impact of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In 622 CE, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) founded the first free state in Madinah. We will discuss the values and ethos of a “Madinan” society. The latter portion of the seminar will address Islam from a modern standpoint and the anti-Muslim sentiment in America, as well as solutions for the growing prejudice. An overview of the ethnic and social demographics of Muslims in the United States and in Oregon, and a brief history of our local community will also be covered.

Since coming from Yemen to the US in 1988, Mr. Said has worked with the Muslim community as well as the larger community to promote a better understanding of Islam. He has been involved in numerous interfaith committees and panels throughout the years. He is one of the founders of the Interfaith Council of Greater Portland, an organization which came together as a result of 9/11, as well as one of the founders of the Arab, Jewish, Muslim Dialogue, The Institute for Christian Muslim Understanding, Islamic Social Services of Oregon State, and the Beloved Community Coalition. Mr. Said is a commissioner with the City of Portland New Portlander Policy Commission, and serves on the board of Neighborhood House, Portland State University Middle East Studies Center, and the Arab and Muslim Police Advisory Board. Mr. Said has spoken at countless colleges, high school, organizations and churches, promoting a better understanding of Islam and Muslims. He currently serves as the President of the Muslim Educational Trust (MET) which he co-founded in 1993.


Space is limited. Registration required.

The In Dialogue series is cosponsored by Portland State University–University Studies.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989 – 2013