Office of University Communications & Marketing

UNA Program to Feature National Leaders From Christian, Jewish and Islamic Faiths
Feb. 8, 2011



FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama Distinguished Events Series will kick off 2011 with a dialogue on religion featuring Boston University professor Dr. Stephen Prothero April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Guillot University Center’s Performance Center.

Prothero will speak about his book “Religious Literacy” and how Americans are religious but don’t know what they believe in or why. He, along with three other panelists, will discuss how Americans can join together in modern society to learn and better understand diverse religious beliefs.

Prothero has spoken about religion on National Public Radio, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, FOX and PBS, as well as on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, “The Colbert Report” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He also contributes regularly to The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

“Given the situation our world is in today, this program will hopefully allow us to come to a point of discussing individual religious beliefs, and with this understanding will hopefully come more wisdom,” said Debbie Chaffin, director of Educational Technology Services and chair of the Distinguished Events Series committee.

Clerics from the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths will serve on a panel and answer questions from the audience at 8 p.m., with Prothero acting as the moderator. The panel will include Rabbi Micah Greenstein of Temple Israel in Memphis, Tenn., Bishop William Willimon of Birmingham and Sheikh Ossama Bahloul, imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Rabbi Greenstein has been named one of Memphis’s most significant leaders, is a two-time president of the Memphis Ministers Association and is on the executive board of the National Civil Rights Museum. Bishop Willimon is the author of 60 books and has been the bishop of the United Methodist Church since 2004, where he leads 157,000 Methodists and 792 pastors in North Alabama. In addition to working as an imam in Tennessee, Texas and Germany, Ossama has traveled to Germany, Belgium and Holland, where he has applied his graduate theories on Muslims and non-Muslims.

A book signing with Prothero and the panelists will take place after the event.

The UNA Distinguished Events Series was developed in 2005 and brings speakers to UNA’s campus each semester to expose the community to a variety of arts and culture. For more information about the series, contact Chaffin at 256-765-4297 or dkchaffin@una.edu.