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Research Chair in Islamic Studies at U of A Would Be First in Canada

The Edmonton Journal
Published Wednesday, January 18, 2006

EDMONTON - Edmonton Muslims hope to raise a million dollars to ensure the University of Alberta has Canada's first research chair in Islamic studies.

The Alberta Government has pledged to match the money raised to pay a new professor, specializing in Islam, to study and teach at the university.

With another million promised from the university, an endowed Chair in Islamic Studies is expected to be filled by July.

The position will encompass multiple areas of study, and is intended to facilitate a greater understanding of Muslim religion and culture through research and education.

The chair, created by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities, is in partnership with the U of A.

The university hopes to attract "outstanding candidates," U of A president Indira Samarasekara said Tuesday.

"Edmonton is absolutely the place for this to happen," said Daniel Woolf, dean of arts, referring to a strong, active Muslim community with historical ties to the city. Larry Shaben, chairman of the council of Muslim communities, announced contributions of $150,000, $50,000 and $25,000 by three families.

"I would like to see ... promotion of a greater understanding of how Islamic civilization has impacted politics, and medicine," said Danisha Bhaloo of the Ismaili Students Association.

© The Edmonton Journal 2006

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