For centuries Muslims have found inspiration in a famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad: "God is beautiful and loves beauty."
Using various artistic and literary forms, Harvard University's Ali Asani explores the sacred, complex, and culturally diverse worlds of Islam in Muslim Journeys: Understanding Islam and Muslims Beyond the Headlines on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
"The arts help to humanize cultures where political discourse based on nationalist ideologies tend to dehumanize," Asani says. "[The arts] are wonderful bridges that connect people."
In his presentation, Asani discusses the important role the arts play in enhancing our understanding of the religion and cultures of Islam.
Asani is chair of the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department and the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. Since the events of 9/11 he has been particularly active in improving the understanding of Islam and its role in Muslim societies through workshops and public forums.
Among his books are The Bujh Niranjan: An Ismaili Mystical Poem, Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Muslim Devotional Poetry, and Al-Ummah: A Handbook for an Identity Development Program for North American Muslim Youth.
Asani's presentation complements the exhibit Echoes: Islamic Art & Contemporary Artists on display through March 30, 2014, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The event is co-sponsored by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kansas City Artists Coalition.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.