International Conference on Islam
"The event, which Gokcek helped organize and is being funded largely by the UW's Global Studies program, will feature some of the top Islamic scholars in the world. And since it comes at such a critical time, Gokcek's hoping the local media don't choose to ignore it, as they did last year.
"Not that it was entirely the media's fault, Gokcek says with a grin.
"As noted here last spring, Gokcek and other members of Dialogue International - a campus group formed in the wake of 9/11 - got so caught up in the pre-event planning that they made an embarrassing blunder: they scheduled it for the last weekend in April, traditionally the most frenzied weekend of the year in Madison...
"Indeed, while the primary goal of the conference is to promote the need for dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims and to discuss Islamic-related issues in a 'more scholarly, non-speculative way,' a secondary goal is to boost attendance by making the discussions accessible to the Madison community as a whole, Gokcek says. To that end, there will be question-and-answer sessions at the end of each presentation.
"While the participants will debate a wide range of issues, Gokcek points out that several speakers - notably Thomas Michel, former director of the Islamic office of the Vatican Council for Interreligious Dialogue - will address the controversy over Danish cartoons that poked fun at the Muslim Prophet Muhammad and ignited riots in Muslim countries."
All well and good, but don't forget our own humble conference the next day!