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Controversial Imam to speak at UNC

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has led an effort to build a controversial inter-faith cultural center in lower Manhattan, will speak in March at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Abdul Rauf will deliver the 2011 Weil Lecture on American Citizenship on March 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Hill Hall on the UNC-CH campus. It's free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

The lecture, paid for by private funds, is the featured event in a series of conversations on American citizenship. It is sponsored by UNC's Institute for the Arts & Humanities.

Abdul Rauf, a naturalized U.S. citizen and Kuwaiti-born imam, founded and chairs the Cordoba Movement, which seeks to improve understanding among people of all cultures and faiths.

Abdul Rauf promotes the Cordoba House, a center to encourage multi-faith understanding at Park51, the proposed cultural center located near the site of the World Trade Center tragedy.

While Abdul Rauf plans to lead inter-faith activities at the center, he is neither speaking for Park51 nor raising funds for the center in his current appearances around the country, according to a UNC press release. He also has speaking engagements lined up at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and other universities.

Rauf's inter-faith center project, which some refer to as the "Ground Zero Mosque," has been controversial due to its location blocks from the site of the World Trade Center towers, which fell in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Abdul Rauf leads Masjid al-Farrah, a mosque at a different site in Manhattan. He also founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement, the first Muslim organization committed to bringing American Muslims and non-Muslims together through programs in academia, policy, current affairs and culture.

Students, faculty and staff with UNC One Cards may pick up lecture tickets beginning on Feb. 28 at the Memorial Hall Box Office, 140 E. Cameron Ave. – one ticket per One Card; two One Cards per person. Starting March 3, the remaining tickets will be available to the general public to pick up in person at the box office – limit two tickets per person.

The box office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The University recommends calling the box office at (919) 843-3333 first to confirm that tickets are available.

On March 16, the lecture will be broadcast live to an overflow location, the Hanes Art Center auditorium, where seats will be available to UNC students, faculty and staff as well as the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.

No tickets will be required. Hanes is beside the Swain visitor parking lot off East Cameron Avenue and an alley leading off Franklin Street beside the Carolina Coffee Shop.

John Kerry to speak at UNC

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate narrowly defeated by George Bush, will speak March 20 at UNC Chapel Hill.

The free talk will be held at 2:30 p.m. in Hill Hall.

Kerry will deliver the Weil Lecture on American Citizenship, a product of UNC-CH's Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

Kerry, of Massachusetts, is in his fifth term and chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 


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