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Spokesperson for U. S. Muslims to present Bethel College Peace Lecture

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Maher Hathout, a leading spokesperson for the American Muslim community, will lecture on "U.S. Foreign Policy: Its Effect on Christian/Muslim Relations in the United States" for the next Bethel College Peace Lecture. He will speak at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13 at the Muslim Community Center, Woodlawn and Highway 96, Wichita. Admission is free and open to the public. "Dr. Hathout is widely recognized as a knowledgeable and perceptive speaker," says Gary Flory, director of the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College. "I am extremely pleased that he will be here to help all of us better understand the impact our U.S. foreign policy can have on the cultural and religious relationships in this country."

Hathout chairs the American Muslim Political Coordination Council, which includes the American Muslim Alliance, the American Muslim Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He currently serves as vice-chairman of the Inter-Faith Alliance and is senior advisor of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

He has been invited to speak at the State Department and on Capitol Hill. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor, and he has appeared on television and radio talk shows, including C-SPAN and Frontline.

Hathout's most recent book, "Jihad vs. Terrorism" (2002), critiques the Islamic concept of jihad and the popular Western understanding of jihad to mean acts of violence under the guise of religion. Contrary to Western interpretations, Hathout emphasizes that the Qur'an characterizes the struggle of jihad as one which forbids violence against innocent civilians and abhors the notion of terrorism.

The lecture is the third of four 2002-03 Peace Lecture events focusing on Muslim-Christian relations.

Planned jointly by KIPCOR at Bethel College and the Islamic Society of Wichita, the lectures are made possible in part by the Peace with Justice Task Force, Kansas West Conference of the United Methodist Church and the J. Winfield Fretz lecture fund.

For information on additional events in this year's Peace Lecture series, contact Gary Flory or Jean Isaac at (316) 284-5217.

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