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Human Rights @ Duke Annual Lecture, “Human Rights, Faith, and the Border” w/ Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman is a world renowned scholar and theologically driven activist for human rights. He is the Founder and President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair Emeritus of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith coalition of clergy for peace and justice. He frequently writes for CNN, USA Today, The Guardian, Huffpo, and The Dallas Morning News.

His career started in his hometown of New Orleans where he served as the Imam of the Jefferson Muslim Association in New Orleans for 6 years and directed the “Muslims for Humanity” Hurricane Katrina Relief effort. It was in this time that he was noted on a national level as being a strong advocate of community service, interfaith dialogue, and social justice. He co-founded the East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association and was awarded for his outstanding civic achievement by the Mayor and City Council of New Orleans in 2010. He’s also the founder of MUHSEN, a non-profit umbrella organization serving the community to establish a more inclusive “Special Friendly” environment for our Brothers & Sisters of all Disabilities.

In July 2016, he marched with demonstrators in Dallas against the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. In the wake of the tragic shooting of officers after that protest, he was chosen to lead the invocation at the Presidential memorial alongside former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. The D-Magazine published a feature on him titled “The Religious Leader Dallas Needs.” His work in bringing people together was the subject of a BBC documentary in 2016, and work with refugees in Syria featured in PBS in January, 2017, and in 2016, he was a recipient of the United Nations Global Goals Award with Faith Forward Dallas. He led the airport protests in Dallas against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban in 2017, was arrested on capitol hill in front of Paul Ryan’s office in a sit in for comprehensive immigration reform, led a group of clergy to the Mexico border that intercepted a bus of children taken from their parents under the family separation policy, and has worked closely with the families of the victims of police brutality to amplify their cause. Most recently, he was recognized by CNN as one of the 25 most influential Muslims in America and included amongst the Fredrick Douglass 200 most influential Americans whose modern day work embody the legacy of the great abolitionist. In May 2019, he delivered the invocation in the US House of Representatives at the invitation of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.

Free parking will be available in the Epworth lot off of Buchanan Blvd. at the intersection of Trinity. For directions click here.

Sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute of Ethics, The Center for Muslim Life, the Muslim Students Association, Duke’s Amnesty International, Duke University Middle East Studies Center, and the Duke Islamic Studies Center.


September 23, 2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute
Muslim Students Association
Amnesty International
Duke University Middle East Studies Center
Duke Islamic Studies Center
Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute of Ethics


White Lecture Hall – Duke East Campus
1308 Campus Drive
Durham, NC 27708 United States
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