TWU and Omni TV provide a front row seat into Islam at public symposium “Faith Forward: Religion, Culture & Conflict.”

Trinity Western University, in partnership with Omni Television, invites the public to attend a free two-day symposium entitled Faith Forward: Exploring Religion Culture and Conflict in which prolific Muslim speakers discuss Islam, Christianity and the part they each play in the world.

The story of this unique symposium started when Rogers Omni Television BC approached Trinity Western University with a proposal to develop a series of events in which religion and faith could be explored and made available to the community via broadcast. Canada Research Chair Dr. Jens Zimmerman along with Professors Paul Rowe and John Dyck set out to create a symposium that would look at religion from an interdisciplinary perspective, where faith would be seen as having a positive influence on society. Thus, Faith Forward was born. The project was embraced by Omni TV, which awarded $100,000 ($20,000 each year for five years) towards the production of the symposium.

Terry Mahoney, General Manager, Rogers OMNI Television BC, says, "There is no topic of discussion as globally pervasive as religion. Paradoxically, there is nothing is so divisive, yet so potentially uniting, as discussion of one's personal faith. The ground-breaking symposium, 'Faith Forward, Religion, Culture and Conflict', propose to thoroughly explore such matters in the hope that the tensions of the present and the tragedies of the past may one day yield to greater unity between all peoples of faith through respectful education and dialogue.”

The symposium is the first of its kind on the University's campus and moves away from the traditional booking of “Christian-experts-talking-about-Islam,” to expanding religious understanding by listening to Muslim speakers.

Says Rowe, “We wanted to extend the opportunity to authentic Muslim speakers who can discuss Islam and expand our understanding of Islam among Christians, so that we could learn, be respectful and sensitive.”

The two-day event will feature Canadian Muslim apologist, lecturer and television host Shabir Ally and Afghan-Canadian journalist and actress, Nelofer Pazira, who appeared in the critically acclaimed film “Kandahar.”

Says Rowe, “Shabir Ally comes from a very conservative Muslim background and can speak authentically for what Muslims believe. He has had a wealth of experience discussing the difference between Christianity and Islam from a theological standpoint. And then you have Nelofer Pazira. Nelofer represents a very different background than Shabir. She is female, central Asian, and has an important story to tell about Muslim culture and the people that live in their communities. "While both speakers represent the immigrant experience they also have had authentic Canadian experiences concerning their Muslim faith, which is really interesting set against the multicultural makeup of our country.”

Mahoney comments, “OMNI BC is delighted to partner with Trinity Western University in this important and encouraging initiative. As a University founded upon the principles of respect for all peoples of faith, Trinity Western University was our first choice in this initiative. Not only is the University recognized for its academic excellence, but it's also known for the integration of faith into the classroom. As an institution of higher learning, TWU is a safe place to discuss faith, religion and politics openly and honestly. We are very excited for this first symposium and to be partnering with TWU over the next five years.”

As well as the lectures, audiences can also take part in public roundtables and even attend a mosque tour at the Al-Hidayah Mosque in Port Coquitlam. A student forum will also take place.

More information can be found by calling the Faith Forward phone line at 604-513-2027 ext 3859 or by checking the website at

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from business, communications and education to biotechnology and nursing, and offers 15 graduate degrees in such areas as counseling psychology, business, the humanities, theology and administrative leadership.

Schedule of Events

Faith Forward: Exploring Religion Culture and Conflict – Event Listings

Tuesday February 20, 2007

Al-Hidayah Mosque Tour
Bus leaves TWU at 1:00pm

Symposium Lecture #1 - Islam in the Western Context
Canadian Muslim apologist, lecturer and television host Shabir Ally

7:00pm in the North West Auditorium – Trinity Western University

Refreshments provided after symposium

Wednesday February 21, 2007

Student Forum with Shabir Ally

10:00am in the Atrium – Trinity Western University

Roundtable discussion with Islamic community leaders. - Muslim Voices

Topic: Islam and the Canadian mosaic

1:30pm in the North West Auditorium – Trinity Western University

Symposium Lecture #2 - In Search of My Afghanistan

Afghan-Canadian journalist and actress Nelofer Pazira

7:00pm in the North West Auditorium – Trinity Western University

Refreshments provided after symposium

Seating is limited. To reserve tickets please call the Faith Forward phone line at 604-513-2027 ext 3859


Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum