It was a real loss to our Arabic faculty at BYU when my longtime friend and colleague Dil Parkinson retired a couple of years ago. (By the way, he and his wife are now just back from an LDS humanitarian services mission to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan — another item that is simply begging to be included in your already overflowing “Christopher Hitchens Memorial ‘How Religion Poisons Everything’ File.”) But, gathering with most of our faculty this afternoon for our annual pre-fall-semester meeting — Kirk Belnap is leading a BYU intensive Arabic program in Amman, Jordan, and Ahmad Karout is back for a while in his native Syria, from which he will nonetheless be teaching classes for us online — I was impressed with the intelligence, strong backgrounds, and ability of my colleagues and with their sheer desire to teach and serve. And that is to say nothing of the other faculty who teach in our broader Middle East Studies – Arabic or MESA program.
For various program-general scheduling reasons, we’ve had to move my MESA 250 class (Introduction to the Religion of Islam) to an unusually late time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I expect that that is the reason that enrollment in the class is sharply down from previous semesters — along with the fact that the class’s final examination is currently scheduled for the very last period of the very last day of fall semester final examinations. (Alternatively, the low enrollment might reflect the fact that my reputation as a surpassingly mediocre teacher is finally getting out.)
Anyway, on the off chance that somebody out there in the audience of this blog is a student at BYU or knows somebody who is, I’m sharing this little announcement:
Introduction to Religion of Islam
Study of the sources, history, principles of religion, law, and practice from the founding of Islam until the present period.
MESA 250 (Middle East Studies – Arabic)
4 PM – 5:15 PM
There are no required prerequisites – e.g., no knowledge of Arabic or any other Islamicate language – for the class.
It is possible, though not certain, that the time and location of the class could be adjusted with the approval of class members.
Islam is a major factor in today’s world, both globally and within the United States and Canada, and knowledge of the faith and of the peoples and cultures influenced by it can benefit students with a wide range of career plans.
I will also surely find some way to improve on the scheduled time for the class’s final examination.
Posted from Park City, Utah