Sociology Professors from Ramapo College and Rutgers University to Appear at SUNY Orange for April 6 Event

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- Noted scholars Dr. Erin Augis and Dr. Zakia Salime, experts on the topic of women in Islamic societies, will jointly deliver a panel presentation entitled “Islam, Women and Shari'a: Case Studies from Senegal and Morocco” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 6 in the Gerry Forum of the Rowley Center for Science and Engineering on SUNY Orange’s Middletown campus.

Augis, professor of sociology at Ramapo College, has conducted significant research on Muslim women in Senegal and West Africa. Salime, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, has published articles on her extensive study of women and Shari’a in Morocco and North Africa. Dr. Michael Strmiska, professor of world history at SUNY Orange, will introduce the speakers and moderate the presentation. Dr. Cory Harris, chair of the College’s Behavioral Sciences Department, will lead a robust post-presentation discussion. Admission to the presentation is free and the event is open to the general public.

“Shari’a is the system of Islamic law, which is based upon the Qur’an, other sacred texts, local custom, and different schools of interpretation which are constantly evolving,” Strmiska explains. “Its meaning, range and application vary depending on local conditions and the views of religious and legal authorities. Some common misunderstandings of Shari’a arise from assuming that the most extreme interpretations and applications of Shari’a are the only form of Shari’a when in fact Shari’a varies considerably in different countries.”

“There seem to be many fallacies and stereotypes related to Islam and its followers. Those misconceptions have infiltrated our interactions and relationships across society, often with very negative and grave consequences,” says said Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “Some of those issues have also found their way onto college campuses across the country, including a recent event on our Middletown campus. Our two speakers have in-depth knowledge of Islam and Islamic societies, so I am quite hopeful their presentation will help us create a broader understanding of Islam, Shari’a and the status of women in Islamic societies.”

The appearance by Augis and Salime is the latest in a series of events requested by Young--and organized by a wide cross-section of academic departments at SUNY Orange--to help the College address, in a thoughtful way, the topics of civility, inclusivity, political and religious differences, safety and security, race relations, and many others.

The presentation is being coordinated by the College’s Global Studies and Behavioral Sciences departments, with support from the Board of Trustees, Office of the President, SUNY Orange Foundation, Committee on Institutional Diversity and Equity, and the academic departments of Criminal Justice, Arts and Communication, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Interdisciplinary Studies. For more information, contact Strmiska at (845) 341-4345.

On Wednesday, March 30, the College will host panelists from the American Civil Liberties Union, New York State Assembly and SUNY Orange will gather for a discussion entitled “Promoting Civility in a Democratic Society” at 7 p.m. in the Gerry Forum.


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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940