Compassion Conference

2012 Compassion Conference

Texas Pax Christi 2012 State Conference hosts an Interfaith Forum

Where in the World Is Compassion?
Creating Ongoing Relationships for the Common Good

Join us for interfaith discussions, panel discussions, and prominent speakers at a Conference on Compassion. Listen to voices from diverse faiths and create relationships for the common good. These events are shared in the context of the Charter for Compassion which all are invited to endorse and to participate in building Cities of Compassion.
Description: Courtesy of - Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University
Featured Speaker: Dr. John Esposito, author of Who Speaks for Islam, What A Billion Muslims Really Think and author of over 45

Friday, March 23, 5:30 pm. Exhibits, registration, music. 6-8 pm. Free and open to public, Dinner, Dr. Esposito, followed by a panel of Muslims of diverse groups sharing on compassion. RSVP requested for Friday night dinner. Dr. Ali Asani of Harvard University, Aesha Aboueisha, Dr. Fatma Arslan, Sarwat Husain, Fatemeh-Azadeh Rezapoor, Imam Omar Adib Shakir.  RSVP for Friday night dinner to or (210) 367 2042

Saturday, March 24, 8:30 am.
Registration, exhibits. 9 am. - 4 pm. Dr. Esposito of Georgetown University, Dr.Ali Asani of Harvard University, and Dr. Lopita Nath (Hindu), Shastri Linda Mockeridge (Buddhist), Dr. Judith R. Norman (Jewish), Dr. R. Scott Woodward (Christian), Imam 'Abdur-Rahim Muhammad will share on compassion and creating ongoing relationships for the common good.  All are welcome to this conference of Texas Pax Christi which is being broadened and enriched by persons of many faith traditions.

12:30 pm Lunch featuring foods mentioned in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sacred scriptures. Persons are invited to see the UIW Holy Land Garden of plants in these scriptures

Cost: $20.00 registration fee ($10.00 for students) which includes lunch. Pre-Registration required for Saturday events.
To register, contact: Karen Ball, 210-764-1267

Conference organized by San Antonio Pax Christi and the University of Incarnate Word Liturgical Outreach,with support from Mission and Ministry, Interfaith Council, Religious Studies, Student Services, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

With participating groups: Council on American-Islamic Relations SA, Islamic Education Center  , Ismaili Muslim Community,  Masjid Bilal ibn Rab'ah , Muslim American Society San Antonio Chapter, San Antonio Muslim Women's Association, Muslim Student Association of the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry, San Antoino PeaceCENTER,  the SoL Center at University Presbyterian Church, The South Texas Merchants Association
Description: Iraq 3 123
Location: University of the Incarnate Word, Marian Hall Ballroom (See number 29 on the UIW map

“Iraqi Women of Three Generations: Challenges, Education, and Hopes for Peace” an exhibit of photos and stories from Sister Martha Ann Kirk and Sister Patricia Madigan’s research in Iraq sponsored by the Gülen Institute, will be shown and is available to borrow. Read more.

March 25, 5 – 7 pm. World Religions: Sacred Music, "How do different religions use sacred music in the act of worship?" A free program sponsored by the UIW Interfaith Council. Contact  210-829-3128

Sleep Inn Special Room Rates for Compassion Conference participants:  Sleep Inn Medical Center (about 15 minutes northwest of UIW).   Phone: (210) 344-5400. Toll free  800-893-9912.  Fax: (210) 340-2666.

Dr. John L. Esposito is a University Professor and Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Esposito is Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Islamic Studies Online and Series Editor of The Oxford Library of Islamic Studies, Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (6 vols.); The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (4 vols.), The Oxford History of Islam, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, and The Islamic World: Past and Present (3 vols.). His more than 45 books and monographs include: Islamophobia and the Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century, The Future of Islam, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think (with Dalia Mogahed, Islam and Peacebuilding: Gulen Movement Initiatives (with Ihsan Yilmaz), Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? Esposito’s books and articles have been translated into more than 35 languages. Esposito received the Hilal-I-Quaid-I-Azam award from the government of Pakistan for his outstanding contributions in the field of literature and Islamic studies. To learn more of Esposito, see his website:

Description: Image Detail Dr. Ali Asani, who was born and raised in Kenya, came to Harvard as an undergraduate in 1973 and has been there ever since. A concentrator in comparative religion, he later pursued his doctorate work on Near Eastern languages, developing his dissertation on the ginans, the religious texts of the Ismaili branch of Islam. Capitalizing on his multilingual fluency in Urdu, Hindi, Persian, Gujarati, Sindhi, and Swahili, he began teaching at Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Today a tenured professor, his research focuses on Shia and Sufi devotional traditions of Islam, as well as popular or folk forms of Muslim devotional life. He is a Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, the Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University Dr Asani is a member of the Council of Conscience, a multi-faith, multi-national group of religious thinkers and leaders, which crafted the Charter for Compassion based on contributions submitted by people from all over the world.

Other Speakers and Participating Groups are:

Dr. Fatma Arslan received the B.Sc. from Bilkent University, Turkey, in 1999, the M.Sc from the University of Arizona in 2001, and the PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2007. Dr. Arslan has been actively volunteering for Institute of Interfaith Dialog Foundation since 2007. She has organized and participated in activities such as panels, discussion groups, talks and various grassroots activities that encourage dialogue between diverse people in San Antonio,TX. Dr. Arslan is married and the mother of three children. The Institute of Interfaith Dialog grew out of the need to address the question, "How can citizens of the world live in peace and harmony?" The Institute was established in 2002 by Turkish-Americans and their friends. The Institute aims to eliminate or reduce false stereotypes, prejudices and unjustified fears through direct human communication. The Institute organizes academic and grass roots activities such as conferences, symposia, interfaith family dinners and cultural exchange trips. Many participants are inspired by the discourse and pioneering dialogue initiatives of the Turkish Muslim scholar, writer and educator Fethullah Gülen. Headquartered in Houston, the Institute has branch offices in five states in the South-Central United States.

Aesha Aboueisha, who was born in Egypt, is a recent graduate from Health Careers High School. She is currently a student at UTSA where she is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Health and Pre-Med. She is the former president of the Muslim Student Association at UTSA. She aspires to be a Pediatric Neurologist. She is recognized as responsible, dedicated, hardworking,and organized. She enjoys hiking, reading, and learning about different cultures. She speaks as a representative of the Muslim American Society of San Antonio. MAS is one of the most dynamic and influential Muslim organizations in America with more than 50 chapters across the U.S. “Our vision is a virtuous and just American society. We aim to establish a role model Muslim community that is well integrated and positively contributing to our American society. We believe that Islam is a movement for positive change: comprehensive, moderate, relevant, dynamic, and engaging--a way of life. Our key priorities include: 1) investing in our youth, 2) encouraging a more cooperative environment between diverse communities and organizations, 3) establishing a stronger institutional presence for Muslims in America, 4) training American Muslim religious leaders, 5) providing sound information about Islam to the public, and 6) making America a better place for all.”

Description: Sarwat Husain is the nationally respected Vice Chair of the National Board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) based in Washington, DC. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties group. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. Ms. Husain has been profiled in The Face Behind the Veil: The Extraordinary Lives of Muslim Women in America and in many articles. She is the founding president of the San Antonio chapter of CAIR. Growing up in Pakistan, she attended Catholic schools and illustrates mutual respect between Catholicism and Islam from an early age. She has owned and operated alternate care facilities for the elderly and a child development center. She formerly served on the FBI Regional Advisory Council and the board of the San Antonio Mayors Commission. Ms. Husain founded Al-Ittihaad Monthly, which was the largest American Muslim newspaper in Texas. She is on the Board of Directors of the SoL Center at University Presbyterian Church. Ms. Husain holds an MA from the University of the Incarnate Word and was awarded Alumni of Distinction in 2010.

image Shastri Linda Mockeridge is a Buddhist leader from the San Antonio Shambhala Meditation Center In 1995, she attended a meditation weekend with the San Antonio Shambhala Center called “The Art of Being Human” and began a regular mediation practice and the study of the ancient teaching of Shambhala which focus on Basic Goodness and Enlightened Society and Vajrayana Buddhism. She became a Buddhist in 1997, attended teacher training in 1998 and Vajrayana seminary in 2003. She has taught Shambhala Buddhism in many cities, served inmates in Texas as a volunteer providing individual and group meditation instructions and sessions, offering meditation programs in many setting including professional conferences, treatment centers and schools. In 2010, she was chosen as one of the first 58 Shastri by the lineage holder of Shambhala International, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. A Shastri (literally in Sanskrit, “teacher learned in the texts and commentaries”) serves as a senior teacher of our city and regional Shambhala Centers. The position of Shastri is especially to represent and teach the integrated Shambhala Buddhist curriculum, “The Way of Shambhala.” Acharyas will continue with their broader roles as senior teachers of Shambhala; Shastris will teach on more local and regional levels. Shastri Mockeridge is the regional Shastri for the Texas/ Louisiana Region.

image Imam 'Abdur-Rahim Muhammad is Associate Imam at Masjid Bilal Mosque after serving for over 25 years as a Muslim Chaplain in New York State working with youth and adults in correctional institutions. He has operated group homes for at-risk youth and trained House-Parents for a Menninger Foundation-sponsored program. He was the first Muslim to give the opening invocation in the NY State Senate. He was part of an historic delegation of Muslim Chaplains visiting Mecca, Medina, and Cairo. His work with HIV/AIDS patients led to friendship with a Rabbi and then invitations to be part of the first Muslim-Christian-Jewish network in the Washington, DC, area (including the Holocaust Museum). He and the Rabbi traveled to Kazakhstan in 1995 to deliver medical supplies to suffering Muslims and Jews. He was invited to be part of a memorial and to help after the Oklahoma City bombing and in 2003 to speak at St. John’s Church near Ground Zero and meet with 9/11 survivors. In Auburn NY, he was Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Social Justice Task Force, Chair of the Community-Wide Dialogues to End Racism. He was awarded the NAACP’s 2005 Martin Luther King, Jr. Millennium Award and the 2007 Social Justice Award by the Syracuse’s Inter-Religious Council, InterFair Works.

Lopita Nath Dr. Lopita Nath, a native of India and an Assistant Professor of History at the University of the Incarnate Word, brings wisdom from Hinduism. She is the Coordinator of the Asian Studies Program and advisor of the Asian Studies Club at UIW. Not only has her research focused on Migration Studies and the challenges faced by refugees, she works extensively organizing and leading students in service learning with the San Antonio Refugee Resettlement Program administered by Catholic Charities. She is the UIW leader of President Obama’s “Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.” She is a Board Member of the SOL Center and has presented there on “Migration, a global Challenge: The Root Causes.” Her teaching and her research emphasize human rights and social justice. Recently she has presentedEthnic Identity, Forced Migration, and the Creation of a Diaspora: The Lhotshampa Exodus from Bhutan,” in the International Conference on Meanings, Cultures and Values in New Delhi and “Is this my Shangri-la? The Bhutanese Refugee Resettlement in San Antonio,TX,” at the 40th Annual Southwest Conference on Asian Studies in San Antonio. She holds a Ph.D from Gauhati University in Assam, India and has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar.
Description: Dr. Judith R. Norman is a Professor of Philosophy at Trinity University and an editor of Jewish Voice for Peace. JVP is a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights. She has translated Friedrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, The Antichrist, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, The Case of Wagner, and Arthur Schopenhauer's World as Will and Representation, (with Alistair Welchman and Chris Janaway) published by Cambridge University Press, 2005. She says, “Most of my research has been on various figures in 19th century German philosophy. I have found this to be a particularly rich and productive period for philosophy, and a time when philosophy was in conversation with other fields, such as music, literature and the natural sciences.” Read more of her work She has given numerous talks in San Antonio and south Texas on the Israel/Palestine conflict from a Jewish, human rights perspective. Jewish Voice for Peace supports the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination. They seek respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals. JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression

Fatemeh-Azadeh Rezapoor was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She speaks from the perspective of an Ithna Ashari Shi'i. The Ithna Ashari Shi’i are the largest of the Shi’i groups. They believe in twelve Shi’i Imams, hence the name which means “twelver’s”. In Iran she prepared to teach English as a Second Language. She speaks Arabic, Farsi and English. She is married to an Imam (religious leader) whom she met at religious school in Iran. They have three small sons. A few years ago they settled in San Antonio. Recently she spoke at Northwest Vista College on the topic of Immigrant Women. Currently she is majoring in Cell Biology and minoring in Chemistry at UTSA.

Description: Omar Adib Shakir is a full-time imam with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and resident imam of Masjid Bilal Ibn Ra’bh. Raised in the Baptist tradition, Imam Shakir embraced Al-Islam at the age of 16 under the leadership of Imam Deen Mohammed. He began ministry in New York at the age of 25. In 1988 he was elected Resident Imam, of Masjid Luqman in San Antonio, Texas—a position he held until 1996. During his eight-year tenure, he received two Outstanding Leadership Awards, one in 1988, and the other in 1991. In 2002 he received an interfaith award for Religious Man of the Year for his interfaith and community initiatives. Imam Shakir is a regular participant in ecumenical services, and interfaith dialog. He lectures at many of the local Colleges, Universities, Churches, on the Religion of Al-Islam. He has done several local, and cable public access T.V. shows, on Al-Islam. In November of 2002, in recognition of his interfaith efforts, Imam Shakir was invited by the Focalare Movement to be a part of the International Interfaith Summit in Rome, promoting unity, and universal brotherhood. He is married with three children, one daughter and two sons.

Description: R. Scott Woodward is the Academic Dean, Director of MA in Pastoral Ministry and Assistant Professor in Pastoral Theology at Oblate School of Theology. He is a Roman Catholic, the largest group of Christians. He is respected for his work in San Antonio organizing interfaith dialogues. He has been involved in Ecumenical relations and is a national resource for lay ministry formation. He has many years of experience in parish and diocesan ministry. Oblate School of Theology hosts a wide diversity of people and Dean Woodward notes that it represents “a constant challenge and a terrific sign of the Church’s universality.” He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Mexican American Catholic College.

Description: San Antonio peaceCENTER is an interfaith network of persons focused on the vision of God's peace. It supports learning peace in our individual lives and building peace within our communities. The peaceCENTER has published many fine books including the Haj Journal by Narjis Pierre, a planner of this conference, with photos by Ali Moshisadri, a leader at the Islamic Education Center. The book is a reflection on their December 2005 pilgrimage from San Antonio to Mecca to join approximately 2.5 million Muslims on Hajj, the foremost pilgrimage in Islam. PeaceCENTER books will be available at the conference. South Texas Merchants Association is a network of over 375  businesses which works for mutual benefit.   These businesses have partnered with government agencies, continually provided local jobs, and helped develop communities. South Texas Merchants Association has always believed in giving back and has generously assisted charitable and humanitarian organizations.  

Learn of the University of the Incarnate Word’s participation in President Obama’s Interfaith Service Challenge

The University of the Incarnate Word provides reasonable accommodation with adequate notice. To request disability accommodation for this event, visit and click on the ADA/Section 504 link.