Past Event

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World: A film screening and panel discussion

The Illinois Humanities Council, in partnership with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), and the Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) present…

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, film screening and panel discussion

Join us for a film screening and panel discussion of Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, a documentary film narrated by Susan Sarandon.

This new ninety-minute film takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries, including Turkey, Spain, Mali, and Israel, and over 1,400 years of history. The film explores the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work. It finds commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East.

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World is a stunning achievement in documentary film making. It opens a window onto a sight of Islam so often neglected in the west. The aesthetic, beauty, and culture offer an opening for us all to start a dialogue on the values that we share and hold in common.” –Karen Armstrong, Award-Winning Author, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

A post-screening panel will discuss the film’s themes including how art and other cultural means can become starting points to become more familiar with the people, places, history, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the U.S.

Post-Screening Panel

  • Scott C. Alexander (Moderator) is Associate Professor of Islam at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he is also Director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program. He is a consultant on Catholic-Muslim relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. His most recent book project is entitled “The Race to Goodness: an End to Triumphalism in Christian-Muslim Relations.” He holds an MA. and Ph.D. in the history of religions (Islamic studies) from Columbia University, NY.
  • Dr. Marcia Hermansen is Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago. Her numerous books and academic articles in the fields of Islamic Thought, Sufism, Islam and Muslims in America, and Women in Islam include Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in Arabic and Islamic Studies. 
  • Asad Jafri as a multidisciplinary artist, Asad has created, curated, and presented original productions across many genres of music, theater, visual art, and dance. Jafri is the former Director of Arts and Culture at the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN), where he helped establish IMAN’s Community Cafe, Takin’ it to the Streets festival, and Arts and Leadership Retreat programs. In 2012, the U.S. State Department appointed Jafri to the Center Stage Artist Advisory Committee, an international exchange program to promote understanding of diverse cultures with performing artists.
  • Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer is an artist-scholar who uses anthropology and performance art to explore the intersection of race, religion and popular culture. She is currently an assistant professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at Purdue University. Su’ad’s poetry was featured in the anthology Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak. Su’ad has worked with the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in a variety of capacities including the Takin’ it to the Streets festival in 2007.
  • Omer Mozaffar is an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Loyola University Chicago. He was the recipient of the 2011 University of chicagp Graham School’s Humanities, Arts, and Sciences “Excellence in Teaching Award.” He has served as the Program Director of Muslim Leadership Academy (MLA) at Islamic Foundation, and Director, Higher Studies Project, Islamic Organization of North America. He holds two MAs from the University of Chicago (from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and from the Master of Liberal Arts program).

This event is free and open to the public. However, reservations are required and can be made online, via email at, or via phone at 312.422.5580.

We are pleased to partner with the Chicago Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) and the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).


This event is part of “Bridging Divides,” a series that draws on the humanities to help local communities address seemingly intractable social, cultural and political divides. The “Bridging Divides” series is made possible in part by the generous support of The Boeing Company and is part of the IHC’s Conversations on Contemporary Issues program.

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580 at least 72 hours prior to the event. For parking locations near the facility, please visit