Imam Yahya Hendi and Yehezkel Landau will discuss the role of religion and religious leaders in Middle East conflicts on March 26, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—“Religion in the Middle East: A Force for Violence or Peace?” will be the topic of a discussion at Vassar College between Imam Yahya Hendi, of Georgetown University, and Yehezkel Landau, of Hartford Seminary, on Thursday, March 26. Organized and sponsored by the Vassar Jewish Union and Vassar Islamic Society, the program is free and open to the public and will begin at 8:00pm in Sanders Classroom Spitzer Auditorium (room 212).



Imam Hendi and Professor Landau, friends and former colleagues at Hartford Seminary, will discuss the roles of religion and religious leaders in the Middle East conflict. An interactive question-and-answer session will follow.

Imam Yahya Hendi, the full-time Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, serves as Imam of the Islamic Society of Frederick (MD) and Muslim chaplain at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He has written numerous publications on topics including women in Islam, women and gender relations in Islam, the coming of the Messiah, and religion and Islam in the United States. In addition he is a member of and spokesperson for the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America, and serves on national and international interfaith councils, including the Appeal of Conscience and the National Inter-religious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East. He is the founder and secretary general of Clergy Beyond Borders and the founder and the president of Imams for Universe, Dignity, Human Rights and Dialogue. An adjunct faculty member at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, he has taught at John Hopkins University, Fordham University, and Hartford Seminary. He holds a master's degree in Comparative Religions from Hartford Seminary and is currently working on his PhD in Comparative Religion (

A faculty associate in interfaith relations at Hartford Seminar, Yehezkel Landau, received an A.B. from Harvard University (1971) and an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School (1976). In 1978 he made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel, where he directed the Oz VeShalom-Netivot Shalom religious Zionist peace movement during the 1980s.  From 1991-2003, he served as co-founder and co-director of the OPEN HOUSE Center for Jewish-Arab Coexistence in Ramle, Israel. Landau lectures internationally on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and Middle East peace issues, has authored numerous journal articles, co-edited the book Voices from Jerusalem: Jews and Christians Reflect on the Holy Land (Paulist Press, 1992), and authored a research report entitled “Healing the Holy Land: Interreligious Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine” (U.S. Institute of Peace, September 2003). Landau is also the director and lead faculty for the Building Abrahamic Partnerships program (

Program co-sponsors include the Vassar Africana and Jewish Studies Programs; Religion and Political Science Departments; and the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.



Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, March 5, 2009