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April 13 @ 5:15 pm - 9:30 pm PDT
A panel talk with a Christain, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist
Speakers: Pastor John Shuck, Rabbi Anson Laytner, Sheikh Qasim Hatem, Hajj Wissam Bazzi, Ms. Catherin Merchant
Special appearance: Sheikh Fadhel al-Sahlani
The conference will premiere a document by Pastor Shuck and Mr Josh Townsley on on the Arbaeen 3-day walk that they participated in.
Rabbi Anson Laytner
Anson Laytner is a retired rabbi whose career in non-profit and academic settings focused on fostering positive interfaith and interethnic relations for the betterment of the community. He is the current president of the Sino-Judaic Institute and editor of its journal, Points East. A graduate of York University (Toronto), Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati) and Seattle University, Laytner is the author of Arguing with God (1990), co-author of The Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity (2005), co-editor of The Chinese Jews of Kaifeng (2017), and author of the forthcoming The Mystery of Suffering and the Meaning of God (2019). Rabbi Laytner is married to Richelle Harrell. He has two living daughters, three sons-in-law and five grandkids.
Sister Catherine Merchant
“Cathy Merchant is the Minister-in-Training and Head Organizer of the Living Interfaith Sanctuary in Vancouver, BC, an Interfaith community whose members comprise a wide variety of religious traditions. She has worked as an Interfaith activist, facilitator, and community organizer since 2008 for organizations such as the Compassionate Listening Project, the American Friends of the Parents Circle Families Forum, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She has a Master of Arts degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Washington and is currently working towards her Master of Divinity degree at the Vancouver School of Theology.
Cathy’s own spiritual path is Mahayana Buddhism, but she respects and believes we can learn from the paths of all living beings. She is married to an Ismaili Muslim, and the couple raise their children in an Interfaith environment.”
Shaykh Qasim Hatem
Shaykh Qasim Hatem was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his forefathers built one of the very first mosques in North America. His family moved to Washington State in 1993, where he would later earn a full-ride scholarship to play football for the University of Washington. Originally recruited as a linebacker, he would go on to earn a starting position in 2001 at nose tackle on the top-ranked and Rose Bowl-winning Huskies. Appearing in Sports Illustrated and being scouted by NFL teams, Shaykh Qasim seemed destined to fulfill the “All-American Dream.” Shortly after that spectacular finish in the Rose Bowl however, Shaykh Qasim incurred a life-threatening injury. Although he would not be able to play football that fall, he had the opportunity to return and play in the next two seasons to complete his collegiate football career. He chose a different path entirely: his faith.
A year after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2003, Shaykh Qasim traveled to Yemen to study in the blessed city of Tarim. He first enrolled in the Badr Language Institute and then moved on to the prestigious seminary, Dar al-Mustafa, to study the traditional Islamic disciplines under some of the most illustrious scholars of our time. Shaykh Qasim completed his rigorous studies in 2011, with primary ijazaat (licenses to teach) in: Shafi’i fiqh (jurisprudence), ’aqeedah (Islamic creed), nahu (Arabic grammar), tajweed (Quranic recitation in hafs), and da’wa (methodology of inviting to Islam).
Currently, Shaykh Qasim is the Executive Director and Resident Scholar of the Mihraab Foundation based in Seattle, Washington. He is also the Muslim Chaplain for Harborview and University of Washington Medical Centers and the Muslim Chaplain for a Washington State prison.
Pastor John Shuck
John Shuck began serving Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon, January 1, 2015. Since his ordination in 1992, he has served congregations in Lowville, New York, Billings, Montana, and Elizabethton, Tennessee. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and Princeton Theological Seminary.
In addition to his pastoral ministry with his four congregations, John has been engaged in public ministry with an emphasis on religious and scientific literacy and social justice. For seven years he hosted the weekly syndicated radio show, “Progressive Spirit,” and now hosts “The Beloved Community” radio show on KBOO radio in Portland. John’s primary passion is to become an honourable ancestor, to the extent, he is able, by leaving a world that his two-year-old granddaughter, Pippa, will be able to inhabit. No stranger to controversy, John feels the task of religious leaders in the United States is to speak out forcefully against the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex and the so-called Global War on Terror that he feels is based on lies and Islamophobia and profits from war and genocide. He is a member of Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth.
Hajj Wissam Bazzi
Wissam is recognized in the Direct Sales industry as one of the elite training experts in coaching Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, and Personal Development. He works directly with high-level executives in life and business planning and develops curriculum for companies who are improving staff in sales, management and leadership positions. He also works within operations departments to support and grow a team of professionals who manage the day to day operations of sales campaigns implemented across the U.S on behalf of its clients. Clients include, AT&T, Direct Energy and Comcast. Wissam’s background studies are in neuropsychology at the University of Michigan. His national motivational speaking and performance coaching career has allowed him to share the stage with the likes of Les Brown, Jairek Robbins the son of Tony Robbins and David Goggins. He has also been featured on TeDx and is in the running for the Ted Talk national conference in the future.