Wednesday, April 2, 2008

County, organizations aim to celebrate Arab culture

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Several programs will be held throughout April in celebration of Arab-American Heritage Month in Montgomery County.

The county government, the county’s libraries, Montgomery College and Muslim Women in Arts will sponsor events to highlight the diverse cultural traditions of the Arab-American community.

Elizabeth Homan, media relations director for Montgomery College, there are 100 non-citizen students from Arab countries studying at the college this semester.

‘‘The greatest number of non-citizen students from Arab countries come from Morocco,” she said.

The calendar of events throughout the county is as follows:

*Now through to April 30 — Muslim Women in the Arts’ Ninth Annual Exhibition, Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St. in Rockville. The exhibition showcases the artistic talents of Muslim women. A reception will be held at 7 p.m. April 25. For more information, visit www.nmwia.org or call the county’s Office of Community Partnerships at 240-777-2504.

*April 7 at 3 p.m. — ‘‘Promoting Understanding in a Diverse Community,” Montgomery College’s Rockville campus, Theatre Arts Arena, 51 Mannakee St. County Executive Isiah Leggett and Helen Samhan, executive director of the Arab American Institute Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and studying the Arab-American experience, will be the keynote speaker.

*April 15 at 11 a.m. — Arabic Music Workshop and Performance, Montgomery College’s Takoma Park⁄Silver Spring campus, Black Box Theatre, Communication Arts Center, corner of Chicago and Philadelphia avenues in Takoma Park.

*April 15 at 3 p.m. — Arabic Music Workshop and Performance, Montgomery College’s Rockville campus, Room 12451 of the Music Building, Mannakee St.

*April 20 at 2 p.m. — ‘‘An Arabic Celebration,” Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Ave. Event will highlight the Arabic culture through story time, henna hand painting, arts and crafts exhibit, traditional clothing and musical instruments. The program is sponsored by the Office of Community Partnerships of the Offices of the County Executive, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Montgomery County Friends of the Library and Arab community organizations from the Washington region. To request special accommodations (at least five working days in advance) or for more information, call the library at 240-777-0140.

*April 25 at 3 p.m. — ‘‘Cities of Lights,” film screening and interfaith dialogue, Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, Theatre Arts Arena, 51 Mannakee St. The movie, ‘‘Cities of Lights: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain,” deals with the triumphs, shortcomings, achievements and ultimate failures of a centuries-long period when Muslims, Jews and Christians inhabited the same corner of Western Europe.

An interfaith discussion about the film and the legacy of Islamic Spain with Alexander Kronemer, producer of the film; Lobna Ismail, president of Connecting Cultures; and Daniel Tutt, outreach coordinator for Unity Productions Foundation, will follow.

For more information about the Montgomery College events, call Enas Elhanafi at 240-567-1759 or send an e-mail to enas.elhanafi@montgomerycollege.edu.