Nazeeh Abdul-Hakeem, a former Durham city planner who helped found Jamaat Ibad Ar-Rahman, an Islamic center and mosque at 3034 Fayetteville Road, will read from his new book “The Athaan in the Bull City” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
His self-published book recounts how Islam’s foundations in Durham rest upon the lives of black American Muslims. Over the years, the community has grown and changed as immigrants, Muslims from around the world, have given Durham a more international perspective.
The author estimates that about one-quarter of the more than 5,000 Muslims in Durham County today are black. A documentary produced by WRAL-TV in 2012 estimated there were 26,000 total Muslims in North Carolina.
Born and raised in Goldsboro as Ezekiel Louis Becton, Abdul-Hakeem earned a bachelor’s degree from N.C. Central University and a master’s degree in regional planning from UNC. After graduating, he was hired by the city of Durham and later that year converted to Islam and changed his name.
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A book signing will follow the reading that is sponsored by Durham Library Foundation.
‘Star Wars’ mythology
Druscilla French, a Chapel Hill novelist and cultural mythologist, will present a free lecture at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at the Chapel Hill Public Library.
The title of her talk is “Mythology and Star Wars: The Collaboration of Joseph Campbell and George Lucas.”
Sigmund Freud mentored C. G. Jung, who mentored Joseph Campbell, who mentored George Lucas, who mentored several generations of filmmakers and film-goers.
This event is sponsored by the C. G. Jung Society of the Triangle
The Black Celestial Choral Ensemble from Syracuse University now traveling the country on its spring break tour will give a free concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at First Calvary Baptist Church, 1311 Morehead Ave. All are welcome.
Sheldon Mitchell will start work Monday, March 14, as Urban Ministries of Durham’s new executive director.
He previously was director of family and neighborhood relations for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. A native of South Carolina who moved to the Triangle in 2012, he has also worked in executive leadership positions for New Foundations Children and Family Services.
Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina and a dual master’s degree in management and human resources development from Webster University.
He is married to Cassandra Mitchell, chair of the Department of Mass Communications at Shaw University. They have three sons.
New prayer room
A new prayer room has opened at Duke University.
Located in Keohane dormitory for undergraduate students, the sacred space is available for students of any faith.
Unlike other prayer spaces on the campus, like the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Divinity School prayer rooms, the new one is located in a residence hall instead of an academic building.
The room is primarily for individual use, not organized worship. Its location will make it more accessible in the middle of the night or when an academic building might be closed.
The staff at Perkins Library has also set aside Room 220 on second floor located near the open study area to be used for prayer and meditation by all members of the Duke community, both as individuals or in groups.
Christy Lohr Sapp, associate dean for religious life, told the student newspaper the prayer room is unique in that it will allow students to pray on their own, without the leadership or assistance of religious life staff.