California’s Silicon Valley is among the most culturally and ethnically diverse regions in the nation. It comprises the quintessential rainbow tapestry, reflected in the various programs held annually to celebrate the region’s diversity.
2012 is the 10th anniversary of the Silicon Valley Reads. This year’s celebration is centered on the theme of “Muslim and American: Two Perspectives.” Over 100 events – discussions, panels, films, art exhibits and readings by authors – will occur between January and April, 2012
Among the highlights are two featured books, The Muslim Next Door by Sumbul Ali-Karamali and The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson. The authors have already held book signing programs at various locations, including Campbell Heritage Theatre. Willow Wilson will also narrate her extraordinary story at the Muslim Community Association of Santa Clara on Friday, January 27, from 6 – 8 P.M.
The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SVIC) is sponsoring projects to introduce Bay Area’s diverse religious groups – Indigenous peoples, Catholics, Protestant and Orthodox Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, B’ahai, Jews, Mormons Sikhs and others – to each other in various places of worship, using the metaphor from Ali-Karamali’s title, The Muslim Next Door.
Other highlights include panel discussions on what it’s like to be the Muslim next door with Mohammad Qayoumi, President of San Jose State University, Muhammed Chaudhry, President of Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and others, to be moderated by Barbara Marshman, Mercury News Editorial Page Editor. The event will be held at San Jose’s Tech Museum on February 16.
On March 31, a program featuring the poetry of the most popular poet in America – the 13th century Muslim mystic Jalaluddin Rumi – will be held at the Visual & Performing Arts Center at De Anza College. There will be readings of Rumi’s poems by Los Gatos Poet Laureate Parthenia Hicks, Cupertino Poet Laureate David Denny and Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Sally Ashton. There will also be several programs for children, teens and families.
The Silicon Valley Reads 2012 follows in the wake of the remarkable interactive exhibition called “Islamic Science Rediscovered” at the Tech Museum in San Jose, California, (http://www.thetech.org/islamic_science_rediscovered/). The exhibition celebrates “a Golden Age of Science and Technology” when, from the 8th to the 13th century, Muslims led the world in such fields as architecture, arts , astronomy, engineering, exploration, flight, mathematics, medicine, optics and water management.
Silicon Valley Reads 2012 is a testimony to the rich and vibrant culture that animates California’s Santa Clara County. The events are free and for all ages and inspire hope for a peaceful world.