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Hartford International University for Religion and Peace remembers Shia scholar

An online memorial service is being held Friday for a prominent Shia scholar who spent more than a decade at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace -- previously called Hartford Seminary.

Hartford International University professor Hossein Kamaly says his late colleague Mahmoud Ayoub wrote a highly-influential book on Shia thought, "Redemptive Suffering in Islam: A Study of the Devotional Aspects of Ashura in Twelver Shi'ism in the Middle Ages," and supervised an unfinished translation of a 20-volume commentary on the Koran.

"It is an urgent requirement of our time to give voice to advocates of dialogue and advocates of rapprochement," Kamaly said. "Religious rapprochement. Humanistic dialogue. Open dialogue. Critical dialogue. And Mahmoud Ayoub embodied that ethos."

Hartford International University President Joel Lohr says the professor had a deep respect for the dignity of every person he spoke with.

"He was born blind. So encounters with Mahoud were always special because of the way he engaged you, Lohr said. "He couldn't necessarily see you. And so he had a certain sense about him. About what was happening in the room, even though he couldn't see what was happening in the room."

Lohr says Ayoub was also known on campus for his welcoming nature.

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.

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