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New grant helps UT Arlington Library bring about better understanding of Muslim cultures

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: art, humanities, religion

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The University of Texas at Arlington Library has been awarded a collection of materials to help students, faculty, staff and supporters of the UT Arlington community learn about Muslim cultures in America and around the world.

Fifteenth-century map by Piri Reis of the coastline of Andalusia and the city of Granada. Courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Fifteenth-century map by Piri Reis of the coastline of Andalusia and the city of Granada. Courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf initiative, which includes Muslim Journeys, a collection of 25 books, films and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, was received through a grant from the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

UT Arlington is among the top 20 most diverse universities in terms of racial and ethnic makeup, said Rebecca Bichel, dean of the UT Arlington Library. “And our campus diversity is a reflection of our region’s diversity. This grant provides an opportunity to celebrate diversity.”

The books selected for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf have been organized across five themes: American Stories, Connected Histories, Literary Reflections, Pathways of Faith, and Points of View.

The bookshelf is not intended to be a comprehensive study of Islam as a religion or of the Muslim world in all its complexity. Rather, it seeks to introduce readers to some new and diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, practices, and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

“This grant provides an opportunity for the Library to help community members learn about each other’s faith, history and culture,” Bichel said.

Bichel said the books and films are for the library to permanently add to the collection and will be available for checking out in mid-February in the Popular Reading Collection on the first floor of the Central Library.

In accordance with the grant, the Library and its partners will sponsor a variety of programs throughout 2013 intended to be entertaining, informative, and thought provoking. For a complete schedule of Muslim Journeys Bookshelf events at UT Arlington, visit

"We are partnering with a variety of community and university groups such as the Council of American Islamic Relations and the Daughters of Abraham to promote the series," Bichel said.

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf grant was awarded to 842 institutions and humanity councils across the country for use in presenting public programs and was made possible with a gift from the Carnegie Corp. of New York. The Doris Duke Foundation provided additional support for the arts and media components for Islamic Art. 

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,800 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. Visit to learn more.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.