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Illumination In Isolation: How Omid Safi Forms Spiritual Community During COVID-19

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Omid Safi
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Omid Safi, professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke, knew that the months of April and May would be difficult for the Muslim community this year. Like Easter and Passover, the holy month of Ramadan will be celebrated much differently due to COVID-19’s ongoing social distancing restrictions. 

Responding to a need for an unconventional way to gather, reflect, and inspire, Safi developed a series of online lectures called Illuminated Courses, centered on the poetry of 13th-century mystic poet Rumi and other Muslim sages. The work has drawn students from several religious backgrounds. Host Frank Stasio talks to Omid Safi about spiritually weathering the pandemic and how Illuminated Courses can help Muslims form a sense of togetherness during Ramadan, despite social distancing.

Stacia Brown comes to WUNC from Washington, DC, where she was a producer for WAMU’s daily news radio program, 1A. She’s the creator and host of two podcasts, The Rise of Charm City and Hope Chest. Her audio projects have been featured on Scene on Radio, a podcast of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; BBC 4’s Short Cuts; and American Public Radio’s Terrible, Thanks for Asking.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.