Monthly Archives: November 2014

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December Dialogue

JIDS’s next dialogue will be on Sunday December 14th at 2:30 at the Islamic Center of Maryland, 19411 Woodfield Rd., Gaithersburg, MD.  The topic will be God: Mystery and Manifestation.  Dan Spiro will serve as the “progressive Jew” on a panel that also consists of an imam, a traditional Catholic, and an unabashed atheist.  The four panelists will be talking about God-related topics at several venues during the next several months, and if you miss this one, you can find out about other appearances on the calendar at

December 14th Panelists

Haytham Younis is a Muslim teacher, lecturer and imam who has been involved in education for many years.  An American of Syrian extraction, Imam Haytham went on to study Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Islamic University of Medinah, Saudi Arabia, and resided there from 1990 to 2002.  Since returning to his native United States, he has been busy teaching, lecturing at schools and houses of worship, counseling prison inmates and others, delivering Friday sermons and leading congregational prayers in the greater Washington DC area.  Imam Haytham is also a co-founder of the Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington (JIDS

Dennis Skocz, PhD is an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of the District of Columbia and the Northern Virginia Community College.  A career diplomat for some 30 years, Dennis now works as a consultant in political-military affairs and strategic planning.  Dennis is active in numerous philosophical societies and widely published in academic journals.  A practicing Catholic, Dennis looks to religious experience and I-Thou encounter of the human and divine as the basis of religious thought and affiliation.  Dennis’ thoughts regarding Christianity have been enriched by his study of Hindu religious practice and expression as a Fulbright scholar in India and this assignment to the U.S. Consulate General in Madras/Chennai.

Daniel Spiro is the author of Liberating the Holy Name: A Free-Thinker Grapples with the Meaning of Divinity, as well as two novels of ideas, Moses the Heretic and The Creed Room.  He coordinates two dialogue societies – the Washington Spinoza Society, a discussion group sponsored by the Goethe-Institute Washington, and JIDS.   He is active in working for peace in the Middle East and has been a member of multiple groups devoted to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. When not pursuing his love of philosophy and religion, Daniel works as a full-time lawyer who specializes in investigating and litigating against corporate fraud.

John Shook, PhD is research associate in philosophy and instructor in science education for the University at Buffalo. He is also President of Partners for Secular Activism, a non-profit offering online classes of interest to the secular side of life at   Since 2006, he has worked for several secular and humanist organizations, and for several years he was President of the Society of Humanist Philosophers.   John has authored and edited more than a dozen books about science, pragmatism, naturalism, ethics, politics, and religion and has published articles in various academic journals and magazines. His most recent book is The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between).