Dr Aref Ali Nayed, Chairman of Kalam Research and Media, gave a keynote speech at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville on "Scriptures as Operational Artifacts" at the 2015 Graduate Colloquium in Scripture, Interpretation, and Practice on the theme of "Weaponizing Scripture" on Sunday 22nd March 2015. Professor Peter W. Ochs, who is the Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia, gave an introduction to Dr Aref Nayed and the importance of his work.
Full video of the lecture can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEQnR_8_CZQ
The conference examined ways in which scripture served as a resource for/against the communities that are formed by it, as well as how it is instrumentalized for formational, popular, political, and/or polemical agendas. The various presentations at the conference also uncovered ways that scripture transforms the character of the debates and purposes for which it is deployed, examining such cases intra-traditionally, ecumenically, inter-religiously, or between religious and secular spheres. Graduates students who presented papers at the conference included Evan Anhorn (Brown University), Ezra Blaustein (Chicago), Michael Carlson (Yale), Mitchell Chilcot (Duke), Ben Dillon (Duke), Khadeega M. Ga‘far (AUC), Matthew Goldstone (NYU), Adraine Gooden (Howard), Mark Randall James (Virginia), Christine Landau (Virginia), Valerie Landfair (Regent), David Priddy (Wake Forest), Meg Stapleton Smith (Yale), and Sunil Yadav (Chicago).