U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and Richard Nash, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, will discuss “The Role of Religion in U.S. Foreign Policy” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 8, in the 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison

Free and open to the public, the program is sponsored by the university’s Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center. For more information contact the center, (651) 962-5650, or visit its website.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents Minnesota’s 5th District, is the first Muslim member of Congress. He spoke on Capitol Hill March 10 before a congressional hearing, chaired by Rep. Peter King, about what King has called the “radicalization” of American Muslims.

General Richard Nash

General Richard Nash

Nash, 60, has served in the military since graduating from Mankato State University in 1972. Named adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard in November, he has led forces in the United States, Bosnia and Iraq.

Dr. Adil Ozdemir and Dr. Terence Nichols, members of St. Thomas’ theology faculty and directors of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, said that religion is a critical factor when designing or implementing foreign policy.

Examples of powerful religious leaders and movements the United States must engage, they said, include the Dali Lama, Ayatolla Sistani and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.