In December of 2014, Dr. Ahmad Iravani visited the nation of Iraq after his visits in Iran. Dr. Iravani received the invitation to visit Iraq from the office of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Saeed Al-Hakim. Ayatollah Al-Hakim is the most senior Shia clerics in Iraq after Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. While in his visit to Iraq, Dr. Iravani met with Grand Ayatollah Basheer al-Najafi, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ishaq al-Fayyad. Dr. Iravani was able to visit a charity established by Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Saeed Al-Hakim. The charity is responsible for taking care of 80,000 families that have been affected by the recent eruption of violence in the region. Dr. Iravani also visited a local refugee camp that hosts several families who have fled from their homes and territories controlled by the Islamic State and other extremist groups in the region.
While in Iraq, Dr. Iravani visited University of Kufa and met with the Dean of Law School Dr. Hadi Hussein Abid Ali and the Dean of Sharia. Dr. Iravani gave a lecture to the faculty, professors, and students. The lecture given by Dr. Iravani was centered on the need of dialogue amongst not just within the different groups within Iraq but the need of dialogue that extends to the West that would foster understanding between the Muslim world and West. Dr. Iravani told the audience at Kufa University about his own experience on how concrete dialogue can bring understanding not only to people with different faiths but to communities and cultures that will enable unity between the Muslim world and the West.
Dr. Iravani met with Dr. Hassan Nadhem, Director of UNESCO Chair for the Development of Interreligious Dialogue Studies in the Islamic World at the University of Kufa. Dr. Iravani and Dr. Nadhem discussed different ways that the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East (CSIME) and University of Kufa can cooperate to further understanding between the West and the Middle East. The two men proposed setting a program where students and scholars from Kufa can come to the United States through CSIME to study and conduct research at American institutions for number weeks.
During the meeting with the Grand Ayatollahs, Dr. Iravani gave them a detailed report about the lives of the Shiite Muslims living in the United States. Dr. Iravani urged the Grand Ayatollahs to use more and new tactics to curtail the new generation of Muslims in the West. Dr. Iravani urged the Grand Ayatollahs not to go back to the old ways but to modernize with the changing world to get the attention of young Muslims around the globe.
Dr. Iravani also met with the head of the Supreme Council of Iraq, the Deputy of the Iraqi government, and the head of the Islamic Dawa Party, which currently holds power in Iraq. Dr. Iravani visited University of Baghdad where he met with the Dean of Humanities and Sciences. Dr. Iravani lectured at the University of Baghdad where he spoke and shared his own personal journey that led him from Iran to the United States. The visit at the University of Baghdad was also an opportunity to explore partnership and cooperation between the University and CSIME. Before concluding his trip to Iraq, Dr. Iravani visited the Syriac Orthodox Church in Baghdad where he celebrated with the fathers and was able to spend the evening with refugees sheltered there from the affliction of war. Dr. Iravani last stop on his visit to Iraq was the Mutanabbi Street, a historic center of Baghdad bookselling filled with bookstores and outdoor bookstalls. Named after the 10th century classical Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi, Mutanabbi Street is well established for bookselling and has often been referred to as the heart and soul of the Baghdad literacy and intellectual community.