Sunday, September 18, 2005

islam in a pluralistic society

islam in apluralistic society-prominent scholor john l esposito speaks with mujeeburrahman kinalur
1.could you elaborate about the role of centre for cristian muslim understanding in making dialogue between both relegious?
The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU) at Georgetown University was created in 1993. CMCU is dedicated to fostering a better understanding of Islam and Muslim-Christian relations. The Center’s mission is to improve relations between the Muslim world AND the West and enhance understanding of Muslim IN the West, addressing: stereotypes of Islam; warnings of a clash of civilizations; questions regarding the compatibility of Islam and modern life from democratization and pluralism, to the status of women, minorities and human rights.

The mission of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, both national and international in scope, is achieved through teaching, symposia, international conferences and briefings. Center faculty and visiting faculty offer courses on Islam and the history of Muslim-Christian Relations for undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, Center faculty members serve as consultants to government leaders, diplomats, policy makers, corporate executives and members of the media.

2.what is the result of works of the centre since it established?

CMCU realizes its mission by training the next generation of leaders from the United States, the Arab and broader Muslim World, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. CMCU faculty members also serve as consultants to government leaders, diplomats, policymakers, corporate executives and members of the media. In addition, the Center is a think-tank for the international exchange of scholars and ideas. Its four full-time faculty have published over 100 books and authored more than 500 articles. The Center’s Director, John Esposito, also edited The Oxford History of Islam and The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. CMCU Faculty publications have been translated into major languages in Europe (Italian, German, French, Spanish), the Middle East (Arabic, Persian, and Turkish), and Asia (Japanese, Chinese, Urdu, bahasa Indonesia). In addition, CMCU co-publishes The Journal of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.

CMCU has sponsored and participated in conferences and symposia in over 50 countries and 40 states in the United States. A sample of programs the Center has co-sponsored globally include -- The Future of Jerusalem (Jerusalem), Southeast Asian Islam (Malaysia), Reconciliation and Conflict Resolution (Lebanon), Muslim Perceptions of the West; Western Perceptions of Islam (Pakistan), Asian Islam in the 21st Century (Thailand), Power-Sharing Islam (United Kingdom) and Religion and Global Order (Wales). In addition, CMCU has established linkages with centers and institutions across the world from England and Italy to Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.

Center faculty are regularly interviewed or quoted in major newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Times Literary Supplement, Le Monde, Al-Ahram, Al-Hayat, Al Mejelle, Al- Sharq Al-Awsat, Respublika, New Straits Times, Java Post, Ummat, Asia Week, as well as TV networks including CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, and the BBC. can define the duty of an islamic organisation in a pluralistic society?
This depends on the nature and mission of the specific organization. There are many different kinds of organizations: religious, cultural, political, social service. However, what they all share in common is the role of representing the message of Islam, its principles and values, in improving their own society and that of the ummah. Because today we all function in pluralistic societies, it becomes important for organizations, whatever their primary mission, to also foster values of pluralism and tolerance based upon mutual understanding and respect.

4.what should be methodology of islamic dawa work in a pluralistic society? what is the basic priciple of inter religious dialogue?
A basic principle is belief in an ultimate, transcendent reality, what we monotheists call God or Allah. Related principles are that God had chosen to create and to reveal or send his prophets and revelations to a world of diverse peoples, nations and faiths.
6.what is your opinion on islamic politics in a country where is muslims living as minorities,like india?

This depends on the country. But, if we were to focus on India, it could mean that Muslims are concerned about, work to promote and protect their political and social interests. But, at the same time, living in a multireligious pluralistic society and a democracy, they should also be concerned about the political life and stability of the country for all its citizens, non-Muslim and Muslim. modern global scenario,muslim extremist groups emerging for last few decades.could you agree with this statement?
I agree. Muslim extremist groups have increased and grown significantly in recent decades.
8.if you agree,what are the reasons?

The growth of religious extremism and terrorism has been due to the political, economic, and social realities and failures of many Muslim societies which have fed the growth of radical religious leaders, ideologies and organizations. Although they are a minority, they are a dangerous and deadly minority that have threatened Muslim societies from North Africa to Southeast Asia as well as the West. In recent years, this extremism has not only been a response to specific national situations but also to international situations. Thus, while some extremist groups remain confined to one country, global jihadis have also emerged like Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda but others as well
.9.there are some climes by muslim outfits that islam is fastest growing religion in states. do you agree with this statement?

Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world today. Whether it is first or second really depends on what country or part of the world we are talking about. In some areas it is the fastest growing and in others forms of Christianity such as Evangelical Christianity is predominant.

-- John L Esposito,University Professor & Founding DirectorCenter for Muslim-Christian Understanding


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