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Scholar to speak on Muslims, modernity

May 22, 2008  
By Karla Schneider  

Progressive Muslim movements and thinkers often are absent in American media reports dealing with Islam, contributing to a lack of public understanding of Islam's place in the modern world.

One of the world's leading proponents of progressive Islamic thinking, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, will visit Athens next week to address this issue. An-Na'im is the Charles Howard Candler Professor at the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, where he teaches international law, human rights and Islamic law.

"Abdullahi An-Na'im has developed a compelling agenda with which to engage his fellow Muslims in multi-leveled dialogues about progress in understanding Islam in a modern world," said Steve Howard, director of the Center for African Studies and host of An-Na'im's visit. "It is our privilege to peer over his shoulder for insight as to how this process may work."

Titled "Imagining and Realizing Progressive Islam: A Framework and Call to Action," the lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, in Bentley Hall 140.

This public lecture is the first in the Mohmoud Mohamed Taha Progressive Islam Lecture Series, named in honor of Sudanese teacher and Islamic reformer Mahmoud Mohamed Taha (1909-1985), a well-respected promoter of individual freedom, gender equality and democratic values in the Muslim world.

An-Na'im, a student of Taha's teachings, is author of the recently published "Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a" (Harvard University Press, 2008).  His current project, "The Future of Shari'ah: Secularism from an Islamic Perspective," is available in Arabic, Indonesian, Persian, Urdu, Bengali, Turkish, Russian and English.

This lecture series is supported in part by a two-year Social Science Research Council (SSRC) grant jointly awarded to Ohio University's Centers for African and Southeast Asian Studies to increase the exposure of media professionals and educators to Islam. Ohio University is one of 10 universities to receive funding from the SSRC's new Academia in the Pubic Sphere: Islam and Muslims in World Contexts program.


To speak with a university representative regarding this story, please contact Director of African Studies Steve Howard at 740-593-1834 or howard@ohio.edu or Assistant Director of the Center for International Studies Karla Schneider at 740-593-1842 or schneidk@ohio.edu. 

Related Links
Opening eyes to Islam:  http://www.ohio.edu/outlook/07-08/April/489.cfm 
Center for African Studies:  http://www.african.ohio.edu/  

Published: May 22, 2008 9:57 AM  

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