Monday, September 11, 2006

Library speaker 9/9/06 part of big Muslim doings

OP’s Committee for Just Peace in Palestine speaker asked if Zionism is racism, compared Israel-Palestine today to apartheid-era South Africa — "It's much worse,” he said.  He’s Farid Esack, a Muslim theologian and author of Qur'an, Liberation and Pluralism: An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity Against Oppression; On Being a Muslim: Finding a Religious Path in the World Today; and An Introduction to the Qur'an.

He had spoken two days earlier at Dominican U. ($10 a head) in a “dialogue series.”  DU says he’s been active in “the Call of Islam,” which as a message is said by the Muslim American Society to include this:

The Muslim regards himself as commanded by God to call all humans to a life of submission to Him, to Islam as a present participial act (42:15). His life goal is that of bringing the whole of humankind to a life in which Islam, the religion of God, with its theology and Shari'a, its ethics and institutions, is the religion of all humans.

He’s currently at Harvard Divinity, having just done a three–year stint at Xavier U., Cincinnati (where this blogger taught briefly in the late 60s).  Coming up at Dominican is a lecture 9/21 on “theological challenges and opportunities of Muslim-Catholic dialogue,” a lecture 10/30 on “Transforming the Self [sic], Transforming Society” an open meeting 11/8 of Chicago-based “Catholic-Muslim Dialogue.”

To Esack’s credit, he does not turn up in search of the Anti-CAIR or Front Page web sites, each of which has sensitive antennae when it comes to Islamism.  He does turn up in an Amazon-posted rave review of Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, by Omid Safi, to which he contributed “an essay that takes the document ‘Progressive Islam - A Definition and Declaration’ as its point of departure.” In the essay he

is very critical of the views expressed by many liberal Muslims, whom he accuses of suffering from the same myopia as their fundamentalist adversaries: presenting themselves as 'authentic' interpreters of Islam and canonizing certain statements in the sacred scriptures without regard for the context. He is equally dismayed by liberal Muslims' failure to challenge that other form of fundamentalism: that US interests represent the axis around which the earth rotates. [Italics added]


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