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Progressive Muslim leader to speak on clash of civilizations

Omid Safi, assistant professor of Islamic studies at Colgate University, will speak on “Beyond the Clash of Civilizations: A Progressive Muslim Critique” at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday in Sinclair Auditorium.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is being sponsored by the religion studies department, the departments of history, international relations, and sociology and anthropology, the Asian Studies program, the Humanities Center, the Global Union, and the Chaplain’s Office.

Safi is co-chair of the Study of Islam section at the American Academy of Religion and editor of Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism. His areas of scholarly interest also include Islamic mysticism and the social and intellectual history of pre-modern Islam.

“Professsor Safi's new edited book is a hot seller, precisely because it offers an informed and engaged Muslim response to the ‘hot-button’ issues that face the Muslim world in a post-9/11 environment,” says Robert Rozehnal, assistant professor in Lehigh’s department of religion studies, where he specializes in Islamic studies. “His lecture will be timely and topical, and should draw a diverse audience from both the Lehigh campus and the local community.”

The “clash of civilizations” theory has gained currency in the post-9/11 era, says Rozehnal. “After the fall of communism, it is now used by political scientists and policy makers to depict Islam as the newest threat to the West, by Christian triumphalists to resume medieval polemics against Islam, and even by Muslims to perpetuate a notion of jihad against Western imperialism,” he says.

Information: (610) 758-3353

Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003

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