Thursday, September 07, 2006

Five Years After 9/11, 'Dialogue' with Islam Cause for Hope

Conservatives reading the title of this post will likely cringe. Let me state up front that I believe the war on terrorism must be fought on multiple fronts that include law enforcement and, at times, military action, but as I put forward in my seminars at Cornerstone on the rage of the non-West directed at the Western world, an essential element is missing, and that is intercultural understanding. With this in mind I was pleased to receive the latest update from The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life which included an interview with a Pakistani anthropologist on the topic of dialogue with Islam. Following is the introduction.

A native of Pakistan who served as his country's high commissioner to Great Britain, Akbar Ahmed offers the unique perspective of an anthropologist who has lived in and studied both Islamic and Western cultures. The BBC has described him as "the world's leading authority on contemporary Islam." He is the principal investigator for the "Islam in the Age of Globalization" research project at the Brookings Institution, with support from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and American University. The central thesis of Ahmed's work is that dialogue is required to reduce conflict between the U.S. and Islam. For his traveling dialogues with Judea Pearl, the father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, Ahmed was nominated as a 2005 finalist for Beliefnet’s "Most Inspiring Person of the Year" award. Ahmed, 63, was interviewed in the living room of his home, just outside Washington, D.C.

For a contrasting view, see Five Years After 9/11, The Clash of Civilizations Revisited

Featuring: Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, professor of International Relations, American University, Washington, D.C. His books include After Terror: Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations (2005) and Islam Under Siege: Living Dangerously in a Post-Honor World (2003).

Interviewer: Mark O'Keefe, Associate Director, Editorial, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

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