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French Islamologist Louis Massignon honored in Tehran


TEHRAN, June 27 (Mehr News Agency) -- French Islamologist Louis Massignon (1883-1962), who greatly influenced the attitude of the West towards Islam, was honored on Monday evening at the Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia (CGIE) in Tehran.

CGIE director Kazem Musavi Bojnurdi described him as the founder of studies on Iranian and Islamic Sufism, adding that his researches are still among the most reliable sources of Islamology in the world.

"Louis Massignon began writing the history of Sufism with his masterpiece 'Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr' and we can say that this unparalleled work marked the beginning of such studies," said Massignon's Orientalist compatriot, Charles-Henri de Fouchecour.

"Contrary to his predecessors, he thought and expressed that research on other religions' influences on Sufism is redundant," he added.

"Massignon believed that Sufi terms originated from the Holy Quran and that they formulate a new spirituality," he explained.

The ceremony was attended by French Ambassador to Tehran Bernard Poletti, director of the Iran and France Friendship Society Sohrab Fotuhi, director of the Institute of Wisdom and Philosophy of Iran Gholamreza Avani, and many other Iranian cultural figures.

"Every line of his book on Hallaj contains many lessons," Avani said.

"We do him an injustice if we consider him to be only a researcher. He was an Islamologist who was profoundly familiar with Islam," he added.

"In some ways Massignon was more distinguished than other Orientalists. He was not influenced by the various attitudes prevalent in schools of Islamology and Orientalism," Avani noted.

The ceremony was cosponsored by the Institute of Wisdom and Philosophy of Iran, the Iran and France Friendship Society, and the Iranian literary monthly Bokhara.

The organizers paid tribute to De Fouchecour presenting him with a beautiful edition of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh.

De Fouchecour had previously been honored on June 23 in Tehran by the Mahmud Afshar Yazdi Foundation for his lifetime research and activities on Persian language and literature.

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