Iran News ...


07/11/10

Inter-faith dialogue best approach to counter Islamophobia: expert

TEHRAN, July 11 (Mehr News Agency) - "Education and inter-faith dialogue is the best way to remove Islamophobia," says Professor Liyakat Takim.

"Until today, many Americans think that Allah is a moon god and Muslims are required to kill non-Muslims, these misconceptions have to be corrected through proper education and Muslims need to reach out to non-Muslims," McMaster University professor told the Mehr news agency.


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Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What are the roots of Islamophobia?

A: If we understand Islamophobe by attacking the Prophet and slandering him then this starts in Europe soon after the death of the Prophet and spread of Islam in Europe. European writers attacked the Prophet viciously calling him epileptic and various other names. They even stated that Muslims have idols of the Prophet.

Q: Elaborate on the negative impact of this phenomenon on the international system?

A: This creates major hostilities and prejudices both ways. Whereas Muslims have always respected Christianity and Christians, Christians have not. In many instances, this has led to violence and discrimination against the other.

Q: How to remove Islamophobia?

A: Education and inter-faith dialogue is the best way to remove Islamophobia. Until today, many Americans think that Allah is a moon god and Muslims are required to kill non-Muslims, these misconceptions have to be corrected through proper education and Muslims need to reach out to non-Muslims. In turn, Muslims have to learn about the beliefs of other religions.

Q: Can religion act as a facilitator in diplomacy (religious diplomacy)?

A: Most religions lay down principles of universal discourse and human relations. However, most modern countries ignore such principles in the "national interests". Many so called Islamic countries flout religious principles in order to further their own personal agendas. IN matters of political dialogues, we find that many countries prefer to be politically correct rather than religiously or morally correct. Consequently, they violate all religious or moral normative teachings.

Professor Liyakat Takim is the Sharjah Chair in Global Islam at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. He has authored seventy scholarly works on diverse topics like Islam in America, the indigenization of the Muslim community in America, war and peace in the Islamic tradition, the treatment of women in Islamic juridical literature, reformation in the Islamic world, jihad in Shia law, the charisma of the holy man and shrine culture and various aspects of Shia history and figures. His second book titled Shi'ism in America.

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