Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pluralism in Islam-Karen

All great religions preach tolerance: Karen Armstrong

Mike Ghouse: Karen Armstrong is on a tour in Pakistan talking about Pluralism in Islam organized by the Aga Khan Foundation. Indeed, Pluralism is at the core of every religion, as God through religions communicates that we have to get along with all, every one has a right for his or her space and we need to honor that space and that uniqueness,

In the Daily Times, Pakistan
Renowned scholar says Islam only faith that emphasis pluralism

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: All great religions of the universe including Islam, Judaism and Christianity preach tolerance, says Karen Armstrong, a renowned scholar of world religions.

Armstrong asserted this while delivering lectures on ‘Tolerance in Islam’ and ‘Clash of Civilisations: Myths or Reality’ at the Jinnah Convention Centre.

Armstrong has written many books including the famous ‘A history of God; 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam’ that was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year. In her lectures, Armstrong highlighted the issues that lie at the core of the current debate on the conflict and misunderstandings between Islamic and the Western societies and the importance of tolerance in bridging the gap between the two civilisations.

Armstrong said that intolerance led to conflicts, atrocity and disaster and appropriate knowledge of the religions could help curb these problems.

“As opposed to the historical myths of a clash, in reality various cultures share far more commonalities than differences,” she argued.

Armstrong said that in fact this issue was part of the political imbalance and is not religiously inspired. She cited how the Western world in the past had blamed Islam for its progressiveness at a time when the west itself was mired in intellectual and spiritual poverty.

Pluralism: Armstrong said among the major world beliefs, Islam was perhaps the only faith that placed an emphasis on pluralism. She said Muslims had a rich and an illustrious past from which to draw strength from when faced with adversity.

She encouraged audience members to be positive, adding, “The great test of our time is to build a global community that is tolerant and compassionate.” She concluded the lecture by proclaiming her hope that as more people in the West learned about Islam, its history and message, the clash would recede.

According to NNI, the Aga Khan Foundation (Pakistan) organised the lecture as part of a series of events, conferences and seminars being held to mark the Golden Jubilee of His Highness Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili Muslims.

Predicated on the notion of fostering an inclusive and pluralistic understanding of Islam, the Golden Jubilee year will see a number of endeavours aimed at building bridges within and outside the Muslim Ummah. The Golden Jubilee will also catalyse new socio-economic, cultural and human development initiatives to realise the social conscience of Islam and improve the quality of life of the less fortunate in society.

This Golden Jubilee year falls at a time of increasing global complexities and when the search for mutual understanding amongst nations, faiths, and cultures remains essential to assuring global peace and stability.

In the last fifty years, polarisation among nations has resulted from mutual suspicion and ignorance and the misappropriation of faith for political and ideological purposes. This then calls for values of acceptance and compassion among and between the people of the world.


1 comment:

  1. If you’re interested in Karen Armstrong, you might want to look at her latest interview on Pakistan, Islam and secularism in the Reuters religion blog FaithWorld.



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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.