Thursday, May 15, 2008

Islam and The West-1


For over 30 years, I have been involved in inter-faith work, first with Prince Charles and Prince Hassan of Jordan, then with Prince Charles and Prince Turki Al-Feisal of Saudi Arabia, and now with the World Economic Forum’s C-100 initiative to promote a dialogue between Islam and the West. I am a founding member of the C-100 and on its core group.
I have also attended conferences on Islam and the West in London, Istanbul and other cities. I am an active member of the Next Century Foundation whose international Media Council gives prizes to journalists who contribute to better understanding both in and towards the Middle East.

I wrote the paper Islam 101 for non-Muslim members of the C-100 in January after I noticed that some of them were straining under a test of commitment and resolve in the face of little progress and continuing terrorism. I have attempted to reassure them that Islam is a religion of peace and moderation.

When I studied Islam at university in Beirut, oil was a dollar a barrel. I studied it for its own sake, long before the onset of terrorism and turmoil. I have since updated my academic knowledge when I helped my son in his work after he also chose to study Islam and Islamic history at Oxford University.

A Muslim reader must already know the material of Islam 101, and he may disagree with my interpretation which is personal and hence subjective. I advise him to follow the words of Sheikh El Azhar or the mufti of his own country.

The Muslim reader should find the second part more informative and challenging.

This study is intended to defend Islam, not Muslims. I receive daily material attacking the Muslim faith, mostly from publicity seekers, like a Dutch MP, or degenerate racist members of the Israel lobby in the U.S. In defending Islam, not Muslims, I have tried my best to be fair to other religions I have quoted from but not commented on. I hope I have succeeded.

Jihad Khazen
May/June 2008


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