A Muslim Response to Pope Francis’s Environmental Encyclical: Laudato Si’

A. RASHIED OMAR

Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home is undoubtedly one of the most important interventions in twenty first century campaigns for environmental justice. Muslims can and should engage substantively with Laudato Si’ in order to build broad solidarity with meaningful global commitments for the collective good, through responsible stewardship of the earth. Read the full article »

Read More →

A Muslim Response to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium

Through his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis has inaugurated a constructive platform for Muslim leaders to enter into renewed dialogue with Catholics on critical questions facing both religious traditions. It is my view that Muslim leaders, in particular, need to do much more to reach out, engage, and embrace Pope Francis’ invitation to interfaith dialogue and solidarity. Read the full article »

Read More →

Human Dignity: the Foundation of Human Rights

March 21st is annually commemorated as Human Rights Day in post-Apartheid South Africa, in remembrance of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in which the apartheid police force opened fire on a crowd of anti-pass law protesters, killing 69 and maiming 189. On Human Rights Day, we pay tribute to the Sharpeville martyrs. But Human Rights Day is also a useful time to become familiar with the latest thinking on the longstanding and robust debate about the compatibility between “Islam and Human Rights.”

Read More →

Al-Azhar: beyond the Politics of State Patronage

A. RASHIED OMAR

The great Islamic polymath, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111), bemoaned the lack of intellectual independence, integrity and critical distance from the state that characterized the position of Muslim scholars in his time. He advises his young disciples neither to get too close to princes nor to praise them excessively. But even more than that, Imam Ghazali warns them not to accept generous gifts from rulers, even though this may be permissible: “Coveting things from the rulers and those in power will spoil and corrupt your religion, since there is born from it flattery and ‘kowtowing’ to those in power and unwise approval of their policies.”

Read More →

Beyond State Idolatry in Egypt

What we are currently witnessing in Egypt is a transformative moment that has been described by the pro-democracy demonstrators in the streets of Cairo as a “Tunisami”—a tsunami of social activism that first swept a despot in Tunisia from power and now in Egypt. The question on many people’s minds is: What comes next? I hope Egyptians will embrace a lesson citizens in my own South Africa have learned the hard way: beware the idolatry of the state.

Read More →

Al-Azhar Should Resume—and Widen—Its Vatican Dialogue

Al-Azhar’s suspension of dialogue with the Vatican raises three interrelated questions for interreligious peacebuilders. First, is Pope Benedict XVI’s policy on Islam prudent given the volatile post-9/11 world we live in? Second, does the Pope’s diplomacy with Muslims require more nuance? Third, is al-Azhar University over-reacting in its response to Benedict’s remarks?

Read More →