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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

This Thursday at noon the Council will host leading Islamic thinker Tariq Ramadan. He is a controversial figure and was barred by the Bush administration from entering the United States in 2004. Now, less than a year after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lifted the travel ban, he will join the Council to discuss why Western Muslims should escape the mental, social, cultural and religious isolation many have created for themselves, while at the same time, why the west should recognize its Muslim neighbors as citizens with rights and responsibilities the same as their own. For more information about the program or to register, visit our website here.

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On Tuesday, June 15 the Council hosted the Rt. Rev. William Swing, president and founder of the United Religions Initiative and former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California. He spoke about URI’s recent partnership with Somalia, where it is working to bring Somalis together to form a more cohesive nation. Although the country is often thought of as a lawless land with pirates, Swing believes that, “There are far more people in Somalia who just want to raise their families, be responsible citizens and be free from the chaos.” That’s why, according to Swing, “they’re seeking to accomplish it in semi-autonomous regions rather than in the black hole of tone-deaf power at the nation’s center.” That’s why so many Somalis are jumping at the chance to be part of the URI and similar groups.

To learn more about the United Religions Initiative’s actions in Somalia and the 74 other projects they have around the world, visit their website here. You can listen to the entire program with the Rt. Rev. Swing on our online audio archive.

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Today’s second hour of KQED FM’s Forum with Michael Krasny featured a conversation about women and Islam in the Middle East. The guests included Isobel Coleman, author of Paradise Beneath Her Feet, who is speaking tonight, Tuesday, May 18, at the Council; and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of Islamic fundamentalism, who will be with the Council on Wednesday, May 26 in conversation with Jane Wales.

For more information about the Forum program, click here. To register for either Council program, please visit our website.

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Why are women treated poorly in Islam? And, why don’t moderate Muslims denounce jihad? Tamim Ansary, author of Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, offered his perspective on these two most frequently asked questions at the Council last Thursday. Ansary describes himself as a storyteller and has recently focused on the story of the Islamic world, how it differs from Western history and how the two are beginning to cross paths like never before. He spoke about the Muslim idea of “ummah,” or community, and the ways it has changed over many centuries. Ansary closed by speaking on the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and said that the way to diffuse this threat is to address underlying issues, such as land ownership and water rights, that drive Muslims to fundamentalism and jihadist actions.

To hear the full program with Tamim Ansary, visit our audio archive here.

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