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Interfaith Programs

UPF-UK Hosts Prof. Akbar Ahmed on His 'Journey into Europe' Tour

London, UK - Renowned scholar Prof. Akbar Ahmed is on a tour around Europe on a research project to write a book on Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Empire. UPF-UK had the honor to host one of the programs on the tour on May 18, 2014. The tour is being supported by Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue, represented at the event by Prof. Peter Morey and others. One of Prof. Ahmed's team, Asmaa Soliman, who is also a core team member of Youth UPF, was the MC and one of the main organizers of the event.

EntertainmentProf. Ahmed explained: "The lessons of a society in which different religions and cultures can live together, create art together and worship freely while respecting each other is a desperately needed model to guide us today." The Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in the US highlighted several eras in European history, such as Cordoba's La Convivencia, when this occurred. For the text of his speech click here.

Robin Marsh, secretary general of UPF-UK, introduced UPF and said that Rev. Sun Myung Moon's response to the 9/11 attacks in the US was to sponsor three intra-Muslim dialogue conferences: in Jakarta, London and Washington DC. Participants included the then president of Indonesia (Gus Dur) Wahid and his wife, along with many other dignitaries from across the Islamic world.

The event was an opportunity for Prof. Akbar's team to feature the artists in his documentary and to interview them. They think that the sphere of arts and culture is relevant and want to shed light on Muslims' involvement in the creative arts, which is unfortunately often ignored in the mainstream media. This was organized in collaboration with Rumi's Cave and included comedy, poetry, song, art and rap. Rumi's Cave is a community hub in London and a cultural arts and events space inspired by the legacy of Rumi, a thirteenth-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian and Sufi mystic.

Prof Ahmed Presenting His Book Prof. Ahmed introduced Commander Mak Chishty of the Metropolitan Police, explaining that he is the highest-ranking police officer from a Pakistani background. He is currently the commander for West London with pan-London responsibility for anti-social behavior, drugs and alcohol, hate crime, and children and young people. He is the national lead for the sensitive issue of honor killings on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers, helping to formulate policy on a national level. Commander Chishty emphasized the need to counter the alienation among young people that leads them to fight in Syria or similar conflicts.

Prof. Ahmed is author of Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization (Brookings 2007); Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam (Brookings 2010); and The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings 2013). Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Empire will be the fourth book in the series.

 

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