Lecture to offer critique of Muslims and the American dream

March 19, 2013 | Events, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Samantha Watson

After more than a decade since 9/11, American Muslims and the religion of Islam continue to face criticism and prejudice.



“Good Muslims, Bad Muslims and the American Dream” will be the focus of the annual Imam Khattab Lecture on Islamic Studies by Dr. Ovamir Anjum, UT Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies. The free, public lecture will take place Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

The lecture is an invitation to self-critique how Muslims have adjusted to the new realities of America, as well as address the idea of the American dream as understood today.

“This topic is extremely relevant to the community, both Muslim and non-Muslim, because it seeks to look past the distractions and address our most urgent issues as Americans and what American Muslims and non-Muslims can do to contribute to solutions rather than becoming part of the problem,” Anjum said. “We have major common problems, and Islam is not one of them.”

With more than a decade since 9/11, there have been enough apologies from Muslims, as well as enough attacks on Islam, Anjum said, adding that it is important that American Muslims see past their victimization and work toward the solution of colossal common problems facing America: social injustice, breakdown of community, consumerism and environmental destruction.

“The 99 percent of Americans who do not have what the 1 percent have, instead of rethinking the culture, they’re interested in joining that 1 percent,” Anjum said. “That is extremely destructive for our society, for our democracy and for our environment.”

According to Anjum, Islamic civilization historically has been one of the most egalitarian and socially conscious societies: dynamic, commercially successful, tolerant of diversity, and scientifically advanced yet reverential toward nature. American Muslims should be bringing their religious perspectives to the American public sphere, he said.

“Islam requires American Muslims to be self-critical and to be critical of the consequences of following the American dream,” Anjum said.

This talk is part of the Center for Religious Studies’ annual lecture series and has been held each year since the Imam Khattab Chair was established about a decade ago. Anjum has delivered the lecture for the last four years.

For more information, visit utoledo.edu/llss/philosophy/cfru.

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