Anjum, the Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies at The University of Toledo, observed that the recent pro-democracy uprisings throughout the Middle East suggest that the dictatorship and violence in the region are not primarily the result of religion or culture, but rather have been shaped by political interests. Much is different in Egypt following the revolution.
“Ten years ago when I visited Egypt, people seemed shut off; there was a sense of melancholy, repression. Feelings were far more critical of the U.S., and there was a strong tendency toward conspiracy theory. But now that people have stood up for themselves, things are very different,” Anjum said.
The perceptions of Christian and Muslim relations were changed by the remarkable solidarity and cooperation that were displayed during the uprisings, Anjum said.
Anjum will reflect on his time in Egypt when he delivers the Annual Imam Khattab Lecture in Islamic Studies Monday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Law Center Auditorium. His lecture, “Egypt Today: Field Notes on Islamism, Liberalism and the New World Order,” is the first in a series presented by the newly established UT Center for Religious Understanding.
“What drives our work is the belief that if we increase understanding about other religions and our own, it will create mutual respect,” said Dr. Jeanine Diller, director of the Center for Religious Understanding and assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy.
The free, public Imam Khattab Annual Lecture is sponsored by the UT Center for Religious Understanding with funds from the Anderson Foundation and the Muslim communities of Greater Toledo.