Pakistani professor of religious studies Riffat Hassan on religious stereotypes, ethics and violence.
The events of 11 September 2001 have extensively polarized the West and the Islamic world, with attention being devoted to the most extreme views in particular.
In Pakistan, for example, dialogue on the Islam has been appropriated by "religious extremists", and dialogue on human rights by "anti-religious extremists". It is vitally important to expand the discussions with a third option that is rooted in the ethical principles of the Koran and that is in keeping with the beliefs and aspirations of ordinary Muslims.
That is the view expressed by Riffat Hassan, professor of religious studies at the University of Louisville, during a speech at Amsterdam's Free University. The presentation was organized by the Society for International Development, a global NGO for international cooperation and development. The integral text of the speech is available as PDF file.
Riffat Hassan was recently appointed head of the Iqbal International Institute of Islamic Research in Lahore. This institute funded by the Pakistani government strives in particular to promote dialogue between Islamic researchers throughout the world. Another one of its important activities is improving the quality of religious education in Pakistan's schools.