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Press release

Reclaim philosophical heritage of European Islam, conference told

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Director of the Muslim Institute and co-founder of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, addressing an Islamic Awareness Week gathering at Trinity College, Dublin, told the audience that time has come when we must begin to look at the philosophical roots of fundamentalism in Muslim societies.

Ibn Rushd (1126 - 1198), born in Cordova, Moorish Spain, known in Europe as Averroes, championed the position that public affairs should be conducted through human reasoning rather than faith. Though a deeply religious man, philosopher Ibn Rushd, regarded as a key founder of secularism in Europe, presented the case for the separation of religion and politics. His ideas created an intellectual upheaval in Europe, facing opposition from the Catholic Church for over three hundred years, from the 12th to the 15th century.

Europe finally came out in favour of his position, leading to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. The Muslim world, however, took the opposite position, deciding that dogmatic faith should have precedence over human reason. Great scholars like Ibn Taymiyya, Maududi and Sayyid Qutb led the anti-philosophy and pro-faith argument and linked it to political affairs. The ultimate result was: creation of a Frankensteinian monster – Osama bin Laden.

The obscurantist and isolationist approach marginalised the world of Islam. As a consequence, today we have few friends and even less influence on world affairs.

Dr Siddiqui said that time has come when we must begin to take a fresh look at these philosophical debates, reclaim the legacy of Ibn Rushd and begin celebrating our European heritage.

8 April 2008

For further information, please contact:

Dr Ghaysuddin Siddiqui on 07860259289/ 020 8563 1995




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