June 20, 2006 10:20 Age: 8 yrs

An-Na'im Book, Website and Lecture Promote Islam, Secularism and Human Rights

By: April L. Bogle

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law and senior fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) at Emory University, is promoting awareness of the issues surrounding Islam, secularism and human rights through his new book, his new website which contains chapters of his forthcoming book, and a new chair appointment.

An-Na'im's latest book, Islam and Human Rights: Advocacy for Social Change in Local Contexts (Global Media), reflects the outcome of the Islam and Human Rights Fellowship Program, a three-year CSLR research project sponsored by The Ford Foundation. The program brought 10 scholars and activists together to explore the relationship between human rights and Islam, with the objective of helping people within Islamic societies promote and protect human rights from an Islamic perspective.

In his capacity as the W.G. Wiarda Chair, Human Rights and Islam 2005-2006 at Utrecth University, The Netherlands, An-Na'im delivered his inaugural address, "Global Citizenship and Human Rights: from Muslims in Europe to European Muslims," May 10. He is in residence at Utrecth University through mid-June.

An-Na'im's new website focuses on his most recent book, The Future of Shari'a: Secularism from an Islamic Perspective, a project he is undertaking in his capacity as a CSLR senior fellow. The project is sponsored by The Ford Foundation.

“The book celebrates and seeks to contribute to the struggle of Islamic societies to define themselves in the context of the local and global conditions under which they live,” said An-Na’im. “A key aspect of this process is the constitutional and legal dimensions of the post-colonial experiences of Islamic societies, especially the relationship among Islam, state and society.”

The book is being written in English, and six chapters currently can be downloaded from the website. It also is being translated into several of the languages of present Islamic societies: Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, Persian, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu. An-Na`im is finalizing an Arabic version of the manuscript. When the translations are available, they will be available on the website.

An’Na’im is posting the chapters to generate debate about the concept, themes, methodology and content of the manuscript as a whole; to help clarify his thesis and analysis for it to be more persuasive to Muslims throughout the world; and to provide feedback to translators about the accuracy and clarity of their formulations.

Site visitors are encouraged to send comments, suggestions, and queries in the language of their choice through e-mail. The address is fs_english(at)law.emory.edu. Content on the website is provided free solely for scholarly responses and public debate purposes. Since all the contents are in draft form, An-Na’im requests that the materials should not be cited as academic sources.

The CSLR is home to world class scholars and forums on the religious foundations of law, politics, and society. It offers expertise on how the teachings and practices of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have shaped and continue to transform the fundamental ideas and institutions of our public and private lives. The scholarship of CSLR faculty provides the latest perspectives, while its conferences and public forums foster reasoned and robust public debate. 

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