Karen Armstrong Lecture “Compassion or Toleration? Two Approaches to Pluralism” at Aga Khan Centre, London

On October 4th, 2018, Karen Armstrong, writer and religious historian, delivered the sixth Annual Pluralism Lecture titled “Compassion or Toleration? Two Approaches to Pluralism”.

Each person invited to give the Annual Pluralism Lecture is asked to reflect on how to build and strengthen pluralist societies. The Lecture is hosted by the Global Centre for Pluralism, an independent, charitable organization founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in partnership with the Government of Canada. It is based in Ottawa, Canada.

In her lecture, Ms. Armstrong spoke about the value of religion during what could be the “last gasp” of nationalism: “What the religions all tell us… [is] that enlightenment insists on overcoming the ego, letting the ego go. Nationalism is about ego, it’s about swelling the ego, and often that means excluding the other, as Lord Acton pointed out.”

Citing her current work on the scriptures of three of the world’s great religions, she went on to say that “the scriptures — all, in every tradition — say you have to work for the good of others, all others, not just those in your own camp, practically and creatively. That is the route to enlightenment.”

During his introduction, His Highness the Aga Khan remarked that “I think that one of the greatest challenges for the entire world will be finding ways in which we can all achieve a deeper understanding of the other, and what makes each of us distinct, as human beings and as communities. To achieve this vital goal, reflective, creative and empathetic thinkers and writers will be critically important.”

Over the last 20 years, Karen Armstrong has written more than 20 books on faith and the major religions, including Islam, Judaism and Christianity. She is the author of Islam: A Short History, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life and Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. She is also the author of two memoirs, Through the Narrow Gate and The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into 45 languages. She is also a former Trustee of the British Museum and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Literature. Ms. Armstrong was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015.

The Global Centre for Pluralism is an independent, not-for-profit international research and education centre located in Ottawa, Canada. Inspired by the example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, the Centre works to advance respect for diversity worldwide, believing that openness and understanding toward the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.

Creating Frankenstein: Saudi Arabia’s Ultra-conservative Footprint in Africa by James M. Dorsey

Terrorism in Africa

There is much debate about what spurs political violence. The explanations are multi-fold. There is one aspect that I’d like to discuss tonight as it relates to Africa and that is the role of Saudi Arabia. Let me be clear: With the exception of a handful of countries, none of which are in Africa, Saudi Arabia, that is to say the government, the religious establishment and members of the ruling family and business community, does not fund violence. It has however over the last half century launched the single largest public diplomacy campaign in history, pumping up to $100 billion dollars…

Creating Frankenstein: Saudi Arabia’s Ultra-conservative Footprint in Africa by author James M. Dorsey, faculty member at Nanyang Technological University, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

The Bible The Quran and Science By DR. Maurice Bucaille

The Bible The Quran and Science By DR. Maurice Bucaille | Abubakar Surajo Ibrahim Kirare – Academia.edu

DR. Maurice Bucaille

As a surgeon, Maurice Bucaille has often been in a situation where he was able to examine not only people’s bodies, but their souls. This is how he was struck by the existence of Muslim piety and by aspects of Islam which remain unknown to the vast majority of non-Muslims. In his search for explanations which are otherwise difficult to obtain, he learnt Arabic and studied the Qur’an. In it, he was surprised to find statements on natural phenomena whose meaning can only be understood through modern scientific knowledge. He then turned to the question of the authenticity of the writings that constitute the Holy Scriptures of the monotheistic religions. Finally, in the case of the Bible, he proceeded to a confrontation between these writings and scientific data. The results of his research into the Judeo-Christian Revelation and the Qur’an are set out in this book



United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

Similarly, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy Anjelina Jolie is an advocate for those in peril worldwide.

UNHCR benefits from the high profile support of its Goodwill Ambassadors like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and other celebrities. Their messages and short films in support of key campaigns, events and emergency appeals, help give powerful voice to the refugee cause.

Her trips to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan have been important in raising awareness on the issues facing this area of the world.

Read more about how Jolie advocates for those in peril worldwide.

Moscow Summit on Peace Agreement and Prevention of Bloodshed: Naderi

Moscow Summit to focus on peace agreement, prevention of bloodshed: Naderi
By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / Tuesday, 05 Feb 2019
Source to article on Khaama Press

Syed Mansoor Naderi, one of the prominent political and religious leaders of Afghanistan has said that he and some other prominent national figures have participated in Moscow Intra-Afghan Summit to discuss ways to prevent further bloodshed, end conflict, and a peace agreement.

He made the remarks in response to a question that if the Moscow summit is an intra-Afghan summit and that why the Afghan government has not welcomed the summit?

“Yes exactly, this is an intra-Afghan summit. Representatives from different groups and sects of the community including national figures, politicians, women, and experts will participate in the summit to hold talks with the Taliban. This is an intra-Afghan summit hosted in Russia where all political movements, national figures, women, and representatives of parliament houses are present,” he added.

“…we have participated in the summit to prevent bloodshed, end conflict and achieve a peace agreement which are the demands and hopes of the people of Afghanistan. Russia plays a facilitator role in this summit.”