By Giancarlo BosettiDue to the importance of his reformist religious perspective, many journalists have described him as “Islam’s Luther,” perhaps explained by the fact that in the Shiite tradition, unlike the Sunnis, there is the presence of the clergy and its earthly power. Soroush is a theoretician of freedom and individual rights, and he is a critic of the theological tradition that has justified power through transcendence, thereby sanctifying centuries of tyranny.
Philosophy and Religion
By Nina zu Fürstenberg and Giancarlo BosettiBassam Tibi, born in Damascus in 1944, emigrated to Germany as a young man and spent most of his life there teaching at Göttingen University. He has also taught at Harvard, Cornell, Princeton and Berkeley, as well as in Asia, Africa, Indonesia, Sudan and Egypt. In his studies he has analysed Islamic extremism and Muslim culture, comparing them to the values of tolerance, democracy and human rights.
By Giancarlo BosettiThe Syrian philosopher Sadik Al-Azm, born in Damascus in 1934 where he now lives, has developed a severe critique of Arab societies, affecting an entire generation marked by Israel’s defeat of Syria, Jordan and Egypt in 1967.
By Nicola MissagliaThe Egyptian philosopher insists that an intellectual “renaissance” in the contemporary Arab world, similar to the one that influenced the western world in the 15th and 16th centuries, would necessarily have to involve the Muslim’s re-appropriation of their own historicity, opposing the “hypostatization” of the past and the Islamic legacy.
By Nicola MissagliaNavid Kermani, an Iranian and German citizen, was born in 1967 in Germany to a family of Iranian origin. He is one of the most interesting personalities among the young Muslim intellectuals who were born and grew up in the West
From Reset-DoC's Archive - Within the framework of the in-depth analysis that Reset devotes to the subject of liberal Islam, we wish to present an interview with the Egyptian thinker Abu Zayd, who is one of the most respected and influential Muslim reformists. Abu Zayd explains that, contrary to widespread belief, within the Muslim world there are many reformists and organisations that spread the principles of liberalism, equality, democracy and human rights. Unfortunately, however, the West appears not to acknowledge this and instead of contributing to strengthen these tendencies, it tends to emphasise Islam’s negative aspects and, in particular, its links with terrorism. The problem – continued Abu Zayd – does not lie in Islam or in the Koran, but rather in the stubbornness that characterises extremists in interpreting the Holy Book in a rigid and literal manner, without allowing for any kind of critical debate. Applying hermeneutics to the Koran would instead facilitates its understanding and a more current interpretation, opening the way to a modernisation of the text without corrupting its sacredness. (This interview was published by Reset-DoC in June 2010)
According to the Qur’an God created human beings in nations, tribes, with different colors and different languages in order to know each other – human beings know themselves by communicating and understanding the Other. Historically Islam is the spiritual and ethical call for social justice. The Qur’an is about the poor and the needy. And it is about the Other. ResetDoc remembers the great Egyptian philosopher Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd with this interview, recorded in 2009.
From Reset-DoC's Archive - For people of the Maghreb, or at least for those who are interested in the intellectual life, 2010 will undisputedly be associated with the heaviest harvest of intellectual and political figures of the region. As if death plotted against the region and decided to take away the emblematic figures of a glorious period of intellectual and political life. Mohamed Abid Al Jabiri, Edmond Emran El Maleh and Abraham Serfaty from Morocco; Mohamed Arkoun and Tahar Ouettar from Algeria and Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd from Egypt, took their leave in 2010. As much as these intellectuals’ works are widely studied in Western academia, especially in Europe and America, they remain unknown to large sections of the Arab world. Many factors inform this ignorance. First, the objective discontinuities that exist in terms of free circulation of knowledge between the Mashriq (the east of the Arab world) and the Maghreb (the west). Second, the historical jealousies that have always existed between the two sides of the Arab world. (This article was published on Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations in 2011)
By Giancarlo BosettiBorn in Cairo in 1935, Hassan Hanafi is an authoritative Egyptian philosopher and taught at Cairo University for a long time where his students also included Nasr Abu Zayd. He studied at the Sorbonne and has been a visiting professor at many American and European universities.
By Giancarlo BosettiBorn in Sudan in 1909, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, was sentenced to death having been charged with apostasy by the Nimeiri regime in 1985 because of his ideas.
By Nicola MissagliaOften described as “one of the most influential contemporary liberal Muslim intellectuals”, together with the Syrian Sadik Al-Azm and the Egyptian philosopher Fu’ad Zakariyya, Al-Ashmawi – who is also Egyptian – belongs to the category of secular or secularist Muslim thinkers clearly against the “extremist” emphasis of the Islamic religion’s political role.
By Nina zu FürstenbergAccording to Filali-Ansary, religion provides a cohesive contribution to collective life in the Arab world, as religion does for many Christians in Western countries. The presence of religion can thus be invoked to oppose excesses of individualism, consumerism, and capitalism, without necessarily compromising the secularity of political institutions.