Monthly Archives: June 2015

University Club of Washington hosts Iftar, lecture

Akbar Ahmed introduces core Muslim tradition to DC audience.

By Patrick Burnett


The University Club of Washington, DC’s International Committee graciously hosted a wonderful talk by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed and a delicious Iftar dinner of the customary dates, Moroccan Hariri soup, Lamb Tagine, and baklava, on June 24, attracting distinguished guests from the prominent private Washington club, including key officials from the Pentagon and the German Embassy.

Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University and the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, took the opportunity to introduce and tie together his Sufi-influenced poetry with the roles of love and ‘ilm’ in Islam for this prominent audience. Ahmed also explained the significance of Ramadan and the month’s beautiful and selfless traditions to this mostly non-Muslim audience, while also emphasizing how fasting unites all of us within the world’s faiths. Fasting as a means to deeper spirituality is not exclusive to Islam, but all the world’s great religions — whether the Abrahamic faiths, Hinduism, or Buddhism…

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Some Right-Wing Europeans Say Islam Hasn’t Contributed to Western Culture. Here’s Why They’re Wrong.

The World Post – The Huffington Post

By Akbar Ahmed

GRANADA, SPAIN - JULY 20: Intricate tile and mosaics decorates a room in the Nasrid Palaces at the Alhambra on July 23, 2013 in Granada, Spain. Southern Spain is among Europe's biggest tourist destinations. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

One of the right-wing tropes about Islam in Europe, which is making alarming inroads into the mainstream, is that it represents a “culture of backwardness, of retardedness, of barbarism” and has made no contribution to Western civilization. Islam provides an easy target considering that some 3,000 or more Europeans are estimated to have left for the Middle East in order to fight alongside the Islamic State. The savage beheadings and disgusting treatment of women and minorities confirm in the minds of many that Islam is incompatible with Western civilization. This has become a widely known, and even unthinkingly accepted, proposition. But is it correct?

Let us look at European history for answers. At least 10 things will surprise you…