Columbia Seminary To Host Lecture on Diversity and Pluralism in Islam

Columbia Seminary To Host Lecture on Diversity and Pluralism in Islam

October 18, 2017—Columbia Theological Seminary has invited Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im from Emory University to lecture for its class on The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque. On Monday, October 30 at 6:30 pm, Dr. An-Na’im will present his talk “Islamic Diversity or Pluralism: Does Theology Lead or Follow?” Individuals may RSVP for this event in the Broyles Leadership Center, Room 101 on the Columbia Seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA near Atlanta.

“Communities are desperate for leadership that bridges many diversities,” said Dr. Deborah Flemister Mullen, Vice President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the seminary. “Our office is pleased to co-host this event and provide space for conversation between people of different religious faiths. We want to build knowledge and intercultural competencies for our students and other local leaders.”

About the Speaker:

Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, Associated Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences of Emory University, and Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He is a leading scholar in Islamic and International Law and an internationally renowned speaker and author. Dr. An-Na‘im is the author of: What is an American Muslim (2014); Muslims and Global Justice (2011); Islam and the Secular State (2008); African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam (2006); and Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil liberties, human rights and international law (1990).  His edited books include Human Rights under African Constitutions (2003); Islamic Family Law in a Changing World: A Global Resource Book (2002); and Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Quest for consensus (1992). For more information, see

About the Lecture:

The lecture will address “progressive Islam”, diversity, pluralism, and the intersectionality with theology. It will first address the preconceived notions about these terms before going on to stress that diversity as a demographic quality is built into the fabric of Islamic thought throughout history. The challenge for Muslims is whether that fact represents or can be translated into pluralism as the ideology of acceptance of difference. The subtitle refers to the dialectic of theology and ideology, e.g. the role of geopolitical context in the competing paradigms of diversity and pluralism. The lecturer will argue that moral and political choices emerge out of the role of human agency in a geopolitical and economic context. Regarding the prospects of the dialectic of theology and ideology, the lecture will discuss the prospects of proactive leadership by Muslims at large (not their states or so-called religious leaders) in confronting the regressive neocolonial ambitions of the military-industrial complex in the United States. The role of humane and peaceful leadership by and among Muslims as contingent upon the prevalence of reason and justice in the foreign policy of the United States will be underscored.

Columbia Theological Seminary is “Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

For information or to RSVP:

Dr. John Azumah, Director for International Programs,

Dr. Deborah F. Mullen, Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,

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