The invocation of blasphemy has often been used to silence critics of Islam as well as disenfranchise religious minorities and highlight an alleged incompatibility between Islam and liberal freedoms. A couple of months back, Jakarta’s Christian Chinese governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, was sentenced to two years of jail on charges of blasphemy. At a university campus in Pakistan, Mashal Khan was killed by fellow students who judged him guilty of blasphemy. Beyond essentialist views that justify violence in terms of either religion or politics, how can one understand the outrage against blasphemy and how can blasphemy-related violence be tackled? In this seminar, Professor Moosa will guide us through the theological architecture of blasphemy and discuss key shifts in methodology that lead to the reform of Muslim political theology.
About the Speaker:
Ebrahim Moosa’s interpretative and historical research on questions related to Islamic tradition, ethics and law includes two monographs as well as several edited and co-edited books. His prize-winning book Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination (University of North Carolina Press, 2005) was awarded the Best First Book in the History of Religions by the American Academy of Religion. He is the author of What is a Madrasa? (University of North Carolina Press, 2015. His publications include several co-edited books, among them The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring (Georgetown University Press 2015); Islam in the Modern World (Routledge 2014) and, Muslim Family Law in Sub-Saharan Africa: Colonial Legacies and Post-Colonial Challenges, (Amsterdam University Press, Spring, 2010). He is also the editor of the last manuscript of the late Professor Fazlur Rahman, Revival and Reform in Islam: A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism (Oxford: Oneworld, 2000). Dr Moosa has published influential essays on Islamic law, theology as well as contemporary Muslim ethics, bioethics, biotechnology and political thought.