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International Seminar Series: Rashied Omar
Rashied Omar, research scholar of Islamic studies and peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, will give a talk titled “Islam Beyond Violent Extremism” in the Prairie Room.
In the contemporary period, Islam is frequently depicted in the mainstream media as predisposed to violence and extremism. Muslim groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have only served to reinforce this widespread perception.
In order to better understand current events in which Muslim groups are implicated in acts of extremist violence, Omar will provide a deeper understanding of the Islamic ethics of violence and peace and to situate extremist acts within concrete socio-historical and political contexts. He will examine the major ethico-legal principles on peace and war in Islam, and apply these to analyze the theological justifications and political motivations of contemporary Muslim extremist movements.
An imam and scholar of religious studies, Omar trained in religious studies at the University of Cape Town, as well as in Sudan, Pakistan and Malaysia. His research focuses on the Islamic ethics of war and peace, interreligious dialogue, and peacebuilding. He has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World and is the author of Tolerance, Civil Society and Renaissance in Post-Apartheid South Africa. He is a co-editor of the forthcoming book A Dictionary of Christian-Muslim Relationsfrom Cambridge University Press. In his home country of South Africa, Omar is the coordinating imam at the Claremont Main Road Mosque. He also is an international trustee emeritus for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.