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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

American Secularism for American Muslims: Challenges and Prospects

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8th Annual Prophetic Voices Lecture
Abdullahi An-Na'im
, Emory University
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Higgins 300

Secularism is deeply historical and contextual. American secularism strikes a balance between the separation of religion and the state and the acceptance of a public role for religion. Because of this balance, American Muslims should be able to positively engage with American secularism, but they face challenges in developing and implementing strategies for involvement. This lecture will identify some of those challenges and propose ways of responding to them from both a Muslim and non-Muslim perspective.

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University in Atlanta. He holds an L.L.B. (Honors) University of Khartoum, Sudan; 1970; L.L.B. (Honors) and Diploma in Criminology, University of Cambridge, England, 1973; and Ph.D. in Law, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1976. His previous positions include Associate Professor at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, until 1985; Visiting Professor of Law at the University of California at Los Angeles, 1985-87; Ariel F. Sallows Professor of Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1988-91; Olof Palme Visiting Professor at Uppsala University, Sweden, 1991-92. He served as Executive Director of Human Rights Watch/Africa 1993-95, before joining the Faculty of Emory Law School in 1995.

Professor An-Na’im is the author of African Constitutionalism and the Contingent Role of Islam (2006); and Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil liberties, human rights and international law (1990) (translated into Arabic, Indonesian, Russian and Farsi). His edited publications include Human Rights under African Constitutions (2003); Islamic Family Law in a Changing World: A Global Resource Book (2002); Cultural Transformation and Human Rights in Africa (2002); The Cultural Dimensions of Human Rights in the Arab World (in Arabic, 1994); Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Quest for consensus (1992); Human Rights in Africa: Cross-cultural perspectives, with Francis M. Deng (1990). He has also published more than fifty articles and book chapters on human rights, constitutionalism, Islamic law and politics.