UKZN Academics part of International Congress on Islamic Civilisation
UKZN together with Awqaf South Africa, the Research Institute for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), and the International Peace College South Africa (IPSA) hosted the 2nd International Congress on Islamic Civilisation in Southern Africa.
The congress on the Westville campus aimed to increase knowledge and heritage of Islam in southern Africa while strengthening ties among Muslim and African nations by disseminating Islamic and cultural knowledge.
‘This is a forum for the true understanding of Islamic culture in the world and to promote better understanding and dialogue among Muslim people and people of other faiths and cultural communities,’ said Mr Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, CEO of Awqaf South Africa.
Professor Suleman Dangor of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics delivered the keynote address on Civilisations in Crisis, in particular, the crisis of Islamic and Western civilisations. He described the characteristics of ancient, modern Western and Islamic civilisations and discussed the challenges posed by issues relating to individualism, relativism, democracy, sustainable development and nationalism.
Linking to the revival of Islamic civilisation, Dangor said: ‘Muslim youth believe that Islam cannot assimilate new knowledge but that is a complete fallacy. Islam has always accommodated customs from other societies which do not contradict Islamic teachings.’ He questioned Huntington’s prediction of a clash of civilisations and pointed to the proposal at the United Nations by the Spanish and Turkish presidents for a dialogue among civilisations.
Other UKZN academics who participated in the congress were Dr Lubna Nadvi of the School of Social Sciences who spoke about leadership and public participation among young Muslim South Africans under the segment on Politics and Civics chaired by UKZN’s Mr Tahir Sitoto.
Ms Cherry Muslim chaired a session on History and Identity.
During the congress, Dangor also spoke about Natal Muslims and International Relations.
Professor Donal McCracken from the College of Humanities, said Islamic Studies was important and UKZN supported the Discipline. ‘We have esteemed intellectual academics and experts on Islamic Studies at UKZN and we are proud to be partners in this Congress.’