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Said Nursi and Dialogue with the West.

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rosemary lloyd

on 1 September 2014

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Transcript of Said Nursi and Dialogue with the West.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
Born in 1878-1960
Servant leader - sought welfare for his community and provided guidence through his writings
Guardian - sought to protect Muslims against opporessive reforms
More guardian leader than servant because of his goal to
protect
the integrity of Islam despite his persecution




Views of Dialogue
Called on sincere believes of Abrahamic faiths to unite in a struggle for the progress of humanity

" ...mans true nature will search with all its strength for eternal life, which it truly loves and yearns for, just as there are signs of this occurring in the North, the West, and in America."
Grounded Pluralism
Said Nursi and Dialogue with the West.
Relevance today:
• Nursi was a scholar and a teacher, his influence was through writings
• Lived through influential period: 1878-1960
- WW1, WW2
- Decline of Ottoman Empire, division by European powers
- Creation of the Republic of Turkey, and the reforms by Atatürk, including secularism
- Witnessed the emergence of Capitalism and Communism
- Anticipated a global crisis

Political Views
'Religious Republican'
Opposed heavy European influence in Turkey
Strove for independence from European powers
Did not believe in an Islamic State
Believed Islam and politics should be separate
Perceived the greatest threat to be communism, encouraged alliance with the West against it
The Blue Mosque - 1616
A legacy of the Ottoman Empire in which Nursi was born
Believed in a creation of a culture of dialogue between the Muslim world and the West
Viewed such dialogue as an essential part of Islamic teachings
Dialogue must be based on clear and objective judgment
Generalizations about other cultures and faiths must be avoided
Promoted the call in Islam for justice, tolerance, freedom and equality during a time of European dominance
Call to Unify believers:
Theocracy, Secularism and Said Nursi's views
Markham and Pirim identify problems in these traditional systems in terms of Nursi's Views:
Theocracy lacks true diversity and equality for minority religions
Secularism may struggle to define a worldview/ moral standards
Secularism may not accommodate a religious majority
They argue for Nursi's alternative -
Grounded Pluralism
Context of his work:
Based on the human capacity to reason, converse and persuade
Religions should be a part of the public sphere
No one belief should dominate - accepting the reality of pluralism
Disagreements to be solved through persuasion, never violence
Part of the universal culture of dialogue
Differing from secularism, Nursi believes in having a strong commitment to his own faith
'Orthodox' believers must commit to tolerance
Nursi urges Muslims to “unite with their fellow-believers, but also with truly pious Christians
Alatas argues this applies to all religions:
"to go beyond tolerance towards a genuine interest in and admiration for each others religious traditions."
Commitment to Faith
Culture of dialogue could apply both nationally and internationally
Obstacles to dialogue:
existing negative stereotypes in the media, especially the demonisation of Islam by some Western Media
Lack of education
Education in Muslim world and West would create a society where it is difficult to form religious stereotypes, where difference can be understood and accepted
The Australian Context
Religion, in particular Islam is a common topic in the media and also in politics
Rise Up Australia Party demonstrates misconceptions about Islam
This also shows religion is already a part of politics and the public sphere. Dialogue is needed.
Media's misconceptions are opportunities for education
"We'll Fight Islam 100 Years" leading to the pledge "We'll Love Muslims 100 Years".
Irreligion and Atheism
Berghout empasises Nursi's reference to a struggle against irreligion and materialism
In the Australian context, Atheism is increasing
Discussion between religious and non-religious would provide greater understanding in each group
Muslims could play an important part in this because of the emphasis on science and knowledge
Interest in scientific advancement might act as a common ground between atheist and Islamic communities
In Summary:
Said Nursi's views on dialogue with the West promote the creation of a global culture of discussion
In this culture, people can remain firm in their beliefs to engage in meaningful discussion with the aim of facing humanities problems
Nursi emphasizes love and respect as part of discussion
Creating a culture of understanding and interest in others beliefs, ensures diversity and hopefully could create greater global peace and stability.
Goals of this presentation
1 - To explain the context in which Nursi's ideas were formed and written

2 - To provide an overview of Nursi's ideas and interpretations by modern scholars

3- To explore the relevance of Nursi's ideas today
Full transcript