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Islamic “Sense of Self” and Antisemitism


DR. AHMED: The world of Islam, in a sense, and this is my great dream and hope, rediscovers its own sense of self. Islam was a civilization that gave civilizations, for example in Spain and other parts of the world - which were rooted in a notion of peace and compassion and acceptance. And no society is perfect. I know that there are good times and there are bad times. But by and large, in certain times ... certain periods ... it worked. And that is a thousand years ago. It gave architecture. It gave thought. To give you an idea, a thousand years ago, Islam was at the cutting edge of all knowledge. There would have been no Renaissance in Europe and therefore Thomas Jefferson would not have been reading all the great philosophers from Greece if there had been no Muslims in Spain. All the Greeks ... Aristotle ... Plato ... were all translated first into Arabic, then into Latin, then French, English, and so on. This took two or three centuries, but this was the process. So, we need to accept that there is a past. We need to help Muslims rediscover that past. And get them back into the world community of nations. If that happens, automatically antisemitism goes down.

Excerpt from a program with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University from an interview on June 22, 2006.