Cosmopolitanism, the best way to combat Islamophobia, says Dr. Stefan Weidner at ITU
‘Islamophobia has been present in the West before 9/11, narrated the ordeal of acclaimed German scholar Dr Annemarie Schimmel as how she was attached for defending the Fatwa of Imam Khomeni against the Satantic Verses. Dr Stefan Weidner from Germany said while delivering a talk on ‘Translation to Cosmopolitanism: An Intellectual Journey,’ at the Information Technology University (ITU) the Punjab’s Centre for Governance and Policy here today.
Dr. Weidner claimed that ‘There have been voices against Islam in the West for decades,’ and while commenting on Muslim voices in the West he said that ‘most Muslim intellectuals in the West were driven away by repressive regimes and so, they are largely fanning the Islamophobia in the West.’ Therefore, he articulated a new way of dealing with the issue.
Challenging the current trend in the West Dr Weidner, who has published widely on Arabic literature, spoke about his own journey and how he began to translate Arabic literature in both German and English so that there is more interaction and understanding. He noted how scholarly voices do not have a wide reception in the public. ‘There are voices like Sipvak, Bhabha, and others, but who knows them beyond a certain group?’ he remarked. More concerted efforts therefore need to be undertaken he urged.
‘Cosmopolitanism, the best way to combat Islamophobia, can only take root if we learn and read each other,’ he added. Mr Weidner underscored the importance of a broad based and encompassing culture where different traditions enrich each other and where there is a dialogue, respect and understanding.