Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quote from President of Fordham University about the Jesuit Tradition

“From the very beginnings, Jesuit education has been characterized by a number of different qualities: 
We have a great emphasis on care for the individual student; 
We have a great desire to introduce excellence and rigor into the classroom and every subject we teach; 
Third, we believe that students have to be invited to wrestle with the great ethical issues of their time. We want them to be bothered by the realization that they don’t know everything and bothered by injustice.”
—Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MacIntyre on God, philosophy, universities

Theism, as I noted at the outset, is not just a set of doctrines about God. It concerns the nature of the natural and social universe as created and sustained by God, as embodying his purposes. For theists understanding how things are is inseparable from understanding them as informed by God's purposes. So any study of physics or history or political science or psychology that omits all reference to God will be importantly incomplete. And this puts theists at odds with any purely secular understanding of such academic disciplines. Yet what would it be instead to understand them in the terms afforded by a theistic account of the order and nature of things?
-Alasdair MacIntyre, God, Philosophy, Universities, p. 15. 

AHM quote on Muslims engaging Jews and Christians

Despite appearances, and the urgent but mistaken desire of many Muslims to engage in dialogue with purely secular thinkers and ideologies, we are primarily called to speak to the ‘People of the Book’. Years ago, as I turned away from the machine age to consider alternative voices, I expected to find the heirs to the monotheist scriptures as the most serious prophetic dissidents of our time. By no means is that always the case, as there are many churchmen who are willing to lower the price of their goods in the hope of selling them to a trivial and lazy world. Yet I take heart from conversations with other scripturalists, and experience the accompanying fellowship as momentously important. I find, too, that God has placed Muslims in a privileged situation in such environments. Followers of Ishmael, who revere the founders of the other monotheisms not just for reasons of conviviality or diplomacy, but as a doctrinal necessity, are better-placed than Jews or Christians to benefit from the eirenic and mutually-affirming ethos which is informally demanded in such encounters.[37] The clarity and apostolic authority of our doctrines proves a no less precious advantage. It is helpful, and not difficult, gently to help the People of the Book confront their inherited misunderstandings about our faith, which are often based on errors already challenged in the Koran. In earlier centuries, and in certain right-wing Christian circles even today, a furious and hate-filled polemic existed based on utterly erroneous information,[38] and it is still not unusual to hear, even from reputed mainline theologians, wild opinions based on hearsay or long-dead scholarship. Pope Benedict XVI’s various pronouncements on Islam, for instance, seem to be drawn not from consultations with the Vatican’s established Islam experts, but on concerns shared, to a visible degree, with right-wing activists and journalists such as Oriana Fallaci.[39] He hardly condescends to listen to us; any more than the Roman emperors spoke to the new Christian believers multiplying in their inner cities.. But there are many others, perhaps very numerous, who seek humbly to listen and to learn. Many of them are seekers. Many of them, too, harbour the doubts about Christian doctrine which once precipitated my change.
-Abdal-Hakim Murad, Quicunque Vult, or, A teenage journey to Islam 

Rolling Stone Mobile - Politics - Politics: Everything You've Been Told About Radicalization is Wrong

Muslims and Institutional Building as a minority in America

Muslims have ignored establishing some of the most basic institutions that are necessary for any minority community who seeks to have their voice taken seriously. There are no widely circulated national publications that explain Muslim perspectives. There is no widely recognized think tank expressing Muslim understandings of policy debates. There are a scant few public intellectuals from Muslim backgrounds that articulate mainstream views or who represent general Muslim thinking. While there are a number of very talented Muslim academics, very few have been able to cross-over and achieve mainstream credibility. Every other minority community has multiple inventories in each category listed above. What Muslims have are a number of smaller efforts that lack support, lack funding and lack human resources. If Muslims have failed in all these arenas it is not for a lack of talent, but rather for a lack of collective vision.
-Firas Ahmad, in an Islamica Magazine article "Muslim Voters and Obama"

previously available at

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Andrew Delbanco

C-SPAN Book Discussion at NYU Bookstore with Scott Korb and Khalid Latif
Scott Korb talked about his book, Light without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College, in which he recounts the creation of the first four-year Muslim liberal arts college, Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California. The author follows the school’s first class and profiles its founders, Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir. Scott Korb [and Imam Khalid Latif] spoke at the New York University Bookstore in New York City.

Bill Clinton on his early sense of mortality

My father [who drowned after losing control of his car at the age of 28 in 1946] left me with the feeling that I had to live for two people, and that if I did it well enough, somehow I could make up for the life he should have had. And his memory infused me, at a younger age than most, with a sense of my own mortality. The knowledge that I, too, could die young drove me both to try to drain the most out of every moment of life and to get on with the next big challenge. Even when I was't sure where I was going, I was always in a hurry.
-Bill Clinton, My Life, p. 7. 

NYT: A Viewer’s Guide to the NYC Mayoral Candidates

By visiting a mosque every Friday, he [John C. Lui] has made unexpected inroads with the city’s long-neglected Muslims. His least understood asset, however, is the deep bond he has forged with the city’s black community, which has applauded his call for the abolition of the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactic and his complaints about prosecutorial zeal.