Critical thinkers Ted Bwatu, Mohamed Barrie, Aminata Ndow and Sukina Douglas in conversation with Souleymane Bachir Diagne.
The fear of an increasing influence of Islam on notions such as freedom and equality makes more and more people return to so-called ‘own values’. Values that were allegedly created during the European Enlightenment and that are not immediately associated with Islam. But is that true?
In his book Open to Reason. Muslim Philosophers in Conversation with the Western TraditionSouleymane Bachir Diagne shows that thinkers such as Avicenna, Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd or Averroës pleaded for freedom of thought and research very early in the history of Islam. Today, Diagne believes that the need for philosophical thinking is more topical than ever, and he advocates an open, pluralistic society in which critical thinking and dialogue are stimulated.
In response, Crosstalks asked four critical thinkers to delve into the history of philosophy in Islam, in interaction with the current and future challenges of a world that is constantly in motion. On June 7, Ted Bwatu, Mohamed Barrie, Aminata Ndow and Sukina Douglas will have a conversation with Souleymane Bachir Diagne on this subject.
Souleymane Bachir Diagne is a professor at Columbia University in the departments French and Philosophy. He is also director of the Institute of African Studies. His areas of research include History of Philosophy, History of Logic and Mathematics, Islamic Philosophy, and African Philosophy and Literature. His latest publications include: The Ink of the Scholars. Reflections on Philosophy in Africa (Codesria, 2016) and Open to Reason. Muslim philosophers in conversation with Western tradition (Columbia University Press, 2018).
Sukina Douglas, together with Muneera Rashida, is part of the British spoken word and hip hop duo Poetic Pilgrimage. She tours worldwide and has led poetry workshops in countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Sweden, Morocco and Belgium. Her goal is to inspire people through the power of words. She makes regular guest appearances in foreign media and in 2015 the international television network Al Jazeera made the controversial documentary Hip Hop Hijabis about her and Poetic Pilgrimage.
Ted Bwatu is a financial consultant. He is interested in the North-South problem and the socio-economic impact of increasing inequality. He is currently writing his first novel, an allegorical epic with a view of contemporary society from the perspective of African and Eastern philosophies.
Mohamed Barrie and Aminata Ndow are two students from Antwerp. In 2017 they founded the student association AYO, together with Emmanuel Iyamu. With AYO they want to increase the self-awareness of Afro-Belgian students, among other things. Last year they organised the very first edition of Black History Month in Belgium, and they hope that this year again, March will be marked by Black History Month, and that this will further strengthen the voice of the African diaspora in Belgium.
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