Thinking Together Critically Series: Difficult Themes in Muslim Activism and Interfaith Relations

A six-part conversation/lecture series with CAIR-PA’s Iftekhar Hussain

Registration Closed.

This course seeks to address conversations within the Muslim community about a number of difficult issue areas that inform debates on Muslim activism and interfaith relations. These questions include but are not limited to the following: Does Islam condone same-sex marriages? Can Muslims engage in activism without compromising their belief-system? Should we sweep under the rug the racism within the Muslim community?

This 6-part course by CAIR-PA’s Iftekhar Hussain will present source-text informed perspectives on these and related questions. We will look at the Qur’an and the hadith and talk about these issues critically. 

Who is the ideal audience? 

The ideal audience is any Muslim who is engaged in activism and interfaith work. While we are open to welcoming non-Muslim participants, the course is not a 101-level course to learn about Islam and presumes a certain degree of familiarity with Muslim source-texts and debates within the community. We are open to hosting students outside of Pennsylvania and Delaware, but references to local events/discussions should be expected.

When and where will the classes take place?

The classes will be conducted online via Zoom. Each session will be 1.5 hours long and will take place on Saturday mornings at 11:00am, starting on October 23, 2021. See detailed schedule below.

Video recordings of the classes will be distributed to registrants who cannot attend the live lectures.

Is there background or homework reading material?

A number of reading suggestions will be made prior to each session. Registered students will receive weekly reminder emails.

Is there an age limit?

No. We realize our students and communities are having these questions and debates at an early age. We recommend that each student reviews the content plan below to decide if the course is age-appropriate for themselves.

Who is the instructor?

Iftekhar Hussain
Iftekhar Hussain

The instructor is Iftekhar Hussain, advisor to the CAIR-Pennsylvania Board of Directors and member of the CAIR-Philadelphia Executive committee (view bio). A number of his past virtual Friday reflections are also available for viewing.

Session Schedule

October 23, 2021 • 1st Session
Setting the Stage: Talking Openly and Critically on Difficult Conversations

  • A summary of legal tools and perspectives that will be utilized
  • How do we know the hadith and the Qur’an are preserved as intended?
  • Student expectations, teacher expectations are set.

October 30, 2021 • 2nd Session
Gender Equality and Gender Equity

  • Are genders created? Are they social constructs?
  • Should we be apologetic about the Prophets (ﷺ)’s marriages?
  • Can we say polygamy is wrong?

November 6, 2021 • 3rd Session
Same-Sex Relationships

  • Does Islam condone homosexuality?
  • Can Muslims accept same-sex relationships? Can they live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage?

November 13, 2021 • 4th Session
Slavery and Islam

  • Is slavery condoned by our source-texts? Why was it an accepted practice in Muslim states?
  • Is there anything in Islam that can justify the rampant racism within our communities?

November 20, 2021 • 5th Session
How do we know Islam is the final/true religion?

  • Do we need to reject other faith traditions if we are Muslims? Do we need a hierarchy? 
  • Does it not negate respect for other religions?

November 27, 2021 • 6th Session
Politics and Activism

  • Do we not justify a non-Muslim regime if we engage in politics?
  • Current parties do not act in accordance with our faith; can we be supportive of their candidates?
  • When would voting be considered haram?
CAIR-Philadelphia Islam Course

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