2007 Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group and Otago University Chaplaincy Annual Open Peace Lecture

"Towards a More Inclusive View of the Religious 'Other': A Muslim Perspective."

Professor Abdullah Saeed - University of Melbourne

Wednesday 5th September 5.10pm St David Lecture Theatre, University of Otago.
Followed by interfaith panel discussion and light supper from 7.00pm. All welcome.

Professor Saeed is Foundation Chair of the Sultan of Oman Endowed Chair in Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne and Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (in conjunction with Griffith University and the University of Western Sydney).

Summary : This presentation will explore the message of peace and compassion that is at the heart of the Islamic foundation texts and Muslim practice. Part of this message is a strong encouragement to Muslims to strive towards peaceful and cooperative relations with people of other faiths on the basis of compassion, reciprocity and justice. Prof Saeed argues that the foundation texts of Islam provide ample support for this and counter the views of certain Muslims who argue that such relations between Muslims and people of other faiths should not be the norm. Such views often rely on particular interpretations that developed in specific socio-political contexts in the past, and where such interpretations exist, they may have to be reassessed today. At a time when people of all faiths need to come together as participants of an increasingly globalised world, there are plenty of reasons for Muslims to adopt interpretations that are more in line with what contemporary needs and concerns of today demand.

Biography : Professor Saeed is an active researcher, focusing on one of the most important issues in Islamic thought: the negotiation of text and context, ijtihad and interpretation. He is a strong advocate of reform of Islamic thought and is frequently asked to present at events both nationally and internationally. He also participates in training courses on Islamic issues to community leaders and government agencies in Australia and abroad. Of particular interest, given the current climate, is the promotion of inter-religious initiatives. He regularly engages with the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities at national and international symposia to enhance community understandings of Islam , Islamic thought and Muslim societies. He has authored and edited numerous works. His recent publications include Islamic Thought: an introduction, Routledge , 2006; Interpreting the Qur'an: Towards a Contemporary Approach, Routledge, 2006; Approaches to the Qur'an in Contemporary Indonesia (editor), Oxford University Press, 2005; Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam (co-author), Ashgate, 2004.; Islam in Australia, Allen & Unwin, 2003. In addition to his strong research focus, Professor Saeed continues to teach Islamic studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and supervise postgraduate students. Further information is available at: and

Local contacts for further information :
Rev. Greg Hughson 479 8497
Dr Najibullah Lafraie 479 3877