How Islam views other religions will be the focus of a lecture Friday by the head of Washington University’s religious studies department.
“Apart from its intrinsic interest, it’s important to question how different religions view each other,” said Ahmet Karamustafa, whose lecture is part of MU’s annual Paine Lectureships in Religion series.
“Overall, the goal of the series is to bring outstanding scholars to campus to lecture,” said Steve Friesen, chairman of MU’s department of religious studies.
Friesen said the need to supply information to the public about Islam is great. “Public knowledge of Islam in America is fairly narrow and needs to be broadened,” he said.
MU’s religious studies department does not have any specialists in Islam but tries to supplement the curriculum by bringing in speakers like Karamustafa.
“He’s a very good communicator and an excellent scholar,” Friesen said.
Originally from Turkey, Karamustafa completed his higher education in the United States and Canada. He has served on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis for 16 years.
Karamustafa said he hopes that his lecture will contribute to the public knowledge in discussing how Muslims relate to non-Muslims.
“There’s a lot of questioning and concern in the American public today about Muslims and how they approach, in particular, Christians and Jews,” he said. “As an educator, it is incumbent on me to come in and clarify the view.
“I will be very open to all kinds of questions,” Karamustafa added. “I hope we can have a question-and-answer session.”