Symposium on the Futures of the Islamic World
American Journal of Islam and Society
I am honored to be among such a distinguished group of people whohave contributed so much to identifying the problems besetting the Islamicworld. The subject under discussion highly strategic, especially atthis time of sweeping upheaval and disruption that has been anticipatedfor years by future studies specialists. I thus have no illusions about theawesome task we face and am fully aware of the subject's complexity.I have been working in the field of future studies for over twenty-fiveyears
... have participated in approximately two hundred internationalconferences and seminars related to this subject. This is the first time, Ithink, that an international symposium has been entirely devoted to theidentification and analysis of current and anticipated problems as relatedto Islam. This is a sign of the maturity of the Islamic world, and similarinitiatives must be encouraged in the future with the hope of initiatingand supporting concrete research projects in this important am.Given the countries of origin of this symposium's participants, I hopethat its sponsors Will consider extending its activities beyond the scopeof the Arab world. After all, Arabs are only 20 percent of the total Muslimpopulation. When dealing with Islam, we must all beware of ethnocentrictemptations, for Islam calls for a diversity that is conducive tounity. This prescription is enshrined in the Qur'an:0 mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and havemade you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo!the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct.(49: 13)Accordingly, I consider this symposium to be a sort of rehearsal forother meetings to come and which will be more representative of the realitiesand potentialities of the Islamic world. We should therefore avoidthe confusing generalization which has l&l the West to apply the specificreality of the Arab region to all countries of the Islamic world. This is notto be regarded as a critical stand against this symposium, but rather as anexpression of a personal reservation concerning possible attempts to ...