Narrowing Islam-West cultural gap


The two-day seminar, to be organized by the Ministry of Higher Education in collaboration with the King Abdul Aziz University, is another major step in support of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s call to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogues as a means to establish world peace.

The discussions on the first day of the seminar today will focus on Arab and Islamic studies at French and European universities. The topic will cover the extent of Arab and Islamic cultures being taught in the universities and institutes of higher learning. It will also discuss intellectual and historical achievements that led to conflicting viewpoints on understanding Arab and Islamic cultures and the emergence of contemporary concepts that did away with the Orientalist approach to understand the Islamic culture.

Another of the seminar’s major topic of discussion is the role of translation in bringing Islamic and Arab thought to Europe. The topic aims to discuss the role of translation in enabling scientific and intellectual contacts between the West and the Arab Islamic East. The topic will also be discussed from the perspective of exchange of knowledge between civilizations. It will also shed light on the important stages of development of the translation movement down the centuries between the two civilizations on the one hand and the intellectual and scientific motivations that led to vast accomplishments in translation on the other. The session will also explore the role played by translation in bringing about close relations and constructive exchange of ideas between the two civilizations, or, to the contrary, the growth of misunderstanding and the clash between the two civilizations.

The Islamic economy is another major topic of discussion in the seminar. It will view the economy from a moral perspective and Islam’s contribution in creating a link between morality and financial and economic operations and its significance in the light of modern economic challenges. The seminar will discuss the extent of Muslim scholars’ participation in laying down the rules of modern economics that enabled the interaction of the Western laws (French civil and British common) with the Islamic jurisprudence on the one hand and bringing greater attention to the need for close relation between finance and ethics.

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