Thursday, June 07, 2007

Karen Armstrong in KL

Religious historian, author and one of the most provocative, original, and inclusive thinker on the role of religion in the modern world, Karen Armstrong is in Malaysian this week to promote peace and better understanding between Islam and the West.

At 10am on Saturday, June 16, 2007, Armstrong will be at the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur to give a public lecture on "The Role of Religion in the 21st Century".

This is an event that is surely not to be missed.

In today's world where the West is virulently hostile towards Islam and where Islam is feared, misunderstood and systematically demonized, Armstrong stands out as a friend.
She has authored many books on religion and the history of religion/s including on Islam.
Her books are well-respected as they are based on scholarly research.
In 1991, after a fatwa was issued against author Salman Rushdie, she wrote "Muhammad: Western Attempt to Understand Islam".
It was her response to the bigotry against Islam following that fatwa.

A former Roman Catholic nun and instructor at London's prestigious Leo Baeck College for the Training of Rabbis, she is one of the English-speaking world's foremost commentators on religion,.
She is also a broadcaster and columnist. Several of her books have been translated into over 40 languages.

She is the author of the international bestseller The History of God and played a key role in Bill Moyer's popular PBS series on religion. She is also the author of Jerusalem, The Gospel According to Woman, Holy War, Muhammad, The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Short History.
Her book The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness was an immediate bestseller.

Certainly, she has her critics but she should be credited for having sincerely, honestly and effectively offered a "vital corrective" to the narrow world view that Islam is an extreme faith that promotes authoritarian government, female oppression, civil war, and terrorism.

Armstrong, in her writings, argues that Islam, which is the world's fastest-growing faith, is a much richer and more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest.

Since the 9/11 New York tragedy, she has been doing work on Islam, particularly in the United States.

While in the country, Armstrong will be at the Residence Hotel in Kajang from June 17 to 20 to speak at the Inter-Civilizational Youth Engagement Programme (IYEP), a dialogue that will be attended by 50 young people from all over the world.



I went out, after reading your posting on Karen armstrong, to find one of her books.

I ended up with Anna Politkovskaya's A Russian Diary. She was the journalist murdered last year. Putin denied a hand in her killing.

Looking forward to your reporting on Karen Armstrong's lecture.

P.s. Books are getting dearer these days. Know any good books-for-rent?

kittykat46 said...

Hi Nuraina,
You might also want to mention that most of Karen Armstrongs books are "unavailable" in Malaysia. Not officially banned, but Kastam in Johor Bahru will not allow them through.

adik said...

...most of Karen Armstrongs books are "unavailable" in Malaysia. Not officially banned, but Kastam in Johor Bahru will not allow them through.

Stupid customs!

Anonymous said...

Banned officially or not is still banned. However, there is the power of the internet!!! Google or Yahoo "Karen Armstrong" and you will find her writings, interviews, etc. and get an idea of what she is about.


Another interesting book is called: Noah's Other Son by Brian Arthur Brown - a United Church Minister of Canada.
(see "from the publisher section)

Anonymous said...

Sorry that last link did not come thru properly:

A Voice (from the Brick) said...

Awwww ... nak ikut! Nak ikut!

QueenB said...

saya pun nak ikut sama; di mana tiket boleh diperolehi?


Voice and Queen B:

It is a public lecture. Attendance is free.

But if you have any queries, please call: Maria Yan or Ghazali at 03-79603207

kittykat46 said...

Hi Nuraina,
My apologies for inaccurate posted information earlier.
Three of Karen Armstrong's books on World religions are officially banned.
Almost all of her other books, you cannot bring them through Kastam - they will seize it.


thanx for the ifo. I wasn't aware that her books faced such "ruling".

That's becos I bought one of her books, either on Islam or Muhammad from MPH book store in Bangsar Village.

I won't even ask why her books have been banned.

thanx again, kk46



Oh dear. A correction from me, Kittykat46. I'll tell u why.

but first, let me say this-- now I know why people scribble on their books the place and date the books were bought.

I am one of those. seems like a natural thing to do.
"nuraina samad, KL, june 20 1997", or "nuraina samad, Boston Dec 21 1979". I'd scribble these on the opening page.
Or "nuraina samad, karachi, sept 2, 2005", which was where i bought Karen Armstrong's 'Islam: A Short History".
I was more specific, I wrote after Karachi, in brackets, Park Tower, the shopping complex where the book shop was. I was still with the NST then and was sent to karachi on assignment.

so, yeah... her books are banned.
i thought i bought her book at MPH, in Bangsar Village.
I was wrong.
Sorry about this.

Hamdan said...

Kak Ena

I have a copy of Battle for God, but I think it was recently on the KDN ban list.

HANTU LAUT said...

I have two of her books:

1.Muhammad- A Biography Of The Prophet. Well researched and lucid.

2.A History Of God.
Readable but you probably wouldn't enjoy it unless you are interested in theology.

HANTU LAUT said...

I find Karen's Muhammad a better read than Martin Ling's.Her 1st chapter was devoted to the conflicts between Christians Europe and Islam from the days of Islamic rule in Cordova to the present.

Many of her books were analytical approach and research on the Abrahamic religions and the conflicts within.

I have not read all of her books but the few that I have, she has not in anyway insulted Islam.

I don't understand why the ban.

I am a Muslim I have read many books written not in favour of Islam, infact I understand the Bible more than the Koran because it was written in a language I can understand. As a young man I was taught to recite the Koran which was written in a language completely alien to me.I was in for a bigger shock when I found out even my guru was as blank as I was.A parrot teaching another parrot.

In spite of all that I have not lost my religion.Now, I chose what I want to read.

Stevie said...

the dialogue will be held in kajang, thats is kuchistan to most people, and its for 50 people.
why so exclusive?

rocky, there is a book-for-rent shop in taman tun, upstairs of a chinese restaurant, across form one secret recipe joint.