The Center of Mosque Studies – Many of political scholars believe that existence of challenges and disputes between Islamic states like Iran and Saudi Arabia let to transpiration of Daesh into Middle East. In the other hand, existence of these challenges in Middle East has caused to increase inflammations in the region. Mosque as the symbol of unity in Muslim World could be mentioned as a key solution to unify all branches of Islam and Muslims together.
In this regard, the correspondent of the Center of Mosque Studies talked to Prof. Charles Taliaferro.
Charles Taliaferro is an American philosopher specializing in Theology and Philosophy of Religion. He is a Professor of Philosophy at St. Olaf College, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Faithful Research, and a member of the Royal Institute of Philosophy. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of twenty books, most recently The Image in Mind; Theism, Naturalism and the Imagination, co-authored with the American artist Jil Evans. He has been a visiting scholar or guest lecturer at a large number of universities, including Brown, Cambridge, Notre Dame, Oxford, Princeton, and the University of Chicago. Since 2013 Taliaferro is Editor-in-chief of the journal "Open Theology".
The text of full interview with this great scholar is given in below:
1-Challebge between Muslim states like Iran and Saudi Arabia and their inter-competitions was one of the main causes for penetration of Daesh and other terrorist groups in Middle East. How mosque as the symbol of Muslims unity could help to challenge this issue?
I believe it should, based on my experience of Islam and the mosque in American culture. There are over two thousand mosques in the Unite States today, many of them founded since the year 2,000. There are ten mosques and Islamic centers in the city I live in, Minneapolis with a population of around 400,000, which is in the northern mid-west of the country. Mosques here have tended to be unifying for Muslims coming from all regions of the globe. We have large African Muslim populations, but also from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Turkey, and Eastern Europe. My Muslim neighbors and friends see the mosque as unifying.
2-What are the characteristics of an Islamic prominent mosque in your opinion?
At least in the United States, mosques have served vital roles culturally in terms of education, inheritance, and, of course, worship. The Mosque or masjid has been a place for immigrants or second generation citizens to learn from Muslim American who have been here for many generations. The mosques in the United States are mostly in urban areas, which has sometimes led Muslims in rural areas to commute, at least periodically to mosques in cities. The traditional praying is such a powerful, disciplined way for Muslims to be united, and so the mosque can easily feel like a life-line.
3-Many of Islamic civilizations like Iran try to turn back mosque into the center of Islamic society like the era of our grand prophet (PBUH). How can we achieve such active and strong mosques through Muslim communities?
Since the 2016 Presidential campaign and Donald Trump's seeking to create in America and the West a fear of Islam, it has never been more important for Muslim communities to bravely preserve their life and practice. There are well over three million Muslim Americans that are increasingly active in the broader political, cultural life. This vitality is important in demonstrating to the general public that Islamophobia is based on falsehood and fear.
4-It seems the European or American Muslims have been successful in attraction of non-Muslim people to mosque by holding some ceremonies like open doors day. How do you evaluate such movements like these?
Absolutely. And it has gone the other way, with some Christian churches inviting an Iman to speak in churches. We are inviting a Muslim philosopher from Iran to my campus this fall in order to promote Muslim-Christian dialogue