Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can We Talk About God : Zaid Shakir and Dr Roger Scruton

Zaid Shakir:

Born in Berkeley in 1956, California and spent his formative years in Connecticut, he accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force and shortly after changed his name to Zaid Salim Shakir. A summa cum laude graduate, he obtained a BA in International Relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he led a successful campaign for disinvestment from South Africa, and co-founded a local Islamic center, Masjid al-Huda.[4]

After a year of studying Arabic in Cairo, Egypt, he settled in New Haven, Connecticut and continued his community activism, co-founding Masjid al-Islam, the Tri-State Muslim Education Initiative, and the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee. As Imam of Masjid al-Islam[1] from 1988 to 1994 he spear-headed a community renewal and grassroots anti-drug effort, also accepted the position as Professor and taught political science and Arabic at Southern Connecticut State University. He served as an interfaith council Chaplain at Yale University[2] and developed the Chaplaincy Sensitivity Training for physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital. Zaid Shakir participates as a speaker at Islamic Society of North America annual conferences.

Dr Roger Scruton :

Born 27 February 1944, is a British philosopher specializing in aesthetics. He is the author of several books on philosophy and politics, including Art and Imagination (1974), The Meaning of Conservatism (1980), Animal Rights and Wrongs (1996), England: An Elegy (2000), and A Political Philosophy: Arguments For Conservatism (2006). He has also written several novels and two operas.

From 1971 to 1992 he was a lecturer and professor of aesthetics at Birkbeck College, London. In 1982 he was one of the founders of The Salisbury Review, a conservative political journal, which he edited for 18 years. He first embraced conservatism during the student protests of May 1968 in France: "When I asked my friends what they wanted, what were they trying to achieve, all I got back was this ludicrous Marxist gobbledegook. I was disgusted by it, and thought there must be a way back to the defence of Western civilisation against these things. That's when I became a conservative. I knew I wanted to conserve things rather than pull them down."[1]

From 1992 to 1995 he was a professor at Boston University, from 2005 to 2009 research professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia, and in 2009–2010 a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. A.C. Grayling described him in 2000 as a "wonderful teacher of philosophy."[1] In January 2010 he was awarded the title of visiting professor at the University of Oxford for three years, an unpaid appointment, where he teaches graduate classes on aesthetics, and in spring 2011 he takes up a quarter-time professorial fellowship in moral philosophy at the University of St Andrews.[2] In 2010 he delivered the Scottish Gifford Lectures at St Andrews on the topic, "The Face of God."

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