A World of Inequalities: Christian and Muslim Perspectives Opening Public Lecture

By | September 2, 2019

– It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to this opening session, of what is now the 17th
in a series of seminars, the Building Bridges Seminars, which were initiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, and which have continued since. In 2005, we were hosted here
by the Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox communities, and we discussed the
question of the common good. And it’s wonderful for
us to be back here again with the hospitality of
the three communities to pursue another question,
the question of inequality. Our title this year is
A World of Inequalities, Muslim and Christian Perspectives. I’d like to acknowledge
some of our important, well I was going to call them guests, but really they’re
hosts, we are the guests. This evening doctor Mustafa
Ceric who’s the former Grand Mufti who hosted us here in 2005, Professor Father Mato Zovkic who participated two years in
the Building Bridges Seminar in Washington in 2004
and again here in 2005. Also Professor Enes Karic
who was there in 2004, also to acknowledge the presence of Professor
Watihslav Topolovich who is the Dean of the
Orthodox Theology Faculty, who have graciously cosponsored
with the other two faculties Professor Zhuridija Hasaowich who’s the dean of the
faculty of Islamic Studies, thank you for your welcome. And thank you to all of you,
many of you I know as students and it’s a delight for us always to, though we meet students, all
of us here are professors in one way or another, and we meet students
on a day by day basis. But it’s very interesting for us to have the opportunity to meet students many of whom know our
work from books and so on, and it’s a great pleasure to meet you and thank you for coming
to join us this afternoon. This seminar is perhaps
the longest running, almost certainly the longest
running international Muslim Christian dialogue
currently existing. It has a very particular style of work. This is not an academic
conference in the ordinary sense, where we call experts to give papers and people turn up
sometimes and sometimes not. This is, it’s the building of a community, over these 17 years we have
developed a network of Muslims and Christian scholars, who
are prepared to sit together over several days to study
our Scriptures together, to consider particular questions that are important to our world, always in the light of the canonical texts of our traditions. We don’t come to this as we would normally in a conference to present our thinking, we come here to learn, to learn together, and to learn how to learn together. And so don’t be suprrised if
you turn up on Friday afternoon and we still haven’t resolved the problem of inequality in the world. What we will have done I
hope, is learned better how our own communities
are involved with this, both as parts of the solution, and indeed as parts of the problem. I said before that when
we met here in 2005, we took the topic The Common Good, and you’ll find downstairs
the record of that meeting, indeed you’ll find the record
of 16 of our 17 meetings, so those are available and
their details will be provided to you, how you can have
those books for free by PDF, but do please have a look at the results. But you’ll see that mostly
we take a positive topic. This year we’ve taken
the topic of inequality, not because we think we can solve it but probably because
there is more agreement about the fact that there is
great inequality in our world, than there is agreement about whether there ought to be equality. If one reads current debates
among political philosophers, ethicists, theologians, there is no general agreement precisely on the nature of equality
and how it is to be achieved and whether indeed it is a good thing. But what we can all agree on, and what we all experience
in our different ways, the reality of inequality. And these inequalities create
a kind of tapestry together, they are not distinct inequalities. So we have political
inequalities, racial inequalities, gender inequalities,
economic inequalities, inequalities born of
ethnicity and nationalism, inequalities based on
difference of religious belief and these just to name a few. So what we hope to do in this seminar is to immerse ourselves initially in the reality of
inequality in this world, and to ask ourselves the question how is it that we Muslims and Christians as such a substantial percentage
of the world’s population, how is it that A we have not
succeeded in putting our vision of the world, the vision
we believe God has given us of the world, how is it we have failed to live up to the ideals
given to us by God, and how indeed is it
possible that we in fact have participated in
creating further inequality and sustaining inequalities which were originally born
of political and cultural and economic causes? So you see we have our
work cut out for us, but as always, our work, we hope, will be a pleasure. We begin this evening by
having two keynote speakers, one from the Christian tradition, one from the Muslim tradition, who will lay out for us
the question of inequality, and you’ll find their
biographies in your program. The first speaker is Dr. Ovamir Anjum, who is the is Imam Khattab
Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies at the Department of Philosophy
and Religious Studies, at the University of
Toledo in Ohio, in the USA. His work focuses on the
nexus of theology, politics, and law in classical and medieval Islam. So a prolific writer and translator, and I leave you to read further details about Dr. Anjum’s work in our program. Our second speaker I will
introduce after Dr. Anjum has spoken to us. – Thank you very much Father Madigan, and thank you all for being here. (speaking in a foreign
language) Peace be with you all, (speaking in a foreign langague),
I begin in the name of God most compassionate, always compassionate. I’ve been asked to offer a
diagnosis of the challenges of the many inequalities
that afflict our world, I shall therefore
reflect on the challenges and paradoxes, rather than
attempt to articulate cures. Let me begin by stating that
Muslims have often failed to uphold the teachings
of justice and compassion to which God has called us. Through that is, to the teachings of his Beloved Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, by calling the Prophet Muhammad (speaking in foreign
language) to all the worlds. One of my students taught me that (speaking in foreign
language) is not fully captured by its common English translation mercy as the latter connotes
primarily forgiveness for the guilty, a better
alternative is compassion, which emphasizes the concern for the weak, which is what we are in the eyes of God. As a community of God called
to compassion and justice, we have a long way to go. It goes without saying that
Muslim states in the world today suffer from most grievous injustices, many of which are self-inflected. My relevant claim here
is that these injustices are inflicted and sustained not in spite of the normative cultures but as a result of them. These normative cultures,
diverse as they may be, are in varying degrees
informed by Islamic traditions, which therefore must be
our part of departure as I’ll argue for a
critical understanding of and remedy for grievous inequalities. Equally evident however
is the fact that as economically peripheral
peoples of the world Muslims biggest sin
appears to be weakness. From colonialism to neoliberalism, foreign forces have contributed to the destruction of
traditional Muslim institutions which has wrought incalculable
damage to the Muslims ability to confront the
tremendously rapid economic and social transformations
that have ensued, and have left us with a
deeply defensive posture of fearful conservatism, rather than a principled critique of an engagement with them. But this material and structure analysis offers only a partial
explanation to us believers, to whom God can do all things if we keep our promise to him. And therefore seeing all problems
ultimately in moral terms is part of our faith. Yet often this recognition
of our own failures turns into spiritualized fatalism and abdication of responsibility, which I believe can be averted through a critical appraisal
of the problem at hand. Let me proceed to share a couple of profound paradoxes of our time that should concern any
thinking about religion and equality in my view. First their is the obvious
paradox of religion and inequality in the modern world, one that is not unique to Islam. The data show as it does not
take too much imagination to heuristically confirm, what the opening lines of a recent folly among the subject claims, quote, religion is one of the strongest and most persistent correlates of social and economic inequalities unquote. Research in western Christianity, and in Hinduism for instance shows that a rise in religiosity
as neoliberalism increases inequality and the results are confirmed by trends in western Europe. Although I’m not aware of research focusing on Muslim majority countries, I suspect that the conclusions
would be comparable. This phenomenon is explained either through the relative power theory that is the rich support
religion for a number of reasons and their support for
it attracts the poor, religion may also contribute to inequality by deflating pressures for redistribution. Or, the less favored depravation theory, which is religion provides comfort to the economically disadvantaged. Another alternative explanation may be that the success of the modern state as the agency of
redistribution and management leads to a declining role
of religion in small, modernized, homogeneous societies, leading to declining social
relevance of religion. This dovetails well with the notion that many anthropologist have posited that the modern state
is inherently secular and secularizing agent. Regardless, it seems clear that religious intelligentsia
have much to worry about, whereas our normative traditions call for renunciation of material wealth and other worldliness, that should presumably
mitigate inequalities, their effective impact in the modern world may be quite the opposite. The second paradox is
the curious relationship between the left liberal demand for total and uncompromising equality
in exactly the same age and encouraged by the same
forces of neoliberalism that have generated some of
the greatest inequalities and injustices of our time, and in fact have resurrected
the radical right. A third paradox is one of definitions, and Muslims are often called to hurry up and imitate before the next
wave of definitions hits. Injustice or unjust inequality no doubt, is at the heart of some of the key issues the world is facing today, crises where Muslims are
in the eye of the storm as victims as well as perpetrators, Muslims are violently confronted with the question of injustice. Yet a settlement of
what constitutes justice remains elusive, as modern aspirations are deeply chimerical. How radically these definitions
and aspirations change from one decade to the next in
our age of accelerated change can be appreciated if we trace the transformation of justice debates over the last couple of decades. From the equality versus
freedom debate of the Cold War, to the near triumph of individualism and capitalism in the post
Cold War, neoliberal age, when the crucial question now becomes one of personal freedoms. Personal sexual choice, gender pronouns, gender pay gap and so on. These changing norms are not primarily the result
of some nefarious conspiracy, nevertheless in this drama, the anglo-American economic
and political swings have been inordinately
influential in deciding for the global cosmopolitan culture what justice ought to mean, and what kinds of inequalities
are worth opposing and which ones are inevitable, tolerable and even desirable. More precisely even as
the notion of justice has in the modern period been equated to the notion of equality, yet the progressive liberals
possess no moral criterion to differentiate between tolerable and intolerable inequalities, thus letting the market
force and brute power to silently draw lines in the sand. Like hierarchy, equality comes with costs. The rise of liberal democratic equality has been accompanied
by, if not facilitated, modern individualism has
greatly eroded familial and communal forms of life, institutions our religious
traditions consider crucial for religious life. The resurrection of the new far-right to prominence across the west indicates the anemic state
of these institutions. Allow me now to turn to Islamic
scripture for inspiration and some thoughts. First, justice and mercy. The Quran calls us to be just first and foremost in the most intimate sense, even against ourselves,
and our kith and kin, as in Surah An-Nisa four verse 135, oh ye who believe ye staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even
though it be against yourself or your parents. Elsewhere a similar
verses emphasizes justice even against your enemy. But justice is still second to the virtue that we are most frequently
reminded of in the Quran, that (speaking in foreign
language) that is mercy, and compassion. Now in contrast to
justice, which is an ideal, and fairness or equal distribution, (speaking in foreign
language) mercy, compassion, planned equality one might translate that as (speaking in foreign language). Is a concept that does
not find direct expression in the Quran, nor is it a cardinal virtue
in an unqualified sense. Nobility, we’re told in
the Quran depends on, draws on, one’s piety, but
piety nonetheless creates a kind of inequality. We are taught in Surah
Al-Hujurat 49 verse 13, oh people lo we have created
you from a male and a female and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo, the noblest of you
in the sight of Allah is the most pious. Here the import is to reject
inequality based on race, tribe, lineage, yet even here
a criterion for inequality is posited, namely (speaking
in foreign language) nobility and quest for it is not absent but it comes from piety and fear of God. Let me remark on a few
different kinds of inequality apart from that of piety and admission of truth, faith, which is the first of the
criterion of inequality. Gender inequality, men and women are, according to the Quran, allies
and partners of each other, (speaking in foreign language), the Quran posits no difference
in their religious status, aspirations, and virtues, and strongly suggests
equality in these respects. In Surat 33, verse 35, we
read for Muslim men and women, for believing men and women,
for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, and you go on through
a list of attributes, and it’s both men and women
are emphasized explicitly as equal before God in attainting and being rewarded for these virtues. The Quran also conspicuously notes that in the story of creation, both Adam and Eve ate the tree, and both were forgiven. The Quran goes out of its
way to use a dual verb form to emphasize this point as
in Surat Ta-Ha, verse 121, yet some Hadith accounts
seem to give a different bend to this story and reproduce
the Biblical narrative, one Hadith also suggests at
least in a superficial sense that women are deficient
in religion and intellect (speaking in foreign language). When discussing the marital
institution however, the Quran unequivocally declares that women have rights
similar to those of men, yet men have a degree above
them in chapter two, verse 228. And quote men have authority over women owing to what they spend on them and owing to God’s grace
to some over others. That’s the famous 4:34 verse, (speaking in foreign language) verse 34. The same verse allows men to discipline their disobedient wives by warning, abandoning them in beds, and even striking them. The Hadith reports express the Prophet’s disliking of striking and qualify that permission by prohibiting the striking of face or striking so hard that it leaves a mark. The Quran also limits
polygamy to four wives. If a man can be just among them, if he cannot, then only one. The women share inheritance,
in itself a radical move, as women hither to been deemed property rather than property owners, is nonetheless half that of
men in most classes of heirs. The Quran also deems one man’s testimony equivalent to that of two
women in certain cases. The juristic tradition
received this Quranic model more or less faithfully. Yet, its attempt to formalize and standardize sometimes
accentuated the inequality more than what scripture allowed, and on occasions an obvious contradiction to the prophetic teachings. Careful readers of the Quran,
even in the premodern period found this problematic. Some for instance noted that
women were religious equals of men, and that the Hadid’s
is suggesting deficiency of women was in fact a reference
to the particular issue, that menstruating women
may not pray or fast. The profit in other words
was using this fact only rhetorically to perhaps encourage
them to be more generous in the fundraising than men. And their testimony was deemed
half only in these special cases, of certain transactions and so on. A remarkable verse in the
Quran just before 434 however anticipates the reaction
one might have in response to the inequality that is posited. This is verse 32 in chapter
four, and wish not the thing in which Allah has made you,
some of you excel others. Unto men a share from what
they have earned and unto women have shared from that
which they have earned. But ask Allah of his bounty
lo Allah is ever knowing of all things. In contrast to these verses that establish a social hierarchy along
with a spiritual equality, most other Quranic verses
address, addressing women are dedicated to warning men
against abusing the authority that they’re given in matters of marriage, divorce, and custody, wealth, inequality. Unlike gender inequality at
the social level which is carefully justified and
regulated, economic inequality is treated in the Quran as
undesirable, yet one that is to an extent unavoidable. More over a number of means
are devised to mitigate it. Inequality and wealth is
tolerated only as a natural result divinely ordained, diversity
of human circumstances. God gives some more than
others, but only to test them and vehemently denies any
superiority on that basis. Yet if one posits the human
invention of private property as the foundation of
all later inequality as, and later even capitalism,
as leftist historians do, then that foundation is
remarkably preserved in the Quran. The right to own and freely
engage in trade is unequivocally preserved, and theft is severely punished. Islamic law has created a
strong free market on private property which endangered
worldwide trade networks spanning in particular
the Indian Ocean world. Yet prevented the rise of
modern, form of capitalism. One can say something similar
about inequality in slavery but I will leave that to my colleague Jonathan Brown to talk about. In summary two observations
can be made about the Quranic responses to the various
kinds of inequality. First in the categories of
inequality that I have mentioned we note a slight gradation
phase where inequality is imperative and required. Gender where it’s legally
mandated but mitigated. Property and status, it’s
tolerated but highly mitigated. And finally race ethnicity
and tribe, language where it’s categorically rejected. Second in responding to
nearly all types of inequality within the community of
the faithful, gender wealth and status, the Quranic
response follows a pattern. The baseline of the Quran
seems to be to accept the form of life that had emerged in
nearly all major civilizations. And the new reese in
particular over millennia. This included scriptive and
social institutions, family clan tribe, private property patriarchy. They’re adopted in more
or less modified form. Depending on ones focus one
may emphasize one or the other, whether how they’re accepted,
how they’re modified. But both elements of acceptance and modification are undeniable. There was neither a total
rejection nor total acceptance. Finally in all these
dimensions it is Islamic law, the Sharia that emerged
as the site of management and mitigation of
hierarchy and inequality. Let me now say a few things
about inequality as a concept. I have qualified the kind
of inequality maintained in Islamic law as hierarchical inequality. This suggests the question
of what other kinds of inequality might there be. At the very rudimentary
level we can identify three kinds of inequality. There is the hierarchical
inequality which serves a social function and is justified
by the normative order. It is here that the tension
between Islam and the modern liberal discourse on human rights lie. Which I shall accept as
the point of reference, that is liberalism as a point of reference that is predominant in our time. Then there is the second
kind of inequality, the might is right in inequality which
is against accepted legal norms where certain groups are above the law. Prohibition against this
happens to be an area of overall agreement between the two
traditions Islam and liberalism. And finally there is the
outcome inequality, seen as necessarily a result of
liberty in classical Liberalism and capitalism and is
contemporary Republican version. But in both modern left
Liberalism and in Islam it is seen as the object of mitigative action. Meaning that yes if you engage
in free trade you’ll have winners and losers but Islam
as well as modern left concern with how to mitigate that inequality. The site and nature of these
mitigative actions however differ, left Liberalism
functions largely through the sequitur redistributive
state in a top down fashion. Islam largely through family,
community, and religious law in a bottom up fashion. Another underline one could
say meta physical difference between Islamic scriptural
and left liberal prescriptions and aspirations, in mitigating inequality
is in their respective attitudes toward nature. The natural order is seen as
divine, and the Quran requires respecting it, that goes for
all kinds of differences. Wealth, gender, whereas
contemporary left liberalism demands the intervention of state. Who’s decisions, technology
and so on to mitigate the natural differences. This is evident in economic
as well as gender inequality. Unable to offer a history
or genealogy of the concept of inequality here I will
only broach some important questions that must be kept
in mind when confronting scripture or tradition
with this challenge. First in nature and in human society, inequality is the norm. Rather is the prize of lions,
packs of wolves, or gangs of primates, or the
struggle for dominance. The struggle for dominance is
part of the animal kingdom, among humans similarly no
civilized society has survived without hierarchies as far as we know. Even the precious few human
groups that the anthropologists first thought lacked
key social hierarchies, such as the primitive
tribes of the Andamanese in the Indian Ocean or the
Sudanese Nuer live as clans with hierarchy of gender and age. The remarkable idea of
equality of all humans can be credited in the known history to the Abrahamic tradition. In which God made life sacred
and human beings special. Ironically then Christians
and Muslims are gathered here today to address a problem
that is entirely the creation of their belief in God. Although in a secularized popular
form, it appears as a self evident belief in no
need for a justification. If God did not create us special,
there is nothing in nature that indicates that we are
either special or equal to each other in any way. The Quran, as we know when
emphasizing the special nature of human soul, references the older laws. For that cause we had decreed
for the children of Israel that whoever killith a
human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in
the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind. And whoso saveth the life of
one it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Second the concern for
socio-political equality in its current from as being
among the highest moral goods is a distinctively modern, and
particular liberal concern. And it’s difficult to imagine
without the prior rise and establishment of a
few fundamental beliefs. One being individualism and
another being secularism because, such a conception
requires discounting the settling of scores and righting of
wrongs in an afterlife. All equality has to
materialize in this life. As well as any kind of
religious fatalism, in which one simply gives in to God’s will. In other words liberalism
has had to disavow or deny its religious roots in order
to arrive at the current form of individual equality
as the ultimate good. In need neither of justification
nor balancing with other potentially more important goods. We would also have to ask that
how is it that modern liberal political and economic systems
have produced and entrenched such tremendous inequality in the world. Might there be something
profoundly questionable about the pollyanish demand for equality
at the expense of all other goods and might think that
the concept of equality itself need rethinking. Such an inquiry would
have to confront the fact that different moral traditions
respond to different classes of inequality differently. As Catholic philosopher
MacIntyre’s classic, which rationality who’s
justice reminds us. Such an inquiry would have to confront the kinds of questions Lisa
Abu-Lughod does in her book Do Muslim Women Need
Saving, that demonstrates the colonialist and imperialist
underpinnings of even the seemingly most well
meaning liberal demands for gender equality in Muslim countries. Islamic’s history has had its
own complex history of toying with radical egalitarianism. The early Islamic egalitarians
the Kharijites, violently sought equality at a
political and religious level. And their anarchism violently
led to their extinction and predictably cruel
the ardor for their ideas among the Muslim mainstream. Another early movement that
did succeed the Abbasids, was fueled largely by the
non Arabs desire for equality with the Arab Muslims. Both of these movements for
relative equality were violent, like the French revolution. Equality is a powerful idea that has often unleashed courage. The American Revolution with
its noble self evident truth that all men are created equal. And are possessed of
certain inalienable rights, those of life, liberty,
and pursuit of happiness was successful in avoiding the
immediate carnage while was in fact part of a colonial
project enabled by mass killings and perhaps the worse kind of
enslavement in recent history. And one that sought to protect
the property class of men. We may cautiously venture
therefor that no instance of demand or granting of radical
equality has been innocent and none has been total. Now modern Muslim
responses to the question, I will simply offer a
classification the progressive versus the traditionalists
on this question. And all progressives who on the
whole reject the traditional answers of the jury’s prudence
that is built on the text that I’ve recited. I propose to divide them
further into two kinds, the weak progressivist thesis. Some may call them
reformists, will reinterpret the scriptural texts to arrive
at or more or less liberal solutions and in the process
recruit classical tradition without being bound by it. And then there are strong
proggressivists who reject parts of the scripture explicitly using different strategies. Some reject Medinan surahs
that spoke of laws and norms in favor of Meccan surahs
that generally emphasize beliefs and ethics, others
abstract pre-general principles such as monotheism and justice
and argue that these require the rejection of the particular teachings of the Quran and Hadith. So take the general lead in particular. So I’ll just leave it at
that, then the traditionalists namely those who take
Islamic dispersive tradition as largely probative and
authoritative, are a camp too large and internally diverse to
adequately characterize through a single hermeneutic. They have often rejected the
absolute imperative of equality and reformulated it as
the question of equity and justice, not equality. Some adopt a theology of anti
modernity, others embrace obscurantism that is
sanctification of tradition and unwillingness to
systematically reevaluated, and yet others fideism. Even though my own
sympathies lie in this camp, as I see seeds of the
most compelling scripture and the moral reasoning in this camp. The traditionalists have yet
to offer a widely persuasive account of how old and
instructional injustices let alone inequalities, can be remedied. Part of the reason I suppose
is that the premodern tradition saw injustice as primarily
an individual sin or its accumulated result. The social and political
institutions of premodern Islam, have been largely those of
agrarianet empires that gradually evolved in the region over millennia. And mid evil jurist prudence
largely took them for granted. In contrast to the rapid
structural ruptures introduced by modern revolutions and the
development of large scale associations of bureaucracy, military, and business corporation. Thee tradition relied on sort
of inherited stabilities. Modern injustices and
inequalities immanent in such structures therefor
cannot easily be arrested through premodern traditional ethics. On the one hand as Catholic
philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre powerfully observes, modern
secular ideologies have produced no epistemic or ethical consensus. Making your ethical language
as well as aspirations little more than hangovers
from an earlier age. So while there are no compelling
reasons for why we ought to seek equality or justice
or virtue, if there is no God. We continue to speak as if we ought to. This is why reinvigorating
tradition maybe the only viable alternative for ethical
thinking and practices. On the other hand, traditionalism can be escape from responsibility. To Muslim this imposes the
enormous challenge of sifting through competing strands of
tradition as well as varying account of modernity,
reconciling the will of God as revealed in scripture, with
that as revealed in history. Looking ahead if inequality
in itself is not an absolute injustice, or one that is exorable, we must focus our attention
to kinds of inequalities that are unjust and or curable. The vast majority of gratuitous
human suffering inflicting on others is of this kind. A word about the kind of
injustices that can no longer be mitigated yet they invite
reflection on God’s infinite wisdom, even anticipation
of miraculous redemption. One among them is
environmental degradation. All the fruits of industrialization over the last two centuries,
the phenomenon that is single handedly responsible for
the coming apocalypse, environmental apocalypse I mean. Have been reaped by the atlantic world. Yet its most devastated
consequences are being visited upon those poor, barely ever
enjoyed bite of that apple. Who have been at the
receiving end of colonialism and imperialism, and whose
carbon footprint is invisible among the giants. Yet if you look at the map,
the areas with the least carbon footprint are also
the first ones to be rendered uninhabitable by global
warming, and flooding and rising sea levels. These include nearly a billion
people in low lying coastal areas of Pakistan, Egypt,
Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and alike. God has put the fate of most
densely populated Muslim areas of Muslim majorities in
the hands of those who have consumed the oceans
and scorched the earth. Yet they deny not only their guilt, but there has been a murder. I will now mention some of the
ways in which deep and unjust inequalities have been
tolerated and or celebrated for Islamic reasons. And where Islamic critiques
of inequality have either been unavailable, or successfully suppressed. Rather than lists and
recommendations I want to point out some tough paradoxes that
have suppressed what I believe to be the true Islamic egalitarian spirit. The Muslim money class has
welcomed new liberalism and the religious establishment
has gladly embraced a Muslim version of the prosperity gospel. One pundit has even argued that
the only way to keep Muslim youth from falling prey to
terrorism is to turn them into capitalists, the imperative
of even minimal justice and dignity is rudely confronted
by the desire for survival or containment of terrorism. And among the faithful for
power to preach and missionize. Let me offer a few examples,
modern Turkey is a neo liberal miracle that has used pious
wealth to bolster an Islamic democracy to push back
against half a century of despotic secular shoganism. Turkey has also taken a new
role as the only power, speaking for the masses across the Muslim world. Even before the current wave
of political suppression left as critics had pointed
out the growing inequality in the country along with
the corruption of morals brought by new wealth. Thoughtful Muslims find
themselves torn between Islamic rejections to neo liberalism
and the empowerment of a strong Muslim ally in places like
Palestine and Myanmar. In a similar vein the Saudi
Arabian oil wealth has long been interpreted as a sign
of divine favor for the true monotheists, the Wahhabis as
a cultural of puritan piety long concealed in the deep seated and unjustified inequalities,
have long concealed the deep seated and unjustified
inequalities between men and women, tribals and non tribals, between
various tribes and regions and between gulf citizens
and the rest of Muslims. Religious piety served effectively
as a cover for a culture that was becoming deeply
bigoted by Islamic standards. It is easy to demonize Saudis
so I will avoid scoring cheap shots, but growing up in
Saudi, during my high school years I often wondered why
even the enlightened Saudi preachers rarely spoke of
the problems of injustice against foreigners, and others. My parents generation of
Pakistani ex patriots however felt extremely loyal and
grateful to the Saudi royal class and prayed for the kings
for building such stupendous facilities around the two holy mosques. Finally, let us consider the somber fact that the most ardent opposition
to social and political justice today, comes from a
group of clerics associated with Muslim states and
the Saudi UA Egypt camp, that has been formed against
the 2011 Arab uprisings for dignity and justice. And from the very same Ovamir
who wrote strongly worded condemnations of ISIS. Justice, accountability, and
rights are dangerous words in much of the middle east. Its only advocates is the
small alliance of countries led by Turkey, the same
state that has been empowered by its neo liberal policies
which in turn is the single reason for aggravating
inequality throughout the world. Thank you very much. (applause) – Thank you very much, Professor Anjum. As you can see the question
of equality is far from simple and you’ve laid out for us
some of the complexities that we’ll be facing in our
discussions and our learning over these few days. Our second speaker is followed
David Hollenbach, graduate from Georgetown University
is the Pedro Arrupe research professor in the Walsh
school of foreign service at Georgetown and also Senior
Fellow of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. David came to Georgetown from
Boston College, where he had been for a number of years, he handled the Cary and
Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History at the
John Kluge Center for Scholars at the Library of Congress just
before coming to Georgetown. He did his Ph.D in
ethics at Yale University and has published an array of works. David has worked for many years
on questions of human rights and he has taught not only
in the U.S. but in different parts of the world and
particularly in Africa. David. – Thank you very much Daniel
Madigan, a colleague of mine from Georgetown and it is
a privilege to be a part of the building bridges program
here and I would like also to thank Professor Ovamir
Anjum for his presentation. My presentation this
afternoon will highlight several aspects of the
Christian tradition relevant to the inequalities of the world today. And I have divided my
presentation into five points just to sketch briefly
what I’m going to do. First I’m going to present
a few of the inequalities that mar the world and social life today. Second I will give several
reasons why Christians affirm the basic equality of all persons. Third I’m going to suggest
ways that the norm of justice can help us specify when
strict equality is required. And when some forms of
inequality may be acceptable. Fourth I’m going to argue that
Christians in our discussion of this issue must acknowledge,
that their community my community have formally
supported forms of inequality that most people regard as
morally objectionable today. And finally in light of that
I’m going to raise the question of how and whether a
religious tradition can change and develop in addressing
issues of inequality. It seems to me that such a
development enabled Christianity and in particular Roman
Catholicism my own tradition, to move from opposing certain
forms of equality that we now regard as required to forms of support for such kinds of equality. And this raises the question
of when new developments in a religious tradition may be justified, and when the new developments
or changes maybe problematic. So those are my five areas
that I want to present. So first, issues of
inequality today very briefly. There are several forms of
inequality that mark our world today and among these are
inequalities of income and wealth. Now there has been an
encouraging decline in the number of people who are living in
what is called absolute poverty in the world in recent decades,
there has been a notable decline of the number of people
living in extreme poverty. Nevertheless far too many
people continue to face severe deprivation and poverty
as decline in some regions of the world more than others. For example severe poverty is
greatest today in sub Saharan Arica, where somewhere around
390 million people or about 41% of the entire African population live in extreme poverty. That’s more than the whole
rest of the world combined. And overall inequality
between countries has declined but inequalities within
countries has been increasing. This is a notable fact. Particular since 1980
inequality within the countries of North America has been
increasing dramatically, especially in my own
country, The United States. The Nobel Prize winning
economist Angus Deaton, British and now living in the
United States and teaching at Princeton University shows
that an unexpectedly large number of people in the United States live in extreme poverty. And by the way the definition
of extreme poverty here according to the World mag is
living on less than 1 dollar 90 cents per day, 1.90 per
day in the United States is not enough to buy a cup
of coffee in most Starbucks stores so it’s a very
real form of poverty. Indeed in the United States
today, in the regions of the Mississippi Delta
in southern New Orleans and in the Appalachia region
life expectancy is lower than it is in Bangladesh and Vietnam. That’s the point I’m trying
to indicate about the fact that there’s inequality within countries that’s quite extraordinarily great. Now in that distribution
of that inequality race, is an important factor. Both males and female
blacks in the United States have shorter lifespans
than do all the people in India’s Kerala state. And black males in the United
States do not live as long as their brothers in China. Also another Nobel Prize
winning economist Amartya Sen, has shown the importance
of gender inequalities in our world. Sen has shown that there are
about 100 million fewer women alive on Earth today than
would’ve been predicted than the absence of female disadvantages. These millions, these hundred
million so called missing women are missing because
of the neglect of nutrition and healthcare for young
females especially in childhood or because of selective
abortion, where male children are more desired than female children. An extraordinary consequence
of gender inequality. In south and east Asia many
young girls receive less food and less healthcare
than do their brothers, and therefore their lives are shorter. Accounting for 100 million missing women. A growing body of research
also shows that reducing inequalities and overcoming
poverty go hand in hand. High inequality undermines
sustained economic growth, which in turn makes it more
difficult to reduce poverty. In addition higher initial
levels of inequality make it more difficult for poor
people to share the benefits brought by economic growth. Inequalities and income have
particularly bad effects on education, health care,
and social protection. And since low levels of
education, healthcare, and social protection prevent
people from contributing to societies in ways that promote growth, that can be a viscous circle
in which inequality, poverty, and low growth reinforce each other. So these issues then
raise to me the question of what possible contributions
Christianity might make to addressing the
inequalities we face today. Now the Christian tradition
is strongly supportive of the equality of all
persons on a very basic level. The first book of the Bible,
the book of Genesis affirms that God created human kind in his image. In the image of God he
created them, male and female he created them. Plus every human being possesses
a sacredness that requires respect and social support. Now there are of course
differences in human capacities and different levels of
achievement available for different people, but creation in the
image and likeness of God confers on each person what
can be called basic equality, to borrow a phrase from
Jeremy Waldrin a distinguished political philosopher
working in the United States. A worth or dignity that
demands equal respect despite secondary differences in
talents or achievement. Now this basic equality is
reinforced by every persons vocation to union with
God for a Christian. A union that they can
obtain through God’s help, through God’s grace. Christianity also affirms
that despite the failures and sin of human beings the
grace of redemption raises persons to a dignity that
transcends even the sacredness of being created in God’s own image. Thus the second Vatican
council a major important event in my own Roman Catholic
tradition taught that the equal human dignity of all persons
flows from the Christian gospel itself and from the
heart of Christian faith. These explicitly Christian
grounds for basic equality are reinforced by the
conviction thee dignity of human persons can be recognized
by all human beings and makes claims upon all
people both Christian and not through the use of human
reason and understanding. The Catholic tradition holds
that there are reason based secular warrants for human
dignity and basic equality. Again quoting the second Vatican
council, the council invoke not only the theological theme
of the creation of persons in God’s image as the
foundation of basic equality. But also the council argued
that this basic equality can be seen in the power
of the human intellect, the capacity of the human
conscience and in the excellence of human liberty that
all persons can recognize in their fellow humans. This opens the way it
seems for me for Christians to work together with those
who are not Christian. Including those who are
not believers in the effort to promote greater
respect for human dignity on an equal basis. Though all persons are equal
on this most basic level then, it is also clear that not
all persons should be treated identically, in all domains of activity. Therefor we need to clarify
when basic equality requires treating people the same
way, and when it may call for treating them differently
indeed when it may justify certain kinds of inequality. So my third point about
inequality and justice and how it works. Now Christian thinkers have
long recognized that there is a close relationship
between the notion of equality and the moral standard of justice. The major Christian
theologian of the 13th century Thomas Aquinas for example
observed justice denotes a kind of equality, following
Aristotle Aquinas distinguished however two types of equality. The first he call arithmetic
equality in which the shares of that which is being
distributed are arithmetically or numerically the same for
each person receiving a part of the distribution. The image that economists like
to use is slicing up a pie or a cake and giving everyone
the exactly same size piece of the cake, that’s arithmetic equality. Aquinas does not hold
however that justice requires arithmetical equality in all areas. For example justice does not require that everyone’s income be identical. However many Christians do
hold that arithmetic equality is required in some other spheres of life. The one that comes most
readily to mind is the standard one person, one vote that
was invoked for example in South Africa in the
campaign against apartheid. Where black people received
no vote and white people had disproportionately large power in their political participation. And the campaign led by
Nelson Mandela said no no no one person, one vote a kind of
strict arithmetical equality in the distribution of votes. So on the other hand in
contrast to that notion of arithmetic equality a
second type of equality can be called proportional. As Aquinas put it there
should be a proportion between the thing being distributed
and the person to whom it is distributed. This kind of proportional
equality is illustrated for example by the statement
equal pay for equal work. If one person works twice as
many hours as another person does they shouldn’t receive
the same wage, their wage should be proportional to
the amount of work they did, so the person who works
twice as long should receive twice the salary. Similarly on another criterion,
not in terms of how many hours one hasn’t worked but
there could be a proportional equality understood in the way
health care is distributed. Not in terms of income,
but proportion to need. We don’t say that everyone
should get 3.2 operations in the medical care sphere in a lifetime. We don’t distribute surgery
on an arithmetically based equal basis, we distribute
surgery in accordance with need. And someone who needs surgical
help should receive it in proportion to their need and
similarly one who does not need it, should not
receive it in proportion to their lack of need. So there is a proportional equality there. Another example of
proportional equality should be the distribution of praise
for one’s achievements, or punishment for one’s crimes. We don’t give everyone the
same amount of time in jail, we distribute jail sentences
in proportion to violation of the law. And we distribute, medals
at the Olympics or perhaps in the World Cup in proportion
to performance in the game so there is a proportion
between performance and achievement, and reward. Then the question of course
becomes, what is the appropriate standard for proportionality. And it’s here that I would like
to highlight it in my fourth point, several areas
where I think Christianity has gone wrong in its approach
to equality and inequality. I will mention several forms
of inequality that are seen as legitimate, that were seen
as legitimate by Christians in past decades or past centuries that are seen as unjust today. Here I am drawing upon
the work of a scholar from the United States named John Noonan, a very distinguished historian
of Christian moral thought and cannon law who has
provided some very interesting studies of the development of
Christian thought in a couple of areas, several areas
relevant to inequality. On slavery for example,
John Noonan is very blunt let me quote him Noonan
says quote “As late as 1860, “the Catholic church thought
that it was not sinful “for a Catholic to own
another human being. “From Saint Paul to Saint
Augustine to much later, “chattel slavery went unchallenged “by ecclesiastical authority.” This is a form of proportional inequality. Holding another person as a
slave was judged acceptable if the other person was a
prisoner of war, or if the other person came from a race
understood to be incapable of sharing in equal self governance. And therefor slavery was
justified as a form of legitimate proportional inequality. More recently however, that
has changed dramatically within the Christian
and Catholic tradition. Noonan puts it this way, in
the light of the teachings of the modern popes and
the Second Vatican Council on the dignity of the human
person it is today regarded as morally unthinkable that
one person would be allowed to buy, sell, or lease
another human being. Slavery has come to be seen
as contrary to the creation of all persons in the
image and likeness of God. Equality of a proportional
type or inequality of a proportional type,
was invoked also to justify limitations on religious freedom, within the Christian tradition. One’s right to religious
freedom was seen as proportional to the truth of one’s religious belief. True believers had the right
to freedom, those who believed in something that was
judged to be false did not have the right to religious freedom. The way it was put in the
19th and early 20th century in the Roman Catholic
tradition, error has no rights. But in John Noonan’s time, no
later than the time of Saint Augustine it was considered
virtuous for bishops to invoke imperial force to compel non believers to accept Christianity or
heretics to return to the church. For over 1200 years the
vast institutional apparatus of the church was put at the
service of detecting heretics who if they persevered in
their heresy or relapsed into it would be executed at the stake. Thus as late as 1832 Pope
Gregory the 16th declared that the right to freedom of
conscience is in his words craziness, the Latin word
he used was delirimentum, a kind of delirium. Gradually however the religious
wars of post reformation Europe and definitively the
persecution of Christians by fascist an communist
regimes in the 20th century led to a shift in this teaching. The change is evident if one
Juxtaposes Gregory the 16th condemnation in 1832 of freedom
of conscience as craziness with the second Vatican council’s
decleration that the right to religious freedom has its
foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this
dignity is known through the revealed world of
God and by reason itself. In other words the basic
equality of all persons and the fact that religious
belief is now seen as an essential dimension
of human dignity replaced the idea that freedom of
religion should be proportional to the truth of one’s beliefs. These dramatic shifts give a
sobering perspective on aspects of the Christian understanding
of the meaning of equality. And they call us to ask I
think whether further shifts maybe called for today, both
in Christianity and perhaps in other traditions as well. So my final point then,
this raises the question of the possibility and
limits of legitimate change in a religious tradition. Both in Christianity and
perhaps we will discuss in Islam as well in our discussion
together over the next few days. This can be approached with
the assistance of a great Christian theologian from the
late 19th early 20th century, John Henry Newman and his book called An Essay on the Development
of Christian Doctrine. A book which notes very
explicitly how Christian thinking can grow and develop. For Newman a tradition is
not a living tradition if one simply sites classic texts and
seeks to apply classic texts from the past. These texts from the past
which we will be reading over the next few days together,
are surely central in any tradition that
aims to remain intact. But a living tradition, a
tradition that is truly alive must do more than site
texts from the past. It must attend to the way
these texts relate to new experiences, and to new
challenges and situations which may never have been encountered before. Such a challenge was what
lead Christianity to move from a legitimation of slavery, to
its recognition that slavery was contrary to a deep
reality that was part of the Christian tradition itself. In other words new experience
ked to a deepened appreciation of what the tradition itself required. And the same is true about the
way Christianity came through new experiences to recognize
that it’s conviction of the importance of it’s own
faith led to the recognition of the right to others, from
other faiths to be treated with equal respect and equal
dignity and equal regard for their religious freedom as well. The examples of slavery and
past limits on religious freedom therefor show that religious
traditions can sometimes have negative effects
on the way we approach basic human equality. But fortunately recent activity
by religious communities also shows that faith communities
can have very positive impact on the achievement of equality. Religious leaders such as Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Pope Jean Paul the second,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu. All of these have played
important roles in advancing both justice and equality in our world. The Christian and Catholic
communities recent contributions to human rights and
democratic equality have been particularly notable I think. Catholicism has played an
important role in the global advance of democracy since
the Second Vatican Council concluded in 1965. For example beginning
in Portugal and Spain in the late 1960’s in numerous
countries in Latin America such as Chile, Brazil and so forth. In the Philippines, in South
Korea in the 1970’s and 80’s in the role played by the
church and by Pope Jean Paul the second in Poland, the
Catholic community in all of these places has made a
very important contribution to the advancement of the
equality of human rights for all. And these have made an
important contribution. Other religious traditions
have also contributed to the advancement of
equality and equal rights in some other regions. Islam for example has been
a leader in certain parts of India, in Indonesia, and in
Kuwait on various occasions. The move of Catholicism then
from its former alignment with authoritarian regimes
to the support for democratic equality, this shift was
dramatic, following the Second Vatican Council, perhaps
even revolutionary. It was brought about by the
recognition of the dangers of authoritarian regimes
such as Nazism and Stalinism which threatened the church’s own freedom. But also by a recognition
that these threats not only were to the church’s own
freedom but to the freedom and dignity of non Christians as well. More than the Christian’s
freedom was at stake in these cases. The experience of multiple
kinds of abuse by authoritarian rule led the Second Vatican
Council then to endorse the full range of equal
human rights for all persons as articulated in the United
Nations Universal Deceleration of Human Rights and this put
the Catholic community into the forefront in the
struggle for human rights and democratic equality worldwide. Let me conclude with a very
brief word on the Christian tradition stance on economic
implications of human equality since I began with noting
some facts about economic inequality in our world. The Christian tradition as I
noted does not hold that a flat arithmetic equality of income is required by Christian faith. It does insist however
that when inequalities lead to the severe deprivation
of those at the bottom, when people simply don’t
have enough to survive. Both common respect for the
humanity we share across borders and our call as Christians to
love our neighbors as ourself, all this requires us to
challenge these inequalities. Indeed Pope Francis, our
current Pope has called these radical inequalities that
deprive those at the bottom, the root of all social ills. Pope Francis is very blunt, he
says just as the commandment thou shalt not kill, sets
a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life. Today we also have to say
thou shalt not to an economy that excludes and pushes
people into sever deprivation. In the words of Pope Francis,
such an economy kills, therefore thou shalt not
kill requires resisting it. Economic inequality that
excludes far too many people from their rightful good
in the world, in the goods of the world God has
created for all people. So to conclude the Christian
tradition therefor in my view supports a strong committmnent
to the basic equality that requires respect
for the dignity of all. It calls for resistance to
those forms of inequality that so divide the human
community that some people are deprived of what is
required for them to live with basic dignity. Basic human equality should
override differences among persons when these differences
prevent people from obtaining their most basic needs when
they restrict their freedoms without justification and
when they exclude them from important social relations. The Christian community as I
have indicated has not always lived up to what the central
thrust of its tradition requires, the Christian tradition
on equality and inequality however remains a living tradition. We can hope and expect
therefore that Christians will continue to gain new insights
into what equality requires today, and I hope that our
dialogue over the next few days will help us achieve
new insight in that way. Thank you very much. (applause) – Thank you very much David. We’re going to open the
floor now, it’s our custom on these occasions to
give preference to the. Oh thank you. To give preference to our
visitors, to ask questions. Rather than initially to open
it to members of the seminar because they will have opportunities
over the next few days. So we offer the floor first
to you who are visitors. You’ll come here, okay. – Salaam-Alaikum good evening. I cannot but greet my old friends. And congratulate to
you for you coming here and the continuation. And especially I cannot but,
mention his eminence Archbishop Canterbury William for his
vision of the building bridges. And also your acceptance
to take stewardry up after he has retired, because his
vision was so great at the time. That probably we did not
appreciate very much, but we do appreciate now because we
thought after the wall in Berlin we will not have any walls in the world. Today, we don’t have only one
wall, we have so many walls now and even in Balkan, even
in our country they are talking that they will build the
wall against the immigrants who are coming to Bosnia. So building bridges and
you are a right place here in Bosnia we have probably
more bridges than any country in the world. But these bridges building with
the heart is very important. I was impressed by your
lectures, I have been enlightened I like this idea of justice and equality. Muslims are very much obsessed by justice, even (speaking foreign language) is based on Tawhid and justice. But theodicy God’s
justice not man’s justice. But, and also (speaking
foreign language) you know who invented this algebra,
how he come to this idea one woman came to him to
calculate the inheritance of her penance. So he calculated algebra
put together on one place and (speaking foreign language)
meaning facing each equation and this is how he got
to the algebra idea. But also if I may make my point, human beings don’t like equality. And they dislike inequality
at the same time. We as, our nature is we like
to be superior to others. So we don’t like equality,
but because we don’t like equality this is why God has reminded us that we have to change, this habit. Now inequality in my opinion is always almost as a rule political. There is no sacred book that
tells you to treat people inequality, but politics do
this on the basis of power. But how the politics come to the power, by education and manipulation. To say just what it means,
in the time on slavery. In the time of slavery, the
master of the slave could kill his slave, he could rape his
wife, he could deprive him of his property, with immunity. But if he educate his
slave how to write and read he would be punished. So this tells you that the
most dangerous inequality in the world is the lack
of the access to education. When people are educated,
they will achieve. They will press politics
to be equal to others in the basic human rights. And because of that I think,
because the common good is an easier theme than this one. This is very difficult, equality and in– And in order that we fight
for justice against equality, we have to fight for the education. And to fight for the right
education is to teach people how to rebel against their
being treated inequal. And I will give you just
example from Muslim tradition and then I will leave you. The prophet Muhammad’s
wife, was named Umm Salamah. She was married to a
man called Abdul Esset. She migrated with the
first Muslims to Ethiopia. When she came back to Mecca
her parents didn’t allow her to go to Medina, but her husband went. So she insisted to go to
Medina with the prophet and she was allowed. Her husband was killed in
Uhod the second conflict between the Meccans and
she became without husband. Umm and (speaking foreign
language) offer to marry her she declined, and then
prophet said I will marry you to protect you, she had four children. And when she became part
of the prophet’s family this Umm Salamah is an
example of rebellion, how. She rebelled against the logic
at the time even the prophet. She said to him, you know when
you talk about distribution of wealth you always talk
about man, where are we women. And then we have the verse
in the Quran which says (speaking in foreign
language) there is a portion to male and female as well. This verse is because of her. Now the second time she said
to the prophet you know, when you talk about these
immigrants or (foreign language) who came to Medina you always
say, you always praise the men where are we, and then there
is a verse in Quran says. (speaking in foreign language) And then upon this intervention
or rebellion you can say, God has revealed this verse
in the holy Quran saying God has listened all to what
she said and then proclaimed that the female and female
are equal they belong to each other and therefor you will. So what is the suggestion here,
I will call to mostly women who feel inequal, I will
call all these people, all the Muslims around the world. Don’t listen what the politicians
and kings and others say read the Quran and be like Umm Salamah. Say this is wrong, and you will receive. And finally my professor
mentor Fazhoud Rackman may God have mercy on
him, taught me one thing. About the equation or relation
between justice and mercy. He is very, important book
major themes of the Quran which is translated by Annis
Gali she is here, very good. He said that Muslims often
misuse justice in the sense of being very rigid and
in the name of justice there are so many wrong
things that have been done. Because justice is according
to my justice my, my. So he said justice has the
sense only if it is tempered by mercy, so justice tempered by mercy. Now this is really, very
slippery how you to make this but principally yes. So listening to you and to
your reasons from Muslim and Christian tradition I am so glad that you are in Sarajevo. And I am very optimistic that
what, Archbishop Canterbury Williams and myself I can say. Have been doing together,
we see the fruits so one feels very good. Thank you very much for
blessing the city of Sarajevo and we bless you too. Thank you. (applause) – Salaam alaikum and if
I need a way to say hello like a Christian I would
like to say it since this is the Building Bridges Seminar. Firs of all I would like to
thank you all distinguished scholars, my name is Buja
Drah and I am following the seminar on behalf
of the Turkish embassy, as well as my personal interest. I have two questions to Mr.Anjum. And the first one is that you
mentioned about some countries at your speech, how did
you collect data about the inequality in these countries. And the second one and this
contains little bit objection. How much do you stress on
real politic and rational economic structures when
you study inequality? For example have you ever
studied on the fair state concept we have already upped it
in Turkey which depends on equality and meritocracy. Thank you. – Hey so first question is
how I collected my data. So, the objection is perhaps
based on an interpretation that is not what I offer. My talk was not about offering
evidence for inequality in a particular country,
but rather on the general observation which I argue
is a consensus in the world of, why has since the 1980’s
inequality been aggrevated throughout the world. And that is related to neo
liberal policies that start with Regan and Thatcher in 1979 since 1990’s. And that’s called neo liberalism. And my argument was the
paradox, that we have seen the improvement of the state
as a democracy, in Turkey on the one hand. Yet at the same time
this has come as a result of the embrace of neo liberal policies by the democratic Islamic government. Now there is as far as I’m
aware, the scholarly consensus on neo liberalism is that
wherever it goes it has increased inequality, this is true
within the Western countries, within the United States
and across the world. If you were looking for one
reference, in Turkey I would point to in particular reference
I made was, even earlier since this is a study published
in 2000’s by Cihan Tugal it’s called The Passive Revolution. Where you can see the state
of increasing inequality as a result of neo liberal policies. Even though certainly many good
things are coming out of it. And remember what I mentioned
this is part of a paradox. And paradox means this isn’t
a clear good, or a clear evil we have tensions going in
two different directions. And so that’s my claim. That we see paradox, we see tension. On the one hand there is
some evidence for inequality on the other hand improvement
of certainly democratic rights and certainly from a Muslim
perspective Turkey is a strong advocate of causes that
concern Muslims greatly. Whether it’s Palestine or
Myanmar and other places. And that of course is something
that Muslims worldwide not just in Turkey very
appreciative of the Turkish government, so that was my point. Did I answer your question? – [Woman In White] Thank you. – Okay. – [Daniel] We’re giving preference to the. – [Man In Crowd] They
gave me the mic so I just. – Are there any of the other
local participants who, yes over there. – Salaam-alaikum good
evening my name is Riadh and I’m student of economics. And I hope to finish my Ph.D this year. And the topic is about wealth
inequality, and for last I could say several years
I deal with the topic of inequality. And to be very frank my
conclusions are that inequality is related to, okay the
topic is about impact of institutional development. In particular financial
institutions in deepening wealth inequality within countries. So the basic idea is to check
whether financial development measured by economic measures,
variables, do they impact vaulty mc vaulty and my
findings say they do, they do. They are significant and
important and determines of inequality within countries so, I’m Muslim also so my perspective of these
findings is very important because to me, as I look
at this now even though I’m quite young and I
need still to learn a lot. Central issue in Islam at least are questions of distribution. We have prohibition of
interests, interest rate of riba. So we say that since financial
institutions, financial development increases inequality. So we can say prohibition
of interest based on, I mean financial development
based on interest rate directly prevents or decreases inequality. It is one thing, second thing
is that, we have preparation of interests, we have Zekah
which is tax unveiled. It is not small tax, it is
about two and a half percent of redistributive tax which
is taken from the rich and given to the poor. And third someone mentioned
this redistribution on inheritance law, of
course everyone could use but inequality and wealth inequality
in particular knows that part of that creation may
be the most important part of a creation is inherited wealth. So the best way to become rich
is if your parents are rich. So these are three things that
are very important and I was hoping, in this conference
and also not only Islam. Interest rate is prohibited
also in Christianity, also in Judaism, and also
Aristotle said it is most– – [Daniel] Is there a
question to ask here ’cause. – Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah. The question is very simple,
so what’s your opinion if you say pretty much everything
around us we have from philosophy and religions and if
philosophy as Aristotle said the interest rate is most
unnatural way of getting wealth. And if all religion prohibits
interest rate or riba or usury how come it is so
omnipresent in our society. Thank you. – I would just say I agree with your point about institutions being really central. The big question of course
becomes then what kind of institutions do we want. And we don’t want to say we
don’t want any institutions. We need to find what kind of
institutions are the right ones and in particular what kind
of financial institutions do we need. That means raising questions
about what’s the role of the free market in the
creation of financial agencies. And what’s the role of
government policy on limitation on setting limits to what
can be done in the financial markets and so forth. So those are big questions
and they’re questions that are very much up for debate in
the United States right now as there’s a lot of discussion
about further deregulation of some of the financial
institutions that were created in the immediate aftermath of
the financial crisis of 2008. And the current regime in the
United States wants to loosen up those financial institutions
and so I think that really needs to be, some very
fundamental questions need to be raised there. On the question of interest. That raises a very important
question again about what kind of interest, how much interest, in what circumstances
interest and so forth. I’m not sure that Christianity
has gone through a complex process of evolution in it’s
attitude toward interest. There was a strong
condemnation of interest taking in the early middle ages in
Christianity but it gradually moved toward acknowledgement
of the legitimacy of certain forms of interest, but it
does not say that a totally unregulated market for
interest is legitimate. So how to make the right
distinctions it seems to me is the most pressing urgent
question in that area. I’m not enough of a specialist
on economics and finance in particular to know how
to answer that question. But I do know that we need to
keep those values of making sure that no one gets so
excluded by the way the financial institutions are operating
that they have nowhere to go and they have nothing. And we have to find ways of
making sure that that does not happen and that’s where
the challenge of inequality in our world today and it’s
increasing the inequality in the United States as you mentioned. As it is in western Europe
precisely because of the freeing up of some of these market institutions that you’re referring to as neo liberal. And that needs to be examined
with greater care as well. So I’m not answering your question but I’m basically agreeing
with the direction that you’re pointing with that I think. – Thank you very much so
I have a similar comment which is very simple, I
completely agree with you. I think that usurious interest
or interest rate of non zero has been central to the
development of modern capitalism, which is based on
creating large inequality because that, inequality
actually what we don’t recognize but for some people it’s
really good because inequality means some people have a lot. And those people who have a
lot, that accumulation of wealth is what has created capitalism
because when you have some people with a lot of wealth
they have money for larger projects to control nature for instance. In order to produce large
technological developments so. And I completely agree that,
in fact there is historical data to show for centuries that
in Islamic societies you had free market, you had very
large free trade throughout the Indian Ocean world which
I referred to in my talk. But you did not have capitalism
precisely because you did not have interest. So you could have free market,
free economy, and very large sort of global culture,
but without the development of enormous inequality, precisely because of the
institutions of inheritance and the prohibition usury
that you have pointed out. – [Daniel] Thank you. Alright jack. – Thanks. Thank you very much for
your speeches both of you. My question is for
Dr.Hollenbach when you mentioned the fact that the church
had changed its position on freedom of religion and slavery
because of the, changing circumstances right so do
you mean that the changing circumstances were
political economic had drawn the attention of the church
to teachings or sort of moral material in the scripture
that had gone unnoticed or unappreciated or was it that
that material and teachings changed over time and that the
changing circumstances meant that they had to be
implemented differently. – That’s a very interesting question. What I’m, suggesting is that
it’s probably both of those happening in some complex blend. On the one had new circumstances,
seeing some of the effects of slavery in new ways. Or seeing the effects of the
denial of religious freedom led the Catholic community
to recognize that there were aspects of its own deepest
tradition that were relevant to addressing these newly
perceived effects let’s say of the denial of religious freedom. Take the treatment of religion
by Stalin, and the church had been saying that freedom
of religion is a bad idea because it’s too
individualistic, it’s related to the French Revolution, it’s
highly secularistic in its orientation, but when the
church perceived what was going on under Stalin with the
repression of religion, it wakened the community to a recognition
that some of its deepest beliefs had relevance to
the freedom of religion in a new way. To say we don’t think that
what is happening under Stalin should be done, and therefor
we move from saying religious freedom is a danger to
Christianity because it’s too secularistic and it’s too individualistic. To saying no the dignity
of the person requires us to stand for the Christian
freedom of religion in the Soviet Union, and the
freedom of religion of others in the Soviet Union
who were not Christian. And so there’s a recognition
that some of the elements of the tradition itself
are relevant in new ways because of a new. So it’s not saying that we
are abandoning the tradition and substituting something different. It’s rather a discovery of a
new way in which the deeper convictions of the tradition are relevant to new circumstances. I don’t know whether that’s
responding to your question or not but it’s a way of. I mean what the Second Vatican
Council actually said about religious freedom, if you
look at the very first few paragraphs, the document says
this sacred sinned intends to develop the recent
teachings of the church on freedom of religion
and the constitutional order of society. There’s an explicit
statement that the documents of the Second Vatican Council
that the council intends of development. And it’s, John Courtney Murray
who was one of the authors of the Second Vatican Council’s
deceration of religious freedom, said the biggest single issue at the Second Vatican Council
about religious freedom was not whether religious
freedom was a good idea or not, it was whether
there could be a development of doctrine within the Christian church. Because what happened at
Vatican two was actually a shift from saying religious freedom
is a bad idea to saying religious freedom is a good idea. Which is a development in church doctrine. But it’s not a radical
development that means abandoning the deepest core of Christian
faith, it’s saying there’s a recognition of a new
relevance of Christian faith to circumstances that
we had not seen before. So at least that’s the way in
which I would interpret it. This issue about change and
development in Christianity and it may be true in Islam
as well is a very complicated question and I’m not doing
full justice to it right here but at least that’s the first
step in which I would try to respond to your question. Hope that’s helpful. – [Daniel] Thank you David. It’s 6 pm and that is our
time to wind this part of our program up. And there’ll be many
opportunities over the coming days and also for the public
on Friday afternoon we hope you will join us, at 3 pm. Here? No at the Catholic
theology faculty at 3 pm. Dr.Church kindly invoke the
name of Archbishop Ron Williams and his, developing this
process and the importance of that, and I think we should
also mention one other name on this occasion. Because since 2004 Dr.Jack
DeGioia who’s the president of Georgetown has sustained
this process and when Archbishop Williams retires as
Archbishop he asked Dr.DeGioia of Georgetown would be prepared
to sustain the process. Because we believe it is a
good one and has been ahead of it, and Jack has done
that very generously and so this is another
name that should be held in benediction whenever
building bridges meets. So I thank you wall for coming. Thank you to the participants
who have flown some distance we’re still catching up on their jet lag. We are having a reception
downstairs, you’ll be able to see the books from, there are
16 of them there I think some of them in galley proofs. The work of many of them
the work of Lucinda Mosher. And also of David Marshall
whose name is also held in benediction, whenever
building bridges is mentioned. So a good evening to you all. I would like to, thank you to
the deans for their welcome to us, their hospitality and
for their presence here today. And also for (mumbles). Thank you all. (applause)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *