donderdag 10 september 2015

AICIS: small news

At the great AICIS Conference in Manada (3-6 September 2015, Annual International Conference of Islamic Studies) the plenary lectures, the papers in the panels, the poster presentations are the kernel. But the lobbying, meetings, chat in the diseways are also attractive.
Sahiron Syamsuddin presented me a first copy of the translation of The Jesus verses of the Qur'an, now with the title Nabi Isa dalam al-Qur'an. Sebuah Interpretasi Outsider atas al-Qur'an. The subtitle was given by Sahiron to attract readers for this subject. Apparently an outsider will give a fresh, unorthodox or challenging presentation of the images of Jesus in the basic text of Islam.
Sahiron had also added the Arab text of the verses (not yet in the Dutch and English editions) and wrote a very nice preface. He hopes to sell the books through his NU network and asked me to give suggestions for selling the book in Christian circles. Especially in these months preceding the celebration of Christmas this could be effective. Indeed, much of the Qur'anic texts about Jesus are about his birth. I will do the best for the spread of this book.
A great surprise for me in this conference was the meeting with Haidar Bagir and his wife (right of them is Wiwin Siti Aminah Rohmawati, from Dian/Interfidei). Haidar Bagir (Solo 1957) studied at ITB, then in Harvard: Islamic philosophy with Annemarie Schimmel and Sayyid Husein Nasr. Dissertation on Mulla Sadr. He pleaded for more philosophy (against the tendency to study social science as a method to renew Islam and increase its relevance for modern society). Besides, he is a great businessman and has build Mizan as a prominent publishing house.
Looking for a toilet in the conference hotel, Simtesa Peninsula, I saw the painting showing the difference between the ladies' and men's toilet. Manado is a quite relaxed town.
The panels took place in two hotels, Peninsula and Aston: sometimes they had to start with just a few people and after 30 minutes audience was between 30-50. There were serious debates. Some presentation very bad. They uise powerpoint, but seldom with illustrations. Quite a few just read their text from powerpoint.
Like at all major international conference the bottom of the hierarchy was presentation of a poster. Many had much text, seldom the author was present to attract attention of people walking around. But the topics showed a great variety in moderate, concrete modern Islam and its relevance for contemporary society.

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