Liyakat Takim is the new Sharjah Chair in Global
Islam. He hopes that by expanding the number of religious studies courses
that deal with Islam and reaching out to the community, Muslims will be
able to educate both each other and non-Muslims about their religious
New chair examines Islam through modern
- by Matt Terry
October 06, 2009
McMaster's new Sharjah Chair in Global Islam intends
to open up dialogue between all religious groups on campus and dispel some
of the myths and misunderstandings about Muslims and their faith.
Ambitious goals, but Liyakat Takim, a native of
Toronto who left the University of Denver for the position at McMaster,
says that by expanding the number of religious studies courses that deal
with Islam and reaching out to the community, Muslims will be able to
educate both each other and non-Muslims about their religious beliefs.
"I recognize that there will be many challenges, but
there are also many opportunities for growth," said Takim, a former imam.
"Those challenges and opportunities are what attracted me to McMaster."
According to Takim, Muslims are in a sort of
transitional period - moving from being Muslims in Canada to Canadian
Muslims - which presents an ideal opportunity to work at growing an
Islamic Studies program. One of his goals is to make McMaster a place that
is known, both in academia and in the community-at- large, as a centre for
the study of Islam.
The Chair in Global Islam was established in 2008
thanks to a gift of $1 million from His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin
Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.
"Understanding the religions and cultures of the
peoples of the world enhances the prospects of global peace and
prosperity," he said when his gift was announced.
The goal of the chair's research and scholarly
activities is to give students and the community the opportunity to expand
their knowledge of the principles, ideals and ethics of Islam, as well as
their influence on the development of humanity in many parts of the world.
The chair's research will be distinct from others elsewhere in Canada in
that it will study and examine Islam through a modern, global lens.
In addition to research, Takim will also be teaching
courses in global Islam.