Understanding Islam in an Age of Polarization and Misinformation

Ali S. Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University


We live in a world in which illiteracy about Islam has been increasingly exploited to divide people and undermine the pluralistic fabric of societies. The dehumanization of entire religious communities through stereotypes and the language of hate has resulted in not only violation of human rights but also in violence and loss of life. This presentation focuses on how we can combat illiteracy about Islam in political, media and social spaces and promote more nuanced perspectives about the tradition.

This is the inaugural lecture for the Muslim Cultures Lecture Series in the School of Linguistics, Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The series brings major thinkers, artists, and teachers to Calgary and the University of Calgary to inspire new conversations, thinking, and innovation. Invited scholars, artists, and public figures give lectures on areas of cultural significance in the Muslim world to audiences of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty and community members from different backgrounds.