Keywords: Pluralism, Tolerance, Constitution of Medina, People of the Book, Rasa'il Ikhwan al -Safa', Andalucia, multiculturalism, Attar, The Conference of the Birds.
Abstact: The lecture draws upon both British and Muslim history to explore the consequences of religious and cultural intolerance in societies and looks at ways in which such intolerance can be overcome. Through examples from architecture, literature and history, Professor Nanji brings out the pluralistic nature of the cultural heritage of different groups and challenges the notion of an essentialised or pure culture. The lecture concludes by discussing the possibilities of multi-culturalism in contemporary times and addresses the need to draw upon knowledge and learning, irrespective of its origin.
Professor Azim Nanji serves currently as Special Advisor to the Provost at the Aga Khan University. Most recently he served as Senior Associate Director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University 2008-2010 and also lectured on Islam in the Department of Religious Studies. He was previously the of Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies from 1998 - 2008.