During the first half of 2013, authors of recent IIS publications delivered six events, visiting Canada, France, Portugal, United Kingdom and Tajikistan. Over 550 people attended the events, including local academics, dignitaries, members of the Ismaili community and others.
The first book launch of the year was held on 9th February at the Ismaili Centre Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to commemorate the publication of the Tajik translation of Dr Farhad Daftary’s The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines (2nd edition). This book adds to the range of IIS publications available in other languages, including French, Portuguese and Urdu. Presentations included those by Dr Abdusalom Mamadnazarov, the translator of the publication, Professor Mamadsho Ilolov, the President of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, and Dr Abdunabi Sattorzoda from the Tajik Centre for Strategic Studies.
The event in Tajikistan was followed by a launch of Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi’s Spiritual Quest and The Spirit of Tolerance In Islam held in Paris, France, on 13th April 2013. Spiritual Quest gives a contemporary insight into the spiritual, intellectual and moral dynamics of the Qur’anic verses recited by Muslims of all traditions in their prayers, highlighting those that hold particular significance amongst Shi‘i communities.Spirit of Tolerance examines the practice of tolerance in Muslim history, revealing that the religious, political and legal tolerance characterising the history of Muslim encounters with other faith traditions is the outward expression of a profound spirit of respect for all revealed religions. A lecture was delivered by Dr Shah-Kazemi in French, which centred on approaches to the Qur’an according to the teachings of Imam ‘Ali.
Later in April, the IIS hosted two events for Fortresses of the Intellect: Ismaili and other Islamic Studies in Honour of Farhad Daftary in Canada. This publication is dedicated to the achievements of Dr Farhad Daftary, IIS Co-Director, a leading authority on Ismaili Studies and an eminent scholar of Islamic history. The events were held at the Ismaili Centre Burnaby, Canada, during which Dr Derryl Maclean of Simon Fraser University engaged in an on-stage conversation with Dr Daftary about this publication, future IIS publications and also, Dr Daftary’s prolific career.
In May, the Companion series was showcased in London and Lisbon. On 2nd May, an event was held at the Ismaili Centre London to commemorate the latest in the Companion series, A Companion to Muslim Cultures.
During this book launch, Dr Amyn Sajoo, the editor of the series, engaged in an on-stage conversation with Raficq Abdulla MBE, a well-known public speaker and broadcaster, on contemporary topics which feature in this edited volume. This Companion covers a range of topics which speak to current affairs including women and Islam, popular practices around the Qur’an, and cosmopolitanism. The event was followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
A guest who attended the event said: “I found the whole evening very thought provoking. It was a lively and stimulating debate and many important topics were explored. I enjoyed the warmth, humour and intellectual rigour which both speakers brought to their discussions”.
On 3rd May, the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon played host to Dr Sajoo and held an event for the second book in this series, A Companion to Muslim Ethics. This volume studies key themes related to Islam and Muslim societies, such as literature, ecology, art, health care and tolerance. During this event, Zohora Pirbhai, an IIS Alumnus (GPISH 2004), interviewed Dr Sajoo on a range of topics highlighted in this publication.
The IIS book launch programmes provide an opportunity to highlight the range of topics which IIS publications cover and to help participants appreciate their relevance to contemporary issues. Through such events, the IIS continues to contribute to a better understanding of Islam and Muslim societies amongst academics as well as opinion leaders in diverse societies.