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Iranian-Canadian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo examines the question "Is a Muslim Gandhi Possible?" in a lecture on February 16, 2010.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The Asian Studies Program at Vassar College will present a lecture by well-known Iranian-Canadian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo who will examine the question, “Is a Muslim Gandhi Possible?” on Tuesday, February 16. Free and open to the public, the program will begin at at 6:00pm, in Rockefeller Hall, room 300.

Jahanbegloo noted that although thousands of people were killed in the name of religion, it cannot be denied that some religious people like Lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. played a positive role in removing hatred and violence in human culture. “Gandhi’s mission was not to politicize religion, but to spiritualize politics, meaning to bind up everyday action in the public sphere with morality,” remarked Jahanbegloo.
While Gandhi was familiar with Islam and admired the prophet Muhammad, Jahanbegloo pointed out the direct influence of Muslim nonviolent activists like Ghaffar Khan and Maulana Azad on him. “The complaint of many in the West since 9/11, that ‘there is no Muslim Gandhi,’ comes from their ignorance of important personalities like Maulana Azad and Abdul Ghaffar Khan,” he concluded.
Currently a professor of political science and the Massey College Scholar-at-Risk at the University of Toronto, Jahanbegloo was arrested in April 2006 at Tehran Airport, charged with “preparing a velvet revolution in Iran.” After four months of solitary confinement, he was released on bail. Prior to that, he was based at the Cultural Research Centre in Tehran and, in 2006-07, was Rajni Kothari Professor of Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India. Some of his English language publications include Conversations with Isaiah Berlin (Peter Halban, 1992), Iran: Between Tradition and Modernity (Lexington Books, 2004), India Revisited: Conversations on Contemporary India (Oxford University Press, 2007), The Clash of Intolerances (Har-Anand, 2007), and The Spirit of India (Penguin, 2008).
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Political Science Department.
People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Directions to the Vassar Campus are available online at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, February 5, 2010