Charles Taliaferro, PhD, a professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota (USA), in a recent interview with Tehran Times said that the world does well to remember the gift of Islam to civilization, culture, education, and to stand against acts that violate the greatness and beauty of Islamic teaching, practice, and architecture.
Commenting on Israeli fascism at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Al-Quds (East Jerusalem), Taliaferro said: “It’s sober reminder of the way some anti-Muslim forces resort not to peaceful dialogue and public debate, but resort instead to shameful acts of violence. The world does well to remember the gift of Islam to civilization, culture, education, and to stand against such acts that violate the greatness and beauty of Islamic teaching, practice, and architecture.”
Taliaferro acknowledged Muslim contributions to the Western civilization and landscape.
“The beauty of mosques, their domes, minarets, schools, sites of worship and dialogue, testify to the faithfulness, and intricate integrity of Islam. They stand as testimony to the enduring, public mission Islamic teaching and practice,” he said.
Responding the current wave of Islamophobia in the West, Dr. Taliaferro said: “While I am a Christian, one of the most sacred experiences of my life was studying the Qu’ran in Istanbul on the grounds of the Blue Mosque. If more non-Muslims were able to open themselves to the beauty of the mosque, we would experience a badly needed appreciation of the greatness of Islam.”
In November 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei wrote an open letter to the youth of the West. Commenting on the letter, Dr. Taliaferro said: “It should be welcomed by those of any age in the West. His analogy about Islam and Christianity is deeply wise. Just as Christians needed to understand and recognize that the atrocities carried out in the name of Christianity (slavery) were contrary to the teachings of Jesus and thus not true to the spirit and integrity of Christianity, today, everyone, perhaps especially the youth who are trying to be open minded and find wisdom, need to discern what is truly Islam and what is false. While the letter’s focus is on challenging those who portray Islam as innately dangerous and bent on violating the rights of others, it implicitly challenges and condemns those who wrongly use the name of Islam and the Prophet to carry out acts of violence which are clearly in violation of Qur’anic teachings.”