Written by Olivia Studdard, Staff Writer
Dr. Suzanne Akbari has a lot to say about the misconceptions many Western Christians have of Islam.
One of the most interesting: “When Christians describe Muslims in a certain way, they’re also saying something about themselves.”
She challenged the audience to drop the common judgement they may have of Islam, because they really may not understand the religion as it was designed to be. Dr. Akbari said that many Western Christians are guilty of associating Islam with idolatry, when in actuality the two traditions reinforce each other. The difference between praying to Muhammed in the tomb and an image of Muhammed may seem stark in contrast to each other, when the similarity is found in the act of praying itself.
“It’s a rare occasion when students and public come together for a literature event,” Dr. Theresa Thompson, a professor in the English Department, said. However, the seats in Bailey Science Center Auditorium were surprisingly full of a mix between the two on Tuesday night.
“This may be our last speaker ever because they’ve cut our budget so badly,” Thompson said.
Dr. Akbari is the director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, as well as a coeditor of the Norton Anthology of Literature.