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Book launch at London Ismaili Center 21, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Islam.
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Last week at London’s Ismaili Center there was a book launch. The Center is sponsoring a series of more accessible books on the Muslim world with “A Companion to the Muslim World” being the first. The editor, Aymn Sajoo, was interviewed by CNN’s Zain Verjee on stage where he discussed various aspects of the book.

From time to time he brought up Bernard Lewis in discussing how the media gravitate towards him and his ‘popular name’ when they seek coverage of an issue. I agree with him, though at times he did come across as being jealous of Lewis’ attention.

Later on Sajoo quoted the Jaroslav Pelikan:

Tradition is the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.

This struck me immediately as a pithy and exceedingly elegant sentence with a rather profound meaning. So far as I understand it, Pelikan sees tradition as being something positive, learned and passed down the generations. Whereas traditionalism for him has negative connotations of people blindly and devoutly following old creeds not because they understand them or agree with them but because they are simply old and thus feel duty-bound to follow them. Though being far from a theology student, I stand to be corrected…

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