Chapter

Dialogue Between East and West

Mohammad Khatami Ayatollah

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Dialogue Between East and West

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He was born into a clerical family in Ardakan in central Iran; his father was the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khatami. After religious studies in Qom, Khatami entered the University of Isfahan in 1965 to study philosophy, followed in 1969 by graduate studies in education at the University of Teheran. Two years later, he returned to Qom to pursue further religious studies in Islamic law, jurisprudence, and philosophy. In Qom he became more immersed in political activity. In 1978, on the eve of the Iranian revolution, he was chosen to lead the Hamburg Islamic Institute in Germany, which played a pivotal role in organizing revolutionary activity among the Iranian diaspora. From 1982 to 1992, he served as Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and then in 1992 he was appointed assistant to Iran's President and head of the National Library of Iran. He was elected President of the Islamic Republic of Iran on May 23, 1997, with over two-thirds of the popular vote and reelected for a second term in 2001. He has published several books and articles, including Islam, Liberty and Development and From the City-World to the World-City.

In an address given in 1999, Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran between 1997-2005, commends dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. In his view, the Renaissance in the West was meant to revitalize religion, but the rebirth was soon aborted by colonialism and conquest. The modern era is one of rationality, on which Westerners have placed undue reliance. It has perhaps led some Muslims to discount values endemic to Muslim civilization, as though that civilization were hostile to reason. Khatami calls for a true dialoguein which the parties listen to one another, rather than simply stating their positionswhich would yield fair and practical solutions to some of the grave problems that beset the world.

Chapter.  2652 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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