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Philosophy in Islam?

Friday, 7 June, 2019 - 20:30
Arduinkaai 7, 1000 Brussels
VUB Crosstalks & KVS
Panel discussion

The fear of an increasing influence of Islam on notions such as freedom and equality makes more and more people return to so-called ‘own values’. Values that were allegedly created during the European Enlightenment and that are not immediately associated with Islam. But is that true?

In his book Open to Reason. Muslim Philosophers in Conversation with the Western Tradition Souleymane Bachir Diagne shows that thinkers such as Avicenna, Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd or Averroës pleaded for freedom of thought and research very early in the history of Islam. Today, Diagne believes that the need for philosophical thinking is more topical than ever, and he advocates an open, pluralistic society in which critical thinking and dialogue are stimulated.

In response, Crosstalks asked four critical thinkers to delve into the history of philosophy in Islam, in interaction with the current and future challenges of a world that is constantly in motion. On June 7, Ted Bwatu, Mohamed Barrie, Aminata Ndow and Sukina Douglas will have a conversation with Souleymane Bachir Diagne on this subject.


20:30: Intro by Mohamed Barrie
20:40: Spoken word by Sukina Douglas
20:50: Presentation by Souleymane Bachir Diagne
21:05: Discussion with Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Ted Bwatu, Mohamed Barrie,  Aminata Ndow and Sukina Douglas, followed by Q&A
22:00: Spoken word by Sukina Douglas


The event is free but registration required via KVS.


Souleymane Bachir Diagne is a professor at Columbia University in the departments French and Philosophy. He is also director of the Institute of African Studies. His areas of research include History of Philosophy, History of Logic and Mathematics, Islamic Philosophy, and African Philosophy and Literature. His latest publications include: The Ink of the Scholars. Reflections on Philosophy in Africa (Codesria, 2016) and Open to Reason. Muslim philosophers in conversation with Western tradition (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Sukina Douglas, together with Muneera Rashida, is part of the British spoken word and hip hop duo Poetic Pilgrimage. She tours worldwide and has led poetry workshops in countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Sweden, Morocco and Belgium. Her goal is to inspire people through the power of words. She makes regular guest appearances in foreign media and in 2015 the international television network Al Jazeera made the controversial documentary Hip Hop Hijabis about her and Poetic Pilgrimage.

Ted Bwatu is a financial consultant. He is interested in the North-South problem and the socio-economic impact of increasing inequality. He is currently writing his first novel, an allegorical epic with a view of contemporary society from the perspective of African and Eastern philosophies.

Mohamed Barrie is a student social work at the university of Antwerp. Besides student he’s an event organizer, and active as a curator in the cultural field and youth work. He is also a passionate coach of City Pirates Antwerp, a girls' football team. On the tram from and to the training ground is where he has most of his philosophical conversations.

Aminata Ndow is a history student from Antwerp. In 2017, she founded the student association AYO (African Youth Organisation), together with Mohamed Barrie and Emmanuel Iyamu. With AYO they want to increase the self-awareness of Afro-Belgian students, among other things. In March 2019 they organised the second edition of Black History Month in Belgium.