former Prime Minister of Lebanon

lectures on
'Islam and the
Challenges of Modernization'

Former Lebanese Prime Minister HE Najib Mikati delivered a lecture on Thursday 19th February at the Examination Schools entitled “Islam and the Challenges of Modernization”. Mr Mikati was introduced by the Centre’s Director, Dr Farhan Nizami.

In his lecture Mr Mikati highlighted common western misconceptions about Islam, citing examples from the time of the Prophet to dispel myths about the oppression of women, racism, and religious intolerance in Islam. He pointed to Islam being one of the first religions actively to encourage modernisation. He also argued that today’s societal and regional conflicts were caused primarily by cultural, rather than religious, differences. Mr Mikati called for tolerance and mutual respect, stressing the need for moderates of all religions and experts in different fields to join together, through non-political channels, in a forum based on reciprocity. His lecture was followed by a stimulating question and answer session, provoking wider discussion about politics, religion and the current situation in Lebanon. Lord Williams of Baglan, former UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, offered some fitting closing remarks.

Earlier in the day, Mr Mikati, together with his wife and the Lebanese Ambassador, HE Inaam Osseiran, enjoyed a tour of the Centre’s new Marston Road building. He expressed his support for the work of the Centre and that of other moderate scholars committed to promoting deeper understanding of Islam.

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