Noted researcher of comparative study of various religions, Prof. Bruce Lawrence, Professor Emeritus, Islamic Studies, Duke University, U.S.A. said that Islamic has no connection with terrorism and the propaganda of the forces which are trying to link Islam with terrorism is baseless. Prof. Lawrence who is on his visit to various cities of India, told this while talking to selected media persons at the US consulate-general here on Thursday. Prof. Lawrence has also done comparative study of various languages and exhaustively read religious books. He has read the Holy Quran with interpretation (tafseer) with reference to various interpreters (mufassirin). He has expressed his views over linking Islam with terrorism in the present scenario, rights of women and Islamic perspective of Jihad.
Disapproving of the western world’s belief that there is growing Islamic terrorism in the world, noted scholar of Islamic studies Prof. Bruce Bennett Lawrence has said ‘Islamic terrorism’ or ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is non-existent. Those who want to link them have their own objective. They are presenting negative image of Islam for achieving their goals. He lamented that some parties and groups have started using religion for their political gains due to which the opponents got chance to distort the image of Islam. Politics has overpowered religion although religion should have overpowered politics. He told that neither Islam nor any other religion allows fundamentalism and terrorism. “Fundamentalism does not fit both Islam and Hinduism,” he remarked.
Commenting upon the misconceptions regarding women’s rights in Islam Prof. Lawrence claimed Islamic teachings are not against women rather Islam elevated the position of woman. Prof. Lawrence also tried to allay the misconceptions about the concept of Jihad in Islam. Prof. Lawrence who is called as “a Christian who believes in the Qur’an” asserted that being a Christian he is in a position to logically claim that the Holy Quran is superior to Bible.
Prof. Lawrence has been studying Islam for more than 50 years, said the term ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ came into existence after religion mixed with politics in the last 75 years. Islam got radicalized over the years as it became a ‘political project’.
In a career spanning nearly four decades, Dr. Lawrence has pioneered cutting-edge interdisciplinary scholarly work on Islam and Muslim societies with disciplinary synergies in the humanities, social sciences, law and theology. Dr. Lawrence has contributed to no fewer than 15 books including ‘Shattering the Myth: Islam Beyond Violence’. Many are considered major contributions to the field of Islam and public policy. Dr. Lawrence’s translation of the statements of Osama bin Laden, led government leaders to seek him out as a policy advisor.