Letter to the Editor, Daily Times, Pakistan:


Akbar S. Ahmed
Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies
American University, Washington, DC

August 2003

It has come to my attention that the Daily Times has erroneously reported that I support Daniel Pipes’ nomination to the United States Institute of Peace. This is a complete fabrication. I neither endorsed nor opposed Daniel Pipes’ nomination in my Religion News Service article of July 2. Despite attempts by some to distort what I wrote in the article, I have never endorsed Daniel Pipes’ nomination. The purpose of my column was to encourage dialogue in America with those scholars and commentators who are usually seen as critics of Islam. Dialogue with these groups will strengthen the Muslim community and lead to a better understanding of Islam in the United States.

Indeed, since coming to the United States, I have done my utmost to encourage dialogue among Muslims and non-Muslims, and made every effort to unify the Muslim community in the United States. My scholarship has focused solely on dialogue as a way of improving ties between Islam and the West. I have worked very hard to correct misconceptions about Islam. I am acutely aware of how dialogue will help heal the hurt and anger in the Muslim community, which is why I called my new book Islam Under Siege: Living Dangerously in a Post-Honor World.

Dialogue will continue to be my goal during these difficult times, despite efforts to misinterpret my position. However, I am discouraged by the state of journalism in Pakistan if my simple column, which a child should be able to read and understand, could be so grossly misrepresented. I regret that I am being forced, once again, to defend myself against these distortions. I urge anyone who has a question about my position to read what I have written and not rely on the reporting of others, which has so often fallen short of the mark.

Sincerely,

Akbar S. Ahmed


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