Challenging western perceptions of Islam

Wednesday, 10 July 2002

ISLAM has been in the spotlight since the terrorist attacks on September 11. Now a new course at the University of Adelaide aims to dispel some common myths about Islam.

"Questioning Western Perceptions of Islam" is being run in August as part of the Community Course Program offered by the Centre for Professional and Continuing Education.

The four-week course is presented by Dr Arthur Saniotis, an anthropologist with extensive experience in Islam and Muslim cultures. Dr Saniotis has conducted fieldwork in North India where he explored the mystical practices of Indian Sufis. He has also been closely associated with Muslim and Middle-Eastern cultures over many years.

"The events of September 11th had a profound impact on the world and re-ignited negative Western assumptions of Muslims," he says.

"A major aim of this course will be to challenge misconceptions of Islam and Muslims in general, and to give an informed understanding of Islam and its relationship with the West. By drawing from historical and anthropological sources, this course will offer the participants an opportunity to question taken-for-granted notions of 'otherness' and how they are often conveyed in xenophobia and intolerance."

Dr Saniotis says that by the end of the course, participants will not just have gained an insight into Islam.

"The knowledge gained in this course will also provide conceptual tools for examining the causes and constructions of xenophobic attitudes and ethnic and religious intolerance," he says.

Places are limited and bookings are necessary. For more information about this or other Community Courses on offer, contact Professional and Continuing Education, phone 8303 4777.


Contact Details

Dr Arthur Saniotis
Visiting Research Fellow
Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit, School of Medicine
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: +61 (0)478 045 695