Dialog, Civic Engagement and Brainstorming with Dr Alp Aslandogan and Dr Ahmet Kurucan
Pacifica Institute hosted a seminar and a brainstorming session from 9:15am to 1pm on the 4th of September, Saturday, 2021. 70 plus rsvped in person. Presentations by Dr Aslandogan and Dr Kurucan were broadcasted online for the sister organizations’ volunteers for the West Coast Civic Platform.
Alp made the presentation of Dialog, Civic Engagement and Integration and he stressed the need for it more than ever when there is a trend for polarization. Dr Aslandogan shared some statistics on a research in India where there was civic engagement and dialog, there is less violence and less deaths because of violence. Wherever the people meet on a regular basis, there is not even a death over decades due to the peaceful coexistence among diverse groups. Alp pointed out that the alternative to integration is isolation and assimilation in which for both the society can not benefit from the richness that the new arrivals to a country can share.
Dr Ahmet Kurucan started his presentation of his book “Baris Esastir- Peace, the Essential Pillar” which will be translated to English in 2022, by explaining what the concept of Dialog and Civic Engagement in Islamic terminology is. Dr Kurucan gave examples of Muhammed (pbuh)’s outreach during the Makkah and Madinah period. Dr Kurucan then proceeded to elaborate on how Muslims must understand Quran. Here he explains there are two approaches that came to mind, one is literal and the other is contextual and interpretative. Dr Kurucan stressed that the learned scholars of Islam for centuries have adopted the interpretative and contextual understanding of the Quran.
The presentations by two speakers were proceeded by the brainstorming session when lively discussions were held among the in person participants of the Saturday morning event.