ON-Lion Letter
Tunisian professor Yadh Ben Achour called for an open Islam, ready to embrace modernity and respectful of human rights, at a mid-May conference in Rome at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI).  This vision, however, is not entirely unanimous, Ben Achour noted.

"Muslims are divided among themselves," Ben Achour said in his lecture, according to a report from H2O News.  "There are Muslims who are open to modernity, giving an open and liberal interpretation of Islam, and so allow a trouble-free philosophy of human rights, maintaining a reinterpretation of the entire corpus of doctrine developed throughout Islamic history.  On the other hand, unfortunately, there are fundamentalists who believe the philosophy of human rights is the entranceway to disbelief."
Ben Achour is a professor of law, political science, and social science at the University of Tunis.

The relationship between the rights of believers and human rights is still a delicate issue, he said, because it has become so politicized.  At the center of the debate is the status of some statutes of Koranic text.

"It is true that there are some legal provisions in the Koran, as in other religious texts, such as the Old Testament," according to Ben Achour.  "They are, however, very rare.  Secondly, we are open to interpretations, and for this reason, it is necessary to return to interpret those passages, and re-interpret them with a modern understanding."

The PISAI conference was supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. 
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