Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir
In Conversation with Noel Cheer
The West is not well-served by its news media when it sees Islam only as war-mongering, fanatical and dangerous. Certainly there are Muslims as individuals and as groups who fit these categories, but we can also point to Christians, Buddhists, Hindus – and atheists.
In an attempt to offer a balanced view, we have
invited Dr. Bagir (from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic nation) to discuss this subject.
Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir is the director of the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia. He is presently a Visiting Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, teaching “Islam in the Contemporary World” in the Religious Studies Department. He deals with dialogues between Islam and other religions, Muslim responses to today’s science, politics (especially democracy) and the emerging secular West.
His current research projects include freedom of religion and management of religious diversity in Indonesia; he recently completed a research on Christianity in contemporary Indonesia. His other academic interests include religion and science, and religion and ecology. A book he edited, Science and Religion in the Post-colonial World: Interfaith Perspectives was published by Australasian Theological Forum Press (2006).
Dr. Bagir received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia while his master’s degree was obtained from the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Malaysia and doctoral degree from the Indiana University, U.S..
The interviewer, Noel Cheer, is a long-term member of the Board of The St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society. He has recently completed a seven-year series of half-hour interview on the Auckland’s Triangle Television. For enquiries about this event call him on 0274 483 805.