Emmanuel College continues to develop its emerging Muslim Studies program with the addition of renowned religious scholar Abdulaziz Sachedina to its faculty. Currently the Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, Sachedina will join Emmanuel College on July 1, 2011, as a distinguished visiting professor of Islamic studies. His appointment at Emmanuel College has been made possible by members of Toronto’s Muslim communities, particularly the generosity of Moez Kassam, a financial advisor and business consultant, and the board of directors of the Canadian Dawn Foundation.
Sachedina will be working closely with the College prior to the commencement of his professorship. In the coming academic year, Sachedina will be teaching a course in interfaith relations from a Muslim perspective at Emmanuel College and will be participating in Victoria University’s 175th anniversary celebrations with the delivery of a public lecture on bioethics and religion in October 2010.
The university community has met the news of Sachedina’s appointment with great enthusiasm. “Dr. Sachedina is an outstanding public intellectual, teacher and scholar, who will provide important leadership as Emmanuel seeks to address the most significant issues facing Muslim communities in Canada,” says Emmanuel College principal Mark G. Toulouse.
Victoria University president Paul W. Gooch believes Sachedina’s presence will help Emmanuel College realize its vision of Muslim studies: “Dr. Sachedina is someone who builds bridges among diverse Muslim communities, among diverse religious faiths and among a variety of academic disciplines.
Sachedina received his MA and PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Toronto, and has been conducting research and writing in the fields of Islamic law, ethics, and theology (Sunni and Shiite) for more than two decades. In the last 10 years, he has concentrated on social and political ethics, including interfaith and intrafaith relations, Islamic biomedical ethics, and Islam and human rights. Sachedina’s publications include: Islamic Messianism (SUNY Press, 1981); Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture (University of South Carolina, 1988); The Prolegomena to the Qur’an (Oxford University Press, 1998); The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2001); Islamic Biomedical Ethic: Theory and Application (Oxford University Press, 2009); and Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2009). Sachedina is currently conducting research in Iraq and Iran on the role of reason in classical formulations of Islamic ethics.
He has lectured widely in East Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Iran, Europe and Canada. Since 2007, he has been the distinguished honorary professor of Islamic biomedical ethics for Shahid Behishti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. Sachedina has also served on the advisory board of the Center for Bioethics of the University of Virginia and on an advisory council for the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York City. He participates on editorial boards for 10 scholarly journals, including the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and The Journal of Religious Ethics. Throughout the 1990s, he worked closely with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on the Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism Project, an effort to link religion to universal human needs and values in the service of peace building. Among his numerous awards are the Z Society Award for Outstanding Professor, the Government of Iran Cultural Scholarship, and the Sesquicentennial Fellowship for research in the United Kingdom.