I get the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. But I find its indifference to Christianity -- almost as if it were an embarrassment! --repugnant. Anyway, I'm not a Christian. I feel some solidarity. But let them do their own worrying.
In any case, it's a rare moment when I look closely at the journal, and today was one of those moments. The cover advertised an article titled "How Muslims Are Building Peace" by S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orleanna, an associate professor at American University in Wahington, D.C. I can't link to the article because, although the HDB is a quarterly, the essay is in
the autumn 2007 issue but the last number on-line is the spring/summer.
There are four seasons to the year. But in Cambridge history moves exceeding slow.
Now, let me make clear: this article is not at all sympathetic to the real manifestations of jihad in the modern world. Nor does it pretend, as that Harvard senior who, addressing Commencement a few years ago with the complicity of a few either foolish or roguish faculty, did just that, that is pretending that jihad is a stretching of the inner soul to perfection.
The author of the present essay has no such illusions. The status of the peace-builders in Islam, according to the article, is very weak. And here's a devastating sentence (at least for all those who think that non-governmental organizations are categorical boon to mankind): "Peace-building practices in the Muslim world are generally not undertaken by stable institutions such as NGOs."
Is there hope for the trace of peace-building in contemporary Islam to make itself felt? Reading between the lines and not only between the lines, there is precious little hope or no hope at all. You can get the Bulletin from the Harvard Divinity School, 45 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, MA. 02138