With more than 1.8 billion Muslims in the world today, Islam is the world’s second largest religion. While Islam has been prominent in the news since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, its association with conflict and instability in the Middle East has led to persistent misconceptions and misunderstandings about the faith. In this class Michael Fahy will discuss the origins of Islam and its relationship to other Abrahamic monotheistic faiths of Judaism and Christianity, as well as the main tenets of Muslim theology and varying trends within the faith. In a brief historical overview, he will describe the decisive influence of Islamic civilization on the Western Renaissance. Like all major religions, Islam is internally diverse, and we will pay particular attention to how different ideas and beliefs are practiced at different times and in different places, referencing, in particular, gender roles and religious extremism.
Michael Fahy holds a Ph.D. degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan and currently teaches in the University’s School of Education. He is an anthropologist of the Middle East, where he lived and pursued research for several years. Since 2004 Michael has offered presentations on Middle Eastern history and culture to American military personnel across the United States and Europe.