In 1994, South Africa had its first democratic election with South Africans from all races allowed to vote. With the African National Congress (ANC) victory, the racist system of apartheid began to be dismantled. Three years later, in 1997, Farid Esack, an anti-apartheid activist, who is too often forgotten, wrote Qur’an, Liberation and Pluralism: An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity against Oppression. Reflecting on the Muslim community’s history during the anti-apartheid struggle, Esack outlines a vision of Islamic theology that is both intense and intentional about eliminating all forms of injustice. For his dedication to the struggle, Esack was appointed as a Gender Equity Commissioner by Nelson Mandela. He is now a professor at the University of Johannesburg, head of the South African branch of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and is known for his solidarity with the community living with HIV and AIDS. Twenty-five years after these first democratic elections, Noah Black sat down with him to discuss the book, his idea for interpreting the Qur’an for the liberation of all and how oppression shifts over time, constantly demanding new approaches, movements, and questions. If you would like to read the transcript for the interview, please click here.
Farid Esack is a South African Muslim liberation theologian, Professor in the study of Islam and Head of the Department of Religion Studies. He studied in Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and Germany and is the author of several books. He has published on Islam, gender, liberation theology, interfaith relations, and Qur'anic hermeneutics and currently works on the Qur’an and socio-economic justice and in developing a niche at UJ for the Study of Islam, Decolonization and Liberation.
Noah Black is an Assistant Producer of Status/الوضع, contributor to Jadaliyya's weekly Palestine Media Round Up, and graduate student at the Middle East and Islamic Studies department of George Mason University. Their research interests are in the theology and praxis of liberation in Muslim thought as well as global Indigenous liberation movements.
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