The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
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Lecture: “Multidimensional Understanding of Islam—the Dialogue with Muslims in Indonesia”
 
Prof. Kato is a professor at the Graduate School of Policy Studies at Chuo University in Tokyo. His specialties are Anthropology of Religion and Society and Comparative Civilizations. Prof. Kato graduated from Hosei University in Tokyo and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Sydney in Australia. He has taught at several universities, including the National University of Indonesia, and De La Salle University in the Philippines. In 2012, Prof. Kato received the Toynbee-Talbutt Award from the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations.  He is currently serving as vice president of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations.
 
In his lecture, Prof. Kato touched upon the notions of “fact” and “truth,” and explained that fact is visible while truth is concealed and invisible. He remarked that a multidimensional understanding of Islam means to understand the hidden truth. With this attitude, he says, we can realize a sustainable future that includes religions. Prof. Kato further mentioned the controversial issue of drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were published in a French magazine and that spread prejudice towards Muslims across the world. He emphasized the necessity of seeking a balance between freedom of expression and the dignity of religious beliefs.

He also described the original meaning of the Five Pillars of Islam and The Six articles of Faith in Islam, and clarified the notion of Jihad. He commented that the meaning of Jihad is often misunderstood and that there are two types of Jihad. One is a lesser Jihad, which indicates physical conflict, and the other is a greater Jihad, meaning the spiritual struggle of becoming a better Muslim. “People often have a stereotypical image of Islam, but Muslims are taught to respect believers of other religions as well,” he said.

Prof. Kato added that there are Muslims who strictly follow their religious principles, while others prefer flexible interpretations that accommodate a changing reality, and stressed the significance of correctly understanding the multidimensional reality of being Muslim. He concluded that “In doing so, we can seek the path to coexistence and realize a sustainable future.”

Organizer: The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP)
Lecturer: Professor Hisanori Kato (Professor, Chuo University)
Venue:  TKP Ichigaya Conference Center (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo)
Date: October 3, 2016



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