For our final episode of this season we are delighted to welcome to the podcast Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne, who guides us through his autobiography, Le Fagot de Ma Memoire. Le fagot is a bundle of twigs. In Francophone Africa it refers to the wood that’s used to make a fire. Here, Professor Diagne has collected the twigs of his memory, interweaving the story of his professional trajectory, and the Muslim beliefs and motivations that have guided him.

Professor Diagne teaches at Columbia University, and is one of the world's most distinguished philosophers.

“When you are a scholar, an intellectual, an academic, and you identify yourself as a Muslim, that is your religion, that is your faith. It becomes your responsibility to also speak on behalf of that religion and embrace that responsibility,” he says, on why he speaks publicly about his faith.

“Today Islam is being accused of many different things. You can see the state of your own religion and the chaos and the geopolitical turmoil surrounding it. And I believe it is your responsibility to embrace your religion, to present yourself as a Muslim intellectual and speak as a Muslim intellectual on behalf of the rich intellectual and spiritual tradition that your religion is.”

He echoes Mawlana Hazar Imam's comments made at the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre Vancouver in 1985:

“Muslims living in the West can, and indeed must, contribute to improving the comprehension of what their faith does stand for, and to dispelling misconceptions which, both in the short and the long term, pose a serious threat to international understanding.”

Earlier this month, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture announced that Professor Diagne will be part of their Steering Committee for the 2023-2025 award cycle.

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