Islam, Native Americans, and the Conquest of Canaan: A Qur’anic Reading – Shadaab Rahemtulla

Middle East And Islamic Studies Lecture Series

Date: 8 May, 2020- 12 pm 

Islam, Native Americans, and the Conquest of Canaan: A Qur’anic Reading

Guest lecture: Dr Shadaab Rahemtulla of University of Edinburgh

Abstract: This presentation seeks to put Islamic liberation theology in conversation with Native American rights, focusing on an indigenous critique of Christian liberation theology. The Exodus is a central paradigm for Latin American and Black theologians, representing a just deity in solidarity with the oppressed. But native scholars have critiqued the Exodus paradigm as selective, omitting “the other side” of the story: namely, the Israelite conquest of Canaan and destruction of its local inhabitants. Given the Exodus is also a key trope in Islamic liberation theology, this paper raises the following questions: What exactly does the Qur’an have to say about the Israelite encounter with Canaan? Does it mirror the biblical account? Did a mass genocide take place, and, if so, was this a result of divine decree?

Bio: A Canadian Muslim of Indian descent, Shadaab Rahemtulla is Lecturer in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. Trained in Islamic thought at the University of Oxford, Shadaab’s primary interest lies in the relationship between religion, power, and resistance, exploring how religious texts can be  (re)interpreted to challenge structures of social domination, including poverty and patriarchy, racism and empire. He is the author of the book, Qur’an of the Oppressed: Liberation Theology and Gender Justice in Islam (OUP, 2018).


Students wishing to obtain a video recording of the lecture for educational purposes can contact Mulki Al-Sharmani at