Wednesday, April 28, 2004

It's a little know fact that I have a degree in Comparative Religion. Useful, you're thinking.

In the second and third years, I took courses on Islam and Contemporary Islam - this was a while ago, before this information was considered particularly useful. A family friend had done my degree about fifteen years earlier, and very kindly gave me two pieces of information: (a) lots of past exam papers, and (b) the knowledge that the professor had a limited exam-setting imagination, and alternated questions on Macolm X/The Black Muslims and ... another topic, I forget. He'd been doing this for nigh on two decades, and I was confident in realising that my year was a Malcolm X year.

I read every book and article I could on him. I was a veritable Malcolm X information machine - it was one of those papers with one long essay, to show off yer booklearnin' - and none of my coursemates would believe me when I pointed this out to them. Too big a risk. The reason I don't know anything about contemporary Islamic issues is that I only learned Malcolm X, and I was right. That's the value of a broad-based tertiary education, right? Although now, I can't help thinking it would have been better to, y'know, know more, more widely.

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