Obituary: Canadian pioneer in Islamic studies crossed tense boundaries | Vancouver Sun

Dr. Hanna Kassis had been quite personally involved with Mawlana Hazar Imam particularly regarding IIS matters. He taught Ta’alim ul-Islam module on the Quran in Toronto, many years back. Recently, he was a Professor on the study of Quran for IWTP Training at IIS in 2010, London. During the Q&A after his lecture, while responding to one of the students’ questions, he became deeply emotional when talking about Mawlana Hazar Imam. It was indeed very evident throughout his classes, that he held Mawlana Hazar Imam in extremely high regard. RIP.


— An Ismaili Student of Dr. Kassis.

Hanna Kassis, professor of Islamic studies at the University of B.C. JENNIFER EWING


University of B.C. religious studies Prof. Hanna Kassis was educating British Columbians about Islam in an era when there were fewer than 10,000 Muslims in Canada.

It was the 1960s and ’70s when Kassis, who was raised in Gaza City, which is part of the Palestinian Territories, began his popular UBC classes on the theology, scripture and sociology of the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing religion.

Everyone in Kassis’s classes assumed he was a Muslim, since he taught the religion with such respect, emphasizing its strengths while trying to get students to appreciate the inner logic of Islamic movements, spirituality and ideals.

It was only after I graduated from UBC that I learned Kassis was actually a Palestinian Christian, one of many who felt forced at a young age to leave the strife-torn territories, which are now almost empty of Christians.

Kassis, who died this month at age 86, after struggling with Parkinson’s disease, was at UBC for 33 years, where he also taught Hebrew.

More at the source: Vancouver Sun / Douglas Todd / April 14, 2018

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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