Saturday, October 12, 2019

Alfons Teipen

Alfons Teipen was born in Germany, studied at the universities of Freiburg and Tübingen, and moved to the U.S. in 1989 in an exchange program between the University of Tübingen and Temple University. Alfons and received his PhD in religion from Temple University. 
Alfons has taught religion at Furman University since 1997.  Alfons’ academic interest underwent a shift from Catholic Theology to Islamic Studies and he is interested in the comparative study of religion, interreligious dialogue, Muslim - Christian relations, and women in Islam.
When I questioned Alfons about his dedication to the beret, he gave me this beautiful response:
“I had bought the beret in Firenze, Italy, in the early 2000s, but had worn it only a few times before it spent most of its time in the closet.  That all changed with the Iraq war: when France refused to participate in the invasion of Iraq (after 9/11 the US had falsely accused Iraq of producing weapons of mass destruction in support of al-Qaida), many Americans became upset with France for not supporting the war."
"My then-neighbor was one of those folks, who – in one conversation with me- proposed that the French needed to be punished for their non-support. This is the time period when Americans began boycotting French wine, and proposed renaming “French fries” into “freedom fries.”
As a visible sign of my disagreement with such sentiment, I took the beret out of the closet, and I have worn it ever since, out of solidarity with France and in opposition to the war-mongerers…”
What better reason to wear a beret?
Thanks Alfons

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