Two-day Consultation Workshop on Islam and PoliticsIPSweb
The consultation on “Islam and Politics,” held on July 9-10, 2008, brought together experts and scholars from Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sudan and Sri Lanka representing academia, non-governmental organizations and think tanks.
Activity: Two-Day International ConferenceParticipants:Dr. Diaa Rashwan, Director of the Comparative Politics Unit, Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies; Editor-in-Chief, Directory of World Islamic Movements, Egypt
Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Director, Institute of Islamic Studies and Head, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, India
Shah Abdul Halim, Chief Advisor of Khilgaon Islamic Library, Dhaka and founder of Katiadi Islamic Library, Kishoregonj, founder of Centre for Human Rights Bangladesh
Dr. Amina Rasul-Bernardo, Lead Convenor, Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy
Prof. Dr. Ibrahim M. Zein Dean of International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, International Islamic University MalaysiaDr. Mustafa Ali, Secretary General, ACRL- Religions for Peace, KenyaDr. Khalid Masood, Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology, Islamabad
Dr. Mehmood Ahmed Ghazi, Professor, College of Islamic Studies, Qatar
Dr. Shireen M Mazari, former Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI)
Dr. Anis Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, Riphah International University, Islamabad
Dr. Hassan Suhaib Murad, Rector, University of Management & Technology, Lahore
Tanvir Ahmed Khan, Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad
Akram Zaki, former Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Govt. of Pakistan
Agha Murtaza Poya, former Chairman, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad
Lt. Gen (r) Hamid Gul, former DG, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
Barrister Sadia Abbasi, Member of SenateAmit Pandya, Director, Regional Voices: Transnational Challenges project,the Henry L. Stimson Centre, Washington, USA
Duaa M. Elzeney, Middle East Research Associate, Regional Voices: Transnational Challenges Project, the Henry L. Stimson Centre, Washington, USA
Jumaina Siddiqui, South Asia Research Associate, Regional Voices: Transnational Challenges project, the Henry L. Stimson Centre, Washington, USAProf. Khurshid Ahmad, Chairman, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad
Khalid Rahman, Director General, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad
Muhammad Saleem Zafar, Research Coordinator, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad
- Islam’s vision is universal and its aspiration as well as the scope of its early history is trans-national. Moreover, the orientation and evolution of the early Muslim community was worldly and pragmatic, with public utility as the overarching principle.
- The relationship between religion and the state in Islam is a rich source of ideas and guidance is available from the time of the prophet on the proper relationship between religion and society.
- The tradition of Islamic statecraft (or social norms) has much of contemporary relevance to say about justice and welfare, the rights of minorities, unity within the Muslim community and cohesion with non-Muslim minorities and neighbours.
- There is a notable diversity within Islam and there is no singular ‘Muslim mind’ but rather multiple Muslim experiences, and multiple identities enjoyed by Muslims, including their national, linguistic, regional, class and other secular ones. The Muslim world possesses a rich variety of intellectual currents and cross-currents and Islamic thought.
- Mobilization is a central principle of Islam, which is an intellectual and social tradition based neither on anarchy nor on authority and obedience. Thus the beneficial organization of an Islamic society is seen as requiring mobilization based upon an ideological understanding by members.
- It is necessary to have a dispassionate and empirical approach to the understanding of developments in political ideology in the Muslim world. There is a widespread sense that the West is engaged in a “blame game”, which would have detrimental effects on the stability and freedom of Muslim societies and on the standing of the United States in the Muslim world.
- US policy in the aftermath of 9/11 has also had its effects in this regard. It has led to a hardening and radicalization on both sides of the Western-Muslim encounter and led to mutual broad brush (mis)characterization of the other and its intentions.
- There is serious concern in the Muslim world at the use of negative terms such as “extremist” or “radical” for the Muslims. These terms are seldom seen as a categorisation based on real trends in the Muslim World and often considered as a psy-war or media war against Muslims and Islam.
- If terrorism means resort to violence against innocent civilians, then all forms of terrorism, individual, group and state should be equally condemned. The issue of legitimacy and justness of the objectives as well as of the means used to counter terrorism are equally important and relevant.
- Traditions of violent resistance are seen as rooted in anti-colonial struggles, or in resistance to indigenous oppression, and the extent to which violence is accepted as legitimate in contemporary Muslim societies depends on the perceived commonality of current conflicts with those.
- The broader aspirations of Muslim societies are reflected through a struggle against an unjust global order, comprising injustice and inequality in international economic and political relations and injustice and inequality in arrangements within autocratic Muslim societies, most often sponsored and protected by the West.
The conference was convened in collaboration with the Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington. A report based on the proceedings of the workshop will be published.