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Roundtable Discussion On: “Rethinking Secularism in the Globalised Era: Seeing Beyond Modernity”
July 17, 2017
Date: Sunday, 6th August 2017
Time: 11 AM – 2 PM
Venue: Nottingham University, Level 2, Chulan Tower, Kuala Lumpur
Dr Heba Raof Ezzat
Interveners: Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi, YB Nurul Izzah Anwar, Prof Harlina Halizah Siraj
Jointly organized by:
Islamic Renaissance Front, Nottingham University and Penang Institute
Secularism, a contentious term that could well be described generally as a distinction between the sacred or divinely inspired aspects, to the profane or the worldly elements of human lives. If we were to focus our discussion on the field of society and politics, secularism is popularly understood as the separation between power and religion in a political system. Regardless of whether one would agree to its principles, secularism is one of the most integral principles in the foundation of modern states.
Many scholars have argued that we are now living in an era of late modernity, in which most societies are politically modeled as a modern-nation state, have passed or currently undergoing several modernization processes, including rationalization, individualization, and democratization. These processes came along with the advancement of capitalism and secularism.
Another influential element that is still shaping modern societies is Globalization, an inter-connectivity of different nations, cultural traditions, and faith-religions, into a One-world system. This move has created global interaction leading towards tremendous advancement of knowledge, technology and trade. However, the inter-connected globalized world has also exposed the vulnerability of modern civilization, to social problems related to alienation, exploitation and unequal treatment between different nations, social classes and religious communities.
Within this background, it is interesting for us to once again revisit the discussion on Secularism, Modernity and the Globalized world, mainly in Muslim countries of today. Without doubt, Muslim societies in some ways have advanced in terms of economic growth, democracy and rational thinking. Though, we are still being plagued with various problems and polemics either it be political, cultural, legal and also intellectual contestation particularly on matters related to the position of Islam as the dominant religion in the society.
This roundtable discussion on “Rethinking Secularism in the Globalised Era: Seeing Beyond Modernity” serves as the right platform among academics and activists to discuss further on the topic.
1100-1110: Opening speech by the Chairperson, Hazman Baharom
1110-1120: Welcoming speech by Prof Zaharom Nain, Nottingham University
1120-1130: Speech by moderator, Elma Berisha
1130-1215: Presentation by Dr Heba Raof Ezzat
1215-1230: Intervener I: Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi
1230-1245: Intervener II: YB Nurul Izzah Anwar
1245-1300: Intervener III: Prof Harlina Halizah Siraj
Biographies of Presenter and Interveners
Dr Heba Raof Ezzat graduated from Cairo University and taught at the political science department three courses of political theory and history of political thought for almost thirty years. She also was an affiliate professor at the American University in Cairo 2006-2013 where she taught courses on political Islam, contemporary Arab thought and political thought and theory. She was a visiting researcher then a visiting fellow at many distinguished academic institutions including University of Westminster , Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, University of Maastricht, and University of California – Berkeley, and London School of Economics. She published widely on classic and contemporary Islamic thought, issues of Globalization, women and Islam, and urban politics. She has also been active in the public sphere in Egypt, was a coordinator of many youth initiatives and is a public speaker and commentator. She is also a translator and a poet. Her latest publications include two books in Arabic: Towards a New Civility and The Political Imagination of Islamists. Her translation of Ziauddin Sardar’s book on Mecca into Arabic is due to appear in bookstores September 2017.
Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi is a Professor of Law who has served Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Shah Alam, Selangor in various capacities from 1971 onwards. He specialized in Constitutional Law and Human Rights issues. He is the author of Human Rights, Globalisation and the Asian Economic Crisis, Islam International Law and the War Against Terrorism, Islam, Democracy and Development, Document of Destiny: The Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia and The Bedrock of Our Nation: Our Constitution. He is the co-author of Media Law & Regulations in Malaysia and Co-editor of Decolonising Our Universities – Towards a Non-Eurocentric Paradigm. He has contributed over 350 articles to legal periodicals, anthologies and newspapers and has presented over 300 seminar papers in 15 countries including the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Japan. He is currently Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Chair Holder, Faculty of Law in University of Malaya.
YB Nurul Izzah Anwar, is the current, second-term Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai. Prior to being an MP, Nurul Izzah was and still is a strong proponent of human and civil rights with a special interest in prisoners of conscience; bent on pursuing a holistic reform agenda to expand Malaysia’s democratic space. She has worked with a number of agencies and institutes on advocacy work, among them are the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM), Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Women Leaders International Forum (WLIF) and Friedrich-Naumann Stifung (FNS). She has in the past advocated on behalf of Malaysian political prisoners and Malaysian human rights movements at the international level, most notably being an intervention in the main session at the 55th Commission on Human Rights, Geneva. She is the founding member for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Caucus and a member of the Women’s Caucus. She is a committee member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Malaysia. She has also moved the Parliamentary Bill in Malaysia’s Parliament to Revoke Emergency Declarations in the country; including the eventual abolishment of the draconian Internal Security Act – all of which were adopted by the Prime Minister six months later. Unfortunately, other laws were then re-introduced; in line with Malaysia’s semi autocratic regime. Prior to entering politics, she earned her Masters’ Degree from the School for Advanced International Studies – Johns Hopkins University studying International Relations (with specialization in Southeast Asia Studies). She actively contributes to Malaysiakini and the Malay publication Sinar – continuously provoking the electorate with dangerous thoughts on reforming status quo.
Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj is a Professor of O&G and Medical Education (Clinical Teaching) from the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and a prominent Muslim social activist. She was one of a leader in Jemaah Islah Malaysia and IKRAM Malaysia. She also a former Chairperson of Raudhatus Sakinah. Dr Harlina is a holder of 2011 Saidatina Khadijah Award by State of Selangor and was a Nominee for Great Women of Our Times 2008 by Malaysian Women’s Weekly. She frequently invited as a speaker in TV show (ASTRO Awani, ASTRO Prima, TV AlHijrah, TV9, TV3, NTV7, TV Selangor, RTM) and radio (IKIM.fm, KL.fm).