SECOND REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON: A Civil Islam: Prospects and Challenges in the 21st Century

September 18, 2017

Date: 29th September -1st October 2017
Vanue: Cyberview Lodge, Cyberjaya

BY INVITATION ONLY

Key Speakers:

Robert W. Hefner, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University
Topic: “Civil Islam in South East Asia: Prospect and Challenges in the 21st Century”

Syed Farid Alatas, National University of Singapore
Topic: “A Vision of a Civil and Progressive Islam in Malaysia”

Dr Zainal Abidin Bagir, Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.
Topic: “Battling Islamic Sectarianism in the Nusantara”.

Organized by:
Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

 

The arrival of Islam to the world more than fourteen centuries ago signifies a momentous event in the history of humanity. Founded by the divine exclamation of monotheism, Islam calls for all men to submit only to the One God, to liberate oneself from the dictates of the world, to free humanity from the sufferings and enslavement of a fellow human being, to elevate the status of human dignity, and to strive towards justice and liberty for the human society. This call for the glorification of God has transformed slaves, bedouins and savage men, into men of courage, honor and civility. In such a short time, this generation didn't just profess a declaration of faith, but also lived a life that can be best termed as a ‘Civil Islam’.

However, looking at recent times, only very few Muslim societies in different parts of the world could be identified as a living model of a ‘Civil Islam’. For a society to be termed civil, there must be at least some of the most basic of recognitions to be given to its members; respect towards human lives and dignity, individual liberty, democratic institutions, appreciation towards diversity, and actions toward social justice. These values and principles should blend well together to shape a functioning civil society. Unfortunately, the prospect of a Civil Islam in Muslim societies remains quite far from our imagination in this early phase of the 21st Century.

In Malaysia, there is also an increasing concern on the issue of sectarianism in Islam. Official statements and sermons have clearly declared minority Muslims including the Shias, Ahmadis and more recently, Liberals, as deviant groups. Serious violent conflicts may have yet to emerge, but recent trends can be described as worrying to those who aspire a more open, tolerant and harmonious Muslim society. Another prime concern is that although with the increasing sense of religiosity in the region; issues related authoritarianism, corruption and despotic rules remain unresolved. These are just among the few issues frequently raised within the region, remains the key challenges towards achieving a Civil Islam in the region.

With this backdrop of Muslim societies in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia, the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) sees the need to organize the Second Regional Conference on “Civil Islam: The Prospects and Challenges for the 21st Century”.

 

Programs

Friday, 29th September 2017

1600 Registration
1800

Ice-breaking & Discussion with Participants

Moderator: Ehsan Shahwahid

1800

Ghazwah

Instructors: Thufail Sayuti and Shuhaib Ar Rumy

Instructors: Afiqah Zulkifli and Laini Izwaty

1930 Dinner
2030 Opening speech by Ehsan Shahwahid
2035 Welcoming speech by Dato’ Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa, Director, Islamic Renaissance Front
2045 

Session 1

Keynote Speech:

Islam, State, and Civil Society

Prof. Robert Hefner

Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA), Boston University

2145 Discussion
2230 End

 

Saturday, 30th September 2017

0900 Welcoming Speech by Muhammad Syamil Dzulfida
0915

Session 3Prof. Syed Farid Alatas, National University of Singapore

Topic: “A Vision of a Civil and Progressive Islam in Malaysia”.

Moderator: Rasyad Razin

1000 Discussion
1100

 

Session 3

Prof. Robert W. Hefner, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University

Topic: “Civil Islam in South East Asia: Prospect and Challenges in the 21st Century”

Moderator: Ehsan Shahwahid

1145  Discussion
1245 Lunch
1430

Session 4

Workshop

Moderators:
A. Afiqah Zulkifli, Hazman Baharom, Thufail Sayuti B. Shawn Syazwan, Shuhaib Ar Rumy, Syamil Dzulfida
C. Rasyad Razin, Nur Adilla Abdul Rahim, Mohd Rashidi
D. Ehsan Shahwahid, Ahmad Muziru Idham, Laini Izwaty

1700 End
1800

Ghazwah

Instructors: Thufail Sayuti and Shuhaib Ar Rumy

Instructors: Afiqah Zulkifli and Laini Izwaty

1930 Evening Hi-Tea
2030 

Session 5

Dr Zainal Abidin Bagir, Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.

Topic: “Battling Islamic Sectarianism in the Nusantara”.

Moderator: Afiqah Zulkifli

2130 Discussion
2230 End

 

Sunday, 1st October 2017

0915

Session 6

Welcoming Speech by Elma Berisha

0930 

Forum: “Post-Islamism: Potential and Challenges

Prof. Robert W. Hefner, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Dr Zainal Abidin Bagir

Moderator: Ehsan Shahwahid

 1100 Discussions
1200 Lunch
1330 Conference Ends

 

Speakers’ Biographies

Professor Robert Hefner
Robert W. Hefner is professor of anthropology and director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University, where he served as associate director from 1986-2009. At CURA, he has directed the program on Islam and society since 1991; coordinated interdisciplinary educational programs on religion and world affairs; and is currently involved in research projects comparing responses to modern social change (“modernity”) in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Hefner has conducted research on Muslim culture, politics, and education since the mid-1980s, and on the comparative sociology/anthropology of world religions for the past thirty years. He has directed some 15 major research projects, and organized 11 international conferences. Recent projects have examined shari`a law and citizenship in eight Muslim majority countries (2008-2010); the culture and politics of Muslim education (2005-2007); the prospects for and the politics of civil democratic Muslim politics (2002-2004); and social resources for civility and participation in the deeply plural societies of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia (1999-2001). Hefner has authored or edited fifteen books, as well as seven major policy reports for the U.S. government and private policy foundations. Five of his books have been translated into Indonesian. During 2009-2010, Hefner serves as the elected president of the Association for Asian Studies, the largest professional association for Asian studies in the world. During 2008-2009, he was invited by Stanford University and the National University of Singapore to be the first Lee Kong Chian Fellow in Southeast Asian Studies. Hefner was also invited to be editor for the sixth volume of the forthcoming New Cambridge History of Islam, Muslims and Modernity: Society and Culture since 1800. He has also served as member of the advisory committee to two SSRC projects, the “Religious Lives of Migrant Minorities” and “Religion in International Relations”; as an advisor to a project on “religionification” in Southeast Asia at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (2009-2010); and as an invited Senior Professor in the Summer Graduate Program on Religion, Culture, and Society at the University Centre-St. Ignatius, University of Antwerp, Belgium (2007-2009).

Professor Syed Farid Alatas
Syed Farid Alatas, is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He also headed the Department of Malay Studies at NUS from 2007 to 2013. He lectured at the University of Malaya in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies prior to joining NUS. His areas of interest are historical sociology, the sociology of social science, the sociology of religion and inter-religious dialogue. Among his recent books are Alternative Discourse in Asian Social Science: Responses to Eurocentrism (Sage, 2006), Ibn Khaldun and few others. He is the Academic Advisory Board for the Asia West East Institute.

Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir
Zainal Abidin Bagir, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), a Master’s program at the Graduate School of Gadjah Mada University (GMU), Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He is also a member of the Board of Trustee of Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS-Yogya), representing GMU. In 2009, he was appointed as Indonesian Associate for UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific (associated with the Chair at Monash University, Australia). Zainal received his doctorate in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University. His previous education includes undergraduate in mathematics (Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia, 1992) and Master’s program in Islamic philosophy and science (International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, ISTAC, Kuala Lumpur, 1994). He is currently the Indonesian Regional Coordinator for the Pluralism Knowledge Programme, a collaboration between four academic centers in Netherlands, India, Indonesia and Uganda. The program includes coordinating three local researches and initiating the publication of Annual Report on Religious Life in Indonesia since 2008. Recently he led a research (2008-2009) on four decades of discourse and practice of inter-religious dialogue in Indonesia. At CRCS he teaches Academic Study of Religion, Philosophy of Religion, and Religion, Science and Technology. At the Philosophy Department of GMU he teaches philosophy of science and of technology. He conducts research and writes on subjects related to religion and contemporary issues, with special attention to religion and science and to the Muslim world, and issues on the relation between religious communities.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad
Dzulkefly Ahmad
is the Strategy Director of Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH), an Islamist Democrat and former MP for Kuala Selangor. He was a trained Toxicologist from the Imperial College, UK. He has alos authored Striving For Change (The Blindspot Series) and Najibnomics: Rahmat Atau Malapetaka?. Dr Dzulkefly was a former Director for PAS Research Center and an executive member for PAS. He is a prominent Islamist leader that promotes Islamist Democrat agenda even while in PAS before.




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