Reading Session on “Salafism: An Intellectual Crisis of the Muslim Ummah?” with Iyad al-Baghdadi

December 10, 2018

Date: Sunday, 16th December 2018
Time: 5PM – 7PM
Venue: Graha Pemuda, Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur


There is a real crisis of values among Muslims today. “Islam” means very different things for different Muslims. Some Muslims can be among the most violent and hateful people in the world, and cite Islam as their inspiration. Meanwhile, some Muslims can be among the kindest and most compassionate people in the world, and also cite Islam as their inspiration. How can this be?

Iyad El-Baghdadi argues that the answer lies in how Muslims today approach their religious texts. We bring with us some unspoken assumptions that impact and restrict our understanding. He argues that these assumptions come from Salafism having “won” at a foundational level. Muslims today, whether they call themselves Salafi or not, are deeply impacted by Salafism in the way they approach Islamic knowledge.

In this event, we’ll take a look at our “crisis of values” at a foundational level. How do we even approach Islam? What assumptions do we have in our approach to Islamic scripture and tradition? How do we regain a place for reason and conscience at the center of our religious life? Can we move towards an Islam which emphasizes values over rules, instead of emphasizing rules over values?


About the Author
Iyad El-Baghdadi is a Muslim intellectual, writer, and activist based in Oslo, Norway. He is founder and president of the Kawaakibi Center, a startup think tank that publishes the websites “The Arab Tyrant Manual” and “Islam & Liberty”. He is a fellow at Civita, Norway’s leading liberal think tank; and also sits on the board of The Munathara Initiative, the Arab world’s leading society-run debate platform & TV show. He is an outspoken critic of both Islamic movements and secular dictatorships, and has set himself apart from many other activists through his use of humor and sarcasm. His first book “The Vicious Triangle: Terrorists, Tyrants, and the West” is due for release later this year.


500-510PM:    Introduction by the Chairperson, Elma Berisha
510-600PM:    Presentation by Br Iyad al-Baghdadi
600-700PM:    Discussion
700-800PM:    Solat and Dinner

Jointly Organized by: Islamic Renaissance Front and Islam and Liberty Network

Islam and Liberty Network is a platform for researchers, academics and public intellectuals with the mission to “explore and promote a Muslim case for freedom” through creating knowledge and developing human resources. It is registered as a foundation in Malaysia and is governed by an international board of directors.