Symposium on Countering Violent Extremism

November 28, 2014

Date: Saturday 6 December 2014
Time: 9 AM – 5PM
Venue: Studio R, Renaissance Hotel, KL


Islamism is thought to be a product of the failure of authoritarian nationalist governments and the socio-economic imbalance that has been exacerbated by neo-liberal globalization. Many Islamists see the evil forces supplanting true Muslim religious and cultural values via military and cultural invasions. In addition to the military and cultural invasions, the harsh treatment of the ulama and activists at the hands of the regimes has been another factor in the production of extreme ideas and writings.

While many analysts view this phenomenon as a new trend in Islamism, which is basically a reaction to modernism; a careful analyses of the traditional Islamist texts would probably view this movement as a new wave in an old continuum. Thus contemporary Islamic fundamentalism is perhaps not a new phenomenon but one that has deep roots in the writings of traditional Islamists and in the experiences that both traditionalists and Muslim communities have encountered throughout history.

It is clear that fundamentalism leads to the reductionist view in understanding Islam due to the rigid and literal interpretation of the texts. And the fundamentalists have displayed a terrifying face of Islam mainly by exerting an aggressive agenda for the politicization of religion to achieve certain objectives. Religious symbols have been used to pursue political agenda. Therefore it is imperative to distinguish Islam as a belief and cultural system and Islam as a tool to exert political legitimacy and hegemony.

This symposium will try to bring about the debate on the roots of fundamentalism and the factors that contributed to the spread of fundamentalist ideas. It will also discuss on the remedy to stop the spread of fundamentalist doctrine and the efforts that could be done to mitigate religious extremism.



Saturday, Dec 6

0900-0930:  Registration
0930-0940:  Welcoming speech by the Chairperson, Dr Julia Sveshnikova
0940-1000:  Opening speech by YB Zairil Khir Johari, Executive Director of Penang Institute
1000-1200:  Seminar on “Dissecting the Roots of Violent Radicalization”, Panelists: Prof Ebrahim Moosa, Dr Syed Farid Alatas, Moderator: Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa
1200-1300:  Workshop
1300-1430:  Lunch
1430-1630:  Seminar on “Mitigating Religious Extremism”, Panelists: Prof Ebrahim Moosa, Dr Syed Farid Alatas, Moderator: Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa
1630-1700:  Resolution
1700:             Tea


Organized by: Islamic Renaissance Front & Penang Institute