Promoting an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of
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List of Study sessions in 2007
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Spiritual Transformation in Daily Life by means of Remembrance Gratitude and Love by Dr.Alan A. Godlas, 4 August 2007

  • A few of SIS members recently attended an enlightening session on spiritual transformation with Dr Alan A. Godlas , and he has graciously accepted our invitation to have a discussion at our office. You may find his work as detailed in his biography below to be very interesting. Thus, although this invitation may come at a very short notice, we hope you'll not miss the opportunity to meet him.
  • Dr. ALAN GODLAS is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Georgia. He is the director of the UGA Virtual Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the Islamic World (VCISIW) and is the Co-Director of the UGA-Morocco Maymester program. At UGA he teaches Islamic Studies and Arabic courses (and sometimes Persian and Ottoman Turkish) as well as a survey course on the world's religions. Dr. Godlas is on the steering committee for the UGA Center for Asian Studies, and he is also a member of the Linguistics faculty, the Medieval Studies Program (link fixed 20 August, 2005), and the African Studies Program.


The Legalism and Symbolism of Islamic Law- An Examination of Syariah as Law and Symbol of Political Identity
by Dr. Anver Emon, 9 July 2007

  • It is interesting to hear from Dr Emon about how Muslim jurists constructed rights traditions, by using a comparative approach to define "right" in a thin, legalistic fashion, and present an argument to translate the term conceptually into the Islamic legal framework. Dr Emon also explained on the way Syariah has been used as both: for rule of law, and political symbol of identity. Examples are drawn from Pope's Regensberg speech, the Danish cartoons controversy, and the Afghan apostate case to show how all sides to the debate used Islamic Law in ways that do not use Syariah as a rule of law system.
  • Dr. ANVER M. EMON is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, specializing in Islamic Law and teaching first-year torts at the University of Toronto. He is also cross appointed to the Centre for the Study of Religion. Anver's research focuses in on medieval and modern Islamic legal theory and history. His general academic interests include law and religion, legal history (medieval European and Islamic), and legal philosophy. His current research project concerns the Islamic legal philosophical traditions and the treatment of non-Muslims under Islamic law. He is called to the California State Bar. He has published articles on topics such as Islamic Constitutionalism, Islam and democracy, and the more recent on natural law and natural rights in Islamic law. Currently he sits on the board of the Journal of Law and Religion.


Rainbow Feminisms of a women on many different Faiths by Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung, 8 June 2007

  • Dr. Chung talked about her knowledge and struggle as a Buddhist-Christian eco Feminist theologian with us. In her discussion, she elaborated in depth about her effort to transform what has been term as "Clash of Civilization" to " Dialogue of Civilizations" among women of different faiths including secular humanist. Dr. Chung also talked about historical maps and developments of various feminist theologies in Christianity and Buddhism.
  • Assoc. Prof. CHUNG HYUB KYUNG, graduated from Ewha Women's University in Seoul with the B.A. (1979) and the M.A. (1981). She holds the M.Div. from the School of Theology at Claremont (1984), a diploma from the Women's Theological Center in Boston (1984), and the Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary (1989). She is a lay theologian of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, as well as once having become a temporary Buddhist novice nun. In 1999, she lived for a year in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas studying mediation. Now she is in the process of becoming a dharma teacher at the Kwan Eum Zen School in New York City. She first came to international attention in 1991, when she made a now famous speech– a feminist/Asian/ Third World interpretation of the Holy Spirit–at the World Council of Churches in Canberra, Australia. She defines herself as a "salimist" (Korean Eco-feminist) from the Korean word "salim," which means "making things alive."


Islam, Culture, Place: Some observations by a writer and anthropologist
by Camilla Gibb, 17 January 2007

  • Ms Camilla Gibb talked about her latest successful novel Sweetness in the Belly (combination of history and fiction) which is told from the perspective of Ethiopian Muslims living as refugees in London, England. The novel is based on her work as an anthropologist in Ethiopia, Canada and England, and explores some of the challenges one faces as a Muslim in a non-Muslim land.  The book gives a sensitive account of an Ethiopian Muslim woman who lives in exile in the UK. Apart from touching on the existing prejudices and human rights issues, Ms Gibb also highlighted the commonalities amongst people which transcend religion and culture.
  • CAMILLA GIBB was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She completed her Ph.D. in social anthropology at Oxford University in 1997, and spent two years at the University of Toronto as a post-doctoral research fellow before becoming a full-time writer. She is also an expert on the Middle East and writes on Human Rights issues. She is the author of three novels, including Mouthing the Words: winner the City of Toronto Book Award in 2000; and Sweetness in the Belly: short listed for Canada’s most prestigious award, the Giller Prize, winner of the Ontario Trillium Award, and currently long listed for the 2007 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


Chinese Muslims in Malaysia - History and Challenges
by Rosey Ma, 8 February 2007

  • How much do we know about the history of Islam in China? Is it true that the first Arab/Persian/Turkish Muslims became a Chinese ethnic group in China? How much do we know about the presence and influence of Chinese Muslims in the South East Asia? In Malaysia? Are all of them Muslim converts? How does one define the Chinese Muslim in Malaysia today?
  • ROSEY WANG MA is an independent academic researcher and writer on various aspects of Chinese Muslims communities, to share her knowledge, views and experience with us. Of HUI parentage herself, she was raised in Pakistan and Turkey. She was a French language lecturer for more than twenty years before taking up a career in Education Counselling. She still conducts education training programmes. At the moment she is pursuing doctorate studies at ATMA, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.


"Understanding the Nature of Religious Hate Discourse: Why Context Matters in the Working of Conspiracy Theories"
by Dr.Farish A.Noor, 7 January 2007

  • When addressing the question of 'Who speaks for Islam?' the question can also be posed otherwise: It is not so much the case of who speaks for Islam, but rather who is listened to. Why have some voices become more dominant and why have others been sidelined or silenced? Does this have more to do with the subject -position of the speakers themselves and how they are seen in the wider public context? In the Muslim world today the struggle for discursive legitimacy and the right to speak on Islamic issues is defined not only by access to knowledge and information, but also by the subject-position of the speakers/authors themselves. Much of the ground-setting that goes into the articulation of religio-political discourse is and has been configured by external variable factors including the relationship between the speakers themselves and their relations to power and the constellation of power on a domestic and international level. We therefore need to look at how the configuration of power-relations helps as well as inhibits the freedom to speak on Islam and determines the validity/authenticity of what is being transmitted by those who engage in debates on religious issues. In this light, conspiracy theories - including claims of collusion, co-optation and partisanship - have an immediate effect on those who wish to engage in the debate on the norms and praxis of popular religiosity today.
  • DR. FARISH A. NOOR is a Malaysian political scientist, historian and human rights activist who has been researching the phenomenon of political Islam and transnational religio-political networks across the Indian Ocean .. He was a researcher at the Centre for Modern Orient Studies, Berlin , and a fellow at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia , and the Institute for Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), UKM. He has taught at the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, Universiti Malaya, and the Institute for Islamic Studies, Freie University of Berlin. He is the author of Islam Embedded: The Historical Development of PAS 1951-2003 (MSRI, 2004) and New Voices of Islam (ISIM, 2002). He used to write a column entitled Crosscurrents in the New Straits Times , The Other Side in Sin Chew Jit Poh and The Other Malaysia on Internet daily Malaysiakini. He is currently based at the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin , Germany .

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