Since 2014, IHRC has organised an annual conference in the UK to discuss key issues with regard to structural and institutionalised Islamophobia. Each conference has been co-organised with Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC). Join us for the 10th annual conference this December, online and in-person.
Dates and times:
This year’s conference will bring together experts in the field over the course of three days for online and in-person discussions:
- Friday 8 December: Plenary with Professor Joseph Massad, 18:30 GMT, IHRC Bookshop (fully booked) and online (Facebook, YouTube and IHRC.TV)
- Saturday 9 December: Panel 1 and 2, 10:30 to 16:30 GMT, P21 Gallery (Chalton St, London NW1 1JD) – book tickets here or watch online
- Plenary 1: Islam and liberalism
- Panel 1: The Culture Spectrum: From the Hijab ban to the Muslim ban
- Panel 2: Left or Right: What is the Muslim Perspective?
- Plenary 2
- Panel 3: Digital Culture Wars
- Panel 4: To Engage or Disengage: The Liberalists, The Conservative, and the Muslim
Professor Joseph Massad, Sandew Hira, Jasmin Zine, Ilan Pappé, Sadek Hamid, Nargess Moballeghi, and others.
About the conference:
Today, the term “culture war” is commonly used to describe the political and social divisions within society. These divisions can stem from various issues, such as race, abortion, gun control, gender, and same-sex marriage. The “culture” being contested consists of religious, political, social, and ideological beliefs, serving as the battleground where different groups vie for control over societal values and norms.
These conflicts manifest in multiple spheres, including politics, education, media, and entertainment. Participants in culture wars engage in heated debates, lobbying, activism, and legal battles in an effort to shape societal norms and values based on their own perspectives. Modern culture wars expose deep divisions within our society and carry significant implications for social cohesion, political discourse, and public policy. They have the power to shape public opinion, electoral outcomes, and the overall trajectory of a society’s cultural development.
Unfortunately, these arguments often become emotionally charged and are driven by political agendas that prioritize protecting vested interests rather than seeking truth or justice. Partisanship dominates policy discussions, with each group striving to shape the world according to its own image.
Muslims have frequently found themselves at the centre of these debates. They are either objectified and vilified to further racist policies or positioned as subjects whose presence in national discourse fuels Islamophobic narratives. Muslims are often unable to participate in the discourse as equals and are consistently portrayed as a perpetual “other” and a potential threat.
This lack of an equal voice has led to internal divisions among Muslims regarding the way forward. Should they align themselves with groups whose views historically conflict with Muslim beliefs, or should they assert an identity that is overtly Islamic, rejecting all things Western before Western society rejects them? The result has been confusion and discord among Muslims who are striving to be heard and participate in their respective societies.
How can Muslims transcend these culture wars? Should they reject alliances with groups they disagree with, or is there room for limited cooperation? Should they vigorously assert their identity or strive to make their voice one among many legitimate voices in a pluralistic society? Alternatively, should they recognize that these culture wars represent the struggles of a declining civilization, attempting to maintain dominance in an emerging multi-polar world?
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