Radio interview on Muslim identity in religiously diverse societies
3 December 2013
MnM Senior Research Fellow Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir was interviewed on SBS Radio (broadcast on 1 December 2013) on Muslim identity and understanding of Islam in non-Muslim host countries. Dr Kabir stated that Muslim youth in Australia can face fundamental challenges as they form both Muslim and Australian identities. She also said that the education levels of Muslim Australians are high when compared to some other migrant communities, but they are not yet adequately represented in the higher tiers of business and politics.
Read the transcript
Listen to the podcast
Nahid has also been on SBS Radio recently discussing whether young Australian Muslims have to choose between being Muslim and being Australian.
Transcript and link to podcast
Emptying the battle zone: symposium explores Australia’s longest war
Media release, University of South Australia, 12 November 2013
As Australian troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, researchers from around the country will meet in Adelaide this week to evaluate Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan and the subsequent impact of its military withdrawal.
Hosted by the University of South Australia’s International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding (MnM) and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), the symposium will explore a number of key issues including Australia’s security and strategic goals in Afghanistan, the impact of Australia’s withdrawal and the ongoing instability in the South Asia region.
A number of experts will deliver presentations, including keynote addresses by Professor William Maley, Director of the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University’s (ANU) College of Asia and the Pacific, Professor Amin Saikal, Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the ANU, and His Excellency Mr Nasir Ahmad Andisha, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Fiji.
One of Australia’s leading commentators on the conflict in Afghanistan, UniSA PhD candidate Raspal Khosa will also present, arguing that in the rush to remove military forces and civilian staff from Afghanistan Australia and the wider international coalition risk losing hard won gains from the military campaign which has lasted more than a decade.
'The focus now is on "rapidly emptying the battlespace" and an accelerated "Afghanisation" of the counter-insurgency campaigns and retrograde operations, which up until now have been run by international coalition forces in conjunction with Afghan National Army', Mr Khosa says.
'It is important at this point to re-examine the strategic rationale for Australia's involvement in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission.
'We need to consider the mechanisms and structural approaches that have emerged to manage such a complex and resource-intensive intervention and how this will continue to operate in Afghanistan after significant support from ISAF is withdrawn.'
Pro Vice Chancellor for UniSA's Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, says the symposium brings together leaders from the defence industry and academia to create a dialogue that will inform the national research agenda post-2014.
'The conflict in Afghanistan is one of the most pressing issues of our time', Prof Ahluwalia says.
'For Australia, this has meant the longest ongoing military commitment and civil-military engagement we have ever been involved in. The impact of our withdrawal will be felt in Afghanistan – a country facing an enormous period of economic and political change – and at home, where we are not sheltered from the regional instability in South Asia.
'The symposium this week will combine operations analysis expertise with academic research to develop solutions for important issues such as our country's strategic military operations. It will contribute to shaping future directions for the national research community.'
The symposium 'Australia and Afghanistan post-2014: securitisation and its impact' will be held on 14–15 November at UniSA's City West campus.
Rosanna Galvin: office (08) 8302 0578, mobile 0434 603 457, email firstname.lastname@example.org
PhD scholarships in the MnM Centre
PhD scholarships are available for students wishing to undertake research within the field of critical Muslim studies, working with a diverse and dynamic team of international and interdisciplinary scholars. The PhD scholarships provide a stipend of $30,000 annually and a thesis allowance of $840. For international students, the fees applicable as well as Overseas Student Health Cover would be covered as well.
Australia and Afghanistan post-2014: securitisation and its impact
14–15 November 2013, 9 am – 5 pm
Room 3, Level 6, Hawke Building, City West Campus
Register via email: MnM-Centre@unisa.edu.au by 31 October
A joint symposium hosted by the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
In 2014 Australian troops in Afghanistan will complete their current mission and return home. This symposium seeks to evaluate Australia’s role in Afghanistan and the subsequent impact of its military withdrawal.
- Professor William Maley, AM FASSA, Director, Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy,
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Canberra
- Professor Amin Saikal, AM, Professor of Political Science and Director Centre for
Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East and Central Asia), Australian National
- His Excellency Mr Nasir Ahmad Andisha, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Fiji.
And presentations from Professor Michele Grossman (Victoria University), Dr Albert Palazzo (Australian Army’s Land Warfare Studies Centre), Professor Pal Ahluwalia (UniSA), Dr Katerina Agostino (DSTO), Dr David Matthews (DSTO), and Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir (UniSA).
Printable flyer (PDF 225 kb)
MnM Centre slams violent preaching
22 August 2013
In a UniSA media release MnM Centre Director Professor Pal Ahluwalia has slammed the preaching of former Adelaide Sheikh Sharif Hussein as completely unrepresentative of Islamic teachings. 'The radical views of an individual should never be seen as representative of the many', Prof Ahluwalia says. 'The Sheikh has done his Muslim brothers and sisters no favours by preaching hate.' ... Prof Ahluwalia says it is only through knowledge and education that real understanding can be achieved.
> Read the media release
The paradox of liberation and religion
Annual conference of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions, presented jointly with the MnM Centre
2–4 October 2013, Bradley Forum, Hawke Building, City West Campus
The relationships between religion and society and religion and the individual are multivalent. Religion can be mobilised as a source of empowerment, whilst at the same time curtailing individual and social freedom. Religion can also be a source of power over individual and collective spheres. The institutionalisation of religion within state apparatus can result in the extension of religious freedoms to some, and the oppression of others.
Plenary sessions included:
- Toni Tidswell, Curtin University, 'Community-based violence against Muslim women: a non-Muslim woman's response'
- John D’Arcy May TCD, ACU, MCD, Monash, 'Time and history as parameters of liberation: some indications from Levinas and Nāgārjuna'
- Gary Bouma, Monash, 'Religion and sex: marriage equality and the attempt to regulate intimacy'
- Chris Hartney, Roland Boer, Marion Maddox, Geoffrey Boucher, 'Religion and political thought: paradox or liberation'
- Charles Strong Trust Lecture: Betty Pike, writer-in-residence at Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Melbourne and Robyn Reynolds, Yarra Theological Union, Melbourne, 'A far cry: resounding call for all Australians'.
7 August 2013
Staff and students of the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding wish our MnM Muslim colleagues and friends a very happy Eid.
Reviews of books by Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir
6 August 2013
A review of Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir's latest book (Young American Muslims: dynamics of identity) has been published in the LSE Review of Books.
Her previous book (Young British Muslims: identity, culture, politics and the media) has also been reviewed in the LSE Review of Books.
25 June 2013
Staff and students of the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding extend their best wishes to our colleagues and friends for the holy month of Ramadan, 9 July to 7 August 2013.
Urban dwellers and the changing city
Knowledge Works public lecture by Prof AbdouMaliq Simone,
30 May 2013, Hawke Building, City West Campus
Steal away, steal away home, I ain’t got long to stay here.
Many of today’s urban dwellers often face sorrow with the loss of their homes, work and everyday life. Similar to the plantations that used African slaves, the spread of contemporary mega-developments continues to expand standardised social and economical interactions without really changing their form or function. At the same time, efforts made by residents in major cities of the world, such as Sao Paolo, Jakarta, Mexico City or Delhi, reveal what the city has largely been all along – a place where materials can be taken out of their usual contexts, uses and meanings, then pieced together to produce unforeseen and not readily controllable outcomes.
Through this Knowledge Works lecture Prof AbdouMaliq Simone examined the urban processes of various modern cities highlighting how they function and how they create specific ways of existing, thinking, seeing, claiming, affecting, informing and making that are bound to no one, yet bind everyone.
Sorrow thus becomes the tactic: belong nowhere and everywhere.
Prof AbdouMaliq Simone is an urbanist with a particular interest in emerging forms of social and economic intersection across diverse trajectories of change for cities in the global South. Presently he is Research Professor at the University of South Australia’s International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, Research Associate at the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society, Oxford University, and Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town.
Professor Simone’s key publications include In whose image: political Islam and urban practices in Sudan (University of Chicago Press, 1994), For the city yet to come: urban change in four African cities (Duke University Press, 2004), and City life from Jakarta to Dakar: movements at the crossroads (Routledge, 2009).
Lecture in Bangladesh on Muslims in Australia
28 May 2013
On 25 May 2013 Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir delivered a lecture on Muslims in Australia at the Anthropology Department, Brac University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Nahid spoke about the presence of Muslims in Australia from a historical perspective to the present day. During the discussion following the lecture, the questions mainly focused on whether the wider Australian society puts subtle pressure on minorities to assimilate, even in this multicultural period. Or, if the emphasis is on integration, to what extent do Muslims in Australia integrate compared to those in Europe. Dr Kabir responded that the Muslim question exists in Europe, America and Australia but her research shows that there is less controversy surrounding Muslims in Australia compared to other countries.
Islam, the Koran, peace and terrorism
28 May 2013
For a discussion of a contextualised reading of the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed on terrorism and killing, read Mohamad Abdalla, 'Critical opinion of Islam ignores the fundamental truths', Sydney Morning Herald, 28 May 2013.
Gender segregation and listening to Muslim women
7 May 2013
Gender-segregated seating at a lecture at the University of Melbourne organised by an Islamic group has provoked debate among politicians, university staff and the Muslim community. Yassir Morsi argues that the would-be saviours of Muslim women also treat them as silent subjects. They have not listened to the voices of the women they wish to save. Read Yassir's Overland article. And his Right Now article.
Islamophobia in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings
30 April 2013
MnM Research Fellow Dr Chloe Patton wrote an opinion piece on the aftermath of the Boston bombings which was published in The Conversation on 25 April. She argued that, while there have been fewer violent reprisals against Muslims than there were after 9/11, the US 'Islamophobia industry' has still been hard at work spreading misinformation and promoting fear.
Chloe's article was reprinted by the ABC, SBS and openDemocracy.
Interview on ABC Canberra Local Radio
16 April 2013
On 12 April 2013 Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir was interviewed on ABC Canberra Local Radio on the history of Muslims in Australia. The interview was timed to tie in with the Canberra Islamic Centre's celebration of the centennary of Canberra on 13 April, at which Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir was the guest speaker. The event was opened by the Honourable Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport and Minister for Multicultural Affairs.
MnM Centre welcomes Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
2 April 2013
On 22 March 2013 the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding had the honour of welcoming the renowned Pakistani public scholar and educationist Javed Ahmad Ghamidi for discussion over lunch in anticipation of a talk he delivered that evening. Staff and students asked Mr Ghamidi for his insights on a number of current issues relating to Pakistan and the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Mr Ghamidi spoke about the politico-religious situation in Pakistan, the upcoming elections and his hopes and aspirations for the future of the nation.
The MnM Centre looks forward to fostering greater connections with thinkers from the Muslim world in order to enhance understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, as well as opening spaces for dialogue within the Muslim world.
Call for papers
Australian Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference
19 March 2013
The Australian Association for the Study of Religions and the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding invite you to the 2013 AASR annual conference. The conference theme is 'The Paradox of Liberation and Religion'. The conference will be held at City West Campus, University of South Australia, on 2–4 October 2013.
The relationships between religion and society and religion and the individual are multivalent. Religion can be mobilised as a source of empowerment, whilst at the same time curtailing individual and social freedom. For example, Muslim dress is often typecast in the West as a symbol of oppression of individual freedoms, while the veil can be imbued with notions of political, social and spiritual liberation. Religion can also be a source of power over individual and collective spheres. The institutionalisation of religion within state apparatus can result in the extension of religious freedoms to some, and the oppression of others. We invite speakers from a broad range of disciplines to engage with the paradoxes of liberation and religion in their various formations.
Submit proposals for papers and panels by 31 July 2013.
Call for papers (PDF 708 kb)
Profile of Dr Uzma Jamil on Canadian website
5 February 2013
Read the profile of MnM Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Uzma Jamil on the website of TSAS, the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society.
New professor for MnM centre
21 January 2013
The MnM Centre welcomes Professor AbdouMaliq Simone. Professor Simone was previously a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research centres on urbanism, critical geography, sociologies of religion, social organisations, development processes, African politics and popular urban cultures. He is also an Honorary Professor at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, and Research Associate, Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society, at the University of Oxford.
We look forward to Professor Simone playing a vital role in the future development of the MnM Centre.
Critical Muslim studies: decolonial struggles, theology of liberation and Islamic revival
Granada, Spain, 10–21 June 2013
This international summer school aimed to open space for the analysis and investigation of Islam not only as a spiritual tradition, but also as an epistemic decolonial perspective that offers contributions and responses to the problems that humanity faces today. The summer school was held in the city of Granada, Spain – a historic and symbolic site of Islamic civilisation and one of the major centres of Al-Andalus, Islamic Spain. The course was offered through the Center for the Study of Intercultural Dialogues, in collaboration with the Ethnic Studies Program at UC Berkeley.
Affiliated faculty included internationally recognised scholars in fields such as Islamic studies and ethnic studies: Tariq Ramadan, Asma Lamrabet, Ella Shohat, Samia Bano, Mukhtar H Ali, Arzu Merali, Ramon Grosfoguel, Hatem Bazian, Abdennur Prado, Sirin Adlbi Sibai, Asma Barlas, Houria Bouteldja, Arun Rasiah, Nadia Fadil, Santiago Slabodsky. The course covered topics such as an introduction to critical Muslim studies, Islamic theology of liberation, Islamic decolonial pedagogy, inter-faith dialogues, women and Islam, and Islamic spirituality.