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Some of my best friends are anti-racists: from revealing racism to exploring conviviality

An MnM public lecture by Prof Greg Noble

10 April 2014

10 am – 12 pm, Room GK2-15, Sir George Kingston Building, City West Campus
Registration essential by 4 April:
Enquiries: (08) 8302 9120 or

This paper explores what the current interest in ‘conviviality’ might add to an analysis of life in culturally diverse societies. In contrast to the ‘panicked’ discourse that dominates public debate around multiculturalism, and the preoccupation in much academic work with the task of ‘revealing racism’, this paper grapples with the ways cultural differences are transacted in daily conduct. It argues that we need to focus on the habituated capacities which people develop for negotiating cultural differences, what we might call the ‘civic virtues’ of mundane, intercultural life. Although habit has been a central theme for understanding racism and the formation of national identities, it has rarely been used to think about the routine practices through which people acquire the embodied capacities for living with others. Conviviality is not to be understood as the erasure of conflict nor the simplistic celebration of ‘multicultural love’, but the ‘everyday diplomacy’ employed in negotiating a world of strangers. Drawing on ethnographic work on suburban cosmopolitanism, it argues that central to this are practices of cooperative labour found in urban life and their temporal and spatial dimensions. The paper suggests we need to reorientate research towards an analysis of the pedagogic dimensions of the habits of urban living.

Greg Noble is a Professor in the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney. Greg has been involved in research in multiculturalism for twenty-five years and has written widely on the experiences of Lebanese-background youth in Australia and the intersection of ethnicity, gender and class. His publications include Cultures of schooling (1990/2012), Kebabs, kids, cops and crime (2000), Bin Laden in the suburbs (2004), Lines in the sand (2009), On being Lebanese in Australia (2010) and Disposed to learn (2013). He has also produced reports for the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.

"White-washed I": a visit to the Islamic Museum of Australia

Yassir Morsi had an opinion piece published in the Australian Muslim Times, 2 April 2014:

On its webpage the museum declares itself a 'vanguard of interactive and participatory experiences'. It calls visitors to enter, to discover, to 'unravel' and to 'desypher' and yet the webpage (like the museum) only unravels a use of symbols from our multicultural dictionary: sharing, mutual, understanding, and on and on. Words that are as artistic and as rusted as the museum’s Corten veil that punctures the entry with a spray of holes; and so too, unfortunately, the museum 'story' of Muslims in multicultural Australia is riddled with gaps.

Despite the promise there is no emphasis on our 'Australian Islamic context', and there is no resisting of 'the temptation to orientalise the project'. We are an 'ideal' other whose exotic achievements are listed hopefully for approval and whose religious entrails are squiggled into a seductive calligraphy that all awaits the oohing appreciation of the observing white gaze.

Read the article

Sovereign debt

An MnM Centre public lecture by Dr Maria Giannacopoulos

27 March 2014

City West Campus

What does it mean for a sovereign nation to be in ‘debt’? What does it mean to be ‘sovereign’ in the context of debt? Which debts must be paid and which debts can be disavowed? What is the role of law in making some debt visible and payable, and other debt invisible and denied? How does the demand that economic debt be paid undo and transform the dimensions of national sovereignty? Do colonial structures underpin both visible and invisible debt scenarios? Focused around these questions, this research theorises debt in cultural, racial and critical legal terms in order to bring otherwise distinct debt scenarios into dialogue. I will interconnect the effaced debt scenarios of colonial Australia with austerity measures in Southern Europe, to examine contemporary questions of justice, sovereignty and colonial ordering.

Dr Maria Giannacopoulos is Senior Lecturer in Law at Flinders University, South Australia.
Since joining Flinders Law School in 2011, Maria has been teaching in both socio-legal studies and criminal justice. She holds a double Honours degree in law and English literature and a PhD in cultural studies. Her research is interdisciplinary and primarily focuses on the complex relationship between law, justice and sovereignty with a specific emphasis on racialised communities (Aboriginal peoples, refugees and migrants) in Australia. In addition to this, she is exploring the impact of sovereign debt on notions of democracy and national sovereignty in the context of contemporary debt ‘crises’ in Europe.

Muslim transformations: identity, politics, society

An MnM Centre public lecture by Assoc Prof Halim Rane and Dr Stéphane Lathion

6 March 2014, City West Campus

Current trends in political Islam

Assoc Prof Halim Rane explained the evolution of Islamic political identity over the past 50 years including the key internal and external factors that have contributed to the emergence of a second generation of Islamic-oriented political parties. He examined the characteristics that distinguish second generation Islamic-oriented political parties from the first and their implications for political Islam. He also explained the role of maqsid (higher objectives) in respect to its development within the context of political Islam and potential impact on Muslim identity and Islam–West relations.

Halim RaneAssoc Prof Halim Rane is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Griffith University where he is the Deputy Head (Learning & Teaching) of the School of Humanities. He has authored numerous journal articles and four books on Islamic and Muslim issues including Reconstructing jihad amid competing international norms; Islam and contemporary civilisation: evolving ideas, transforming relations; Making Australian foreign policy on Israel-Palestine: media coverage, public opinion and interest groups; and Media framing of the Muslim world: crises, conflicts and contexts (co-authored with J Ewart and J Martinkus).

Muslim transformation

Dr Stéphane Lathion began by addressing the transformation of the Muslim presence within European societies, such as the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. He then focused on issues of visibility (veil, minaret, cementery ...). He explored some of the challenges and issues presented by coexistence, including themes such as fears and threats, religious rights and obligations, suspicion and radicalism, economic discrimination and political representation. However, he also focused on Muslim responsibilities in regards to the growing tensions all over Europe.

Stephane LathionDr Stéphane Lathion has been a lecturer at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and is the coordinator of the Research Group on Islam in Switzerland (GRIS). GRIS has strong links with the Religions Observatory in Switzerland (ORS) and Lausanne University. GRIS/ORS conducts research and analysis on Islam in Switzerland, and proposes training courses for social workers and professionals dealing with Muslim populations on topics associated with their day-to-day experiences. He is currently in a sabbatical year and is Adjunct Fellow at Religion and Society Research Centre (UWS). His publications include Muslims, a threat to the republic? (with O Bobineau), Islam and modernity: identities between city hall and mosque and The Swiss minaret ban: Islam in question (with P Haenni).

Appointment of MnM Director and Deputy Director

We are pleased to announce that Professor AbdouMaliq Simone has been appointed Director of the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding. An outstanding academic, Professor Simone will bring enormous intellectual vibrancy to the centre through his leadership, and centre staff are excited to see the directions in which Professor Simone will take the centre.

Professor Simone will be supported in his leadership by Associate Professor Thomas Mical as Deputy Director. Associate Professor Mical is widely respected for his innovative and creative scholarship and for his collaborative manner. He will be an absolute asset to the centre.

The ideological origins and imagery of the secular right in Israel (the Likud political party) and their implications on the peace process

A public lecture by Dr Shahar Burla

11 February 2014, City West Campus

In Israel's current political reality, an understanding of the language, metaphors, ideological and historical background of the secular right provides an insight into the framework and boundaries of a possible peace agreement. Zeev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky was one of the most influential Zionist intellectuals; unlike many of his Zionist contempories, his theory, practices and political beliefs are still authoritative in both contemporary Israeli politics and the global Jewish Diaspora. Jabotinsky was the founding father of Revisionist Zionism, the antecedent of the Likud Party. He is accredited with introducing powerful imagery into the Zionist discourse, images that continue to shape Israeli politics today.

On one hand, Jabotinsky was a classical nineteenth-century liberal who placed the individual at the core of his political outlook and consequently employed liberal images to describe the centrality of the individual ('Every individual is a king'). On the other hand, Jabotinsky was also a hard-core nationalist, who like many other nationalists, used organic images to describe the nation state. This flexibility and richness has its genesis in the landscape of his political and social imagination. It is this understanding of the interaction between political imagination and human nature which gave – and continues to give – his theories an enhanced effectiveness and increased capacity to influence and mobilise; it gives his work its performative ability.

In the first half of the paper, I will introduce Jabotinsky’s ideological flexibility and explore some of the powerful Hebrew images that Jabotinsky introduced into the Zionist discourse, including images such as Kir Habarzel (The Iron Wall), the 'Five Memes', Hadar (glory/splendor) and Chad Ness (one banner). I will explore their origins and analyse the reasons for their success as a mobilisation agent in Israel and the Jewish Diaspora even today. In the second half of the paper, I will show the relevancy of those images to today's Israeli society and politics. In particular, I will try to examine the influence these images may have on the prospects of any future peace deal and their ability to create a narrative that will enable the rallying of the Israeli public towards an agreement.

Shahar Burla holds a master's degree in political science from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a PhD from Bar-Ilan University. His book, Political imagination in the Diaspora: the construction of a pro-Israeli narrative, was published in 2013. He currently lives in Sydney and is a researcher at the University of NSW as well as other academic institutions.

White Australian adoptive mothers’ understandings of birth cultures and families

Damien Riggs

A public lecture by Dr Damien Riggs

Date to be comfirmed

Enquiries: (08) 8302 9120 or

In this talk Damien will analyse interviews conducted with ten white Australian women who had undertaken intercountry adoption. He will begin with an overview of some of the ways in which issues of culture play out within discourses of intercountry adoption in general, and how this occurs specifically in Australian policy in regards to intercountry adoption. The subsequent analysis will highlight how the interviewees were in many ways inculcated in broader Australian discourses of intercountry adoption, as much as in some instances attempting to resist this. Damien will conclude by discussing whether or not it is possible for white adoptive mothers in Australia to avoid remaining complicit with marginalising accounts of adoptive children’s birth cultures and parents.

Damien Riggs is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and senior lecturer in social work at Flinders University, South Australia. He is the author of over 100 publications in the fields of critical race and whiteness studies, gender/sexuality studies, and family studies, including Priscilla, (white) queen of the desert: queer rights/race privilege (Peter Lang, 2006).

Islamophobia in British politics, news media and twitter

21 January 2014, City West Campus

The MnM Centre is pleased to announce this public lecture by visiting academic Dr Leon Moosavi, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Liverpool.

For further information about the lecture and to read a short biography about Dr Moosavi, please download this flyer.

Curriculum review: where did 'Judeo-Christian' come from?

13 January 2014

By Chloe Patton, University of South Australia

Education minister Christopher Pyne has copped it from the Left with both barrels for demanding that the Australian education curriculum teach students 'the significance of Judeo-Christian values to our institutions and way of life'. He did this in announcing his review into the national curriculum late last week.

Tasmanian education minister Nick McKim went so far as to accuse Pyne of launching a 'brainwashing and propaganda mission'.

While admittedly I don’t teach high school students, if I did, I would get them to have a look at how Australia’s national commitment to Judeo-Christian values has evolved over the years, shaping our institutions and way of life. The best place to start would surely be the Australian parliamentary library website.

By simply typing 'Judeo-Christian' into its wonderfully simple search tool, Australia’s youngsters will be no doubt regaled with stirring accounts of Australians founding a modern democracy on a shared commitment to a Judeo-Christian heritage, or valiantly fighting to defend Judeo-Christian values on the battlefield at Gallipoli.

The only problem is that they won’t. The term doesn’t even appear until 1974. Throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s it is used in only a handful of contexts without any apparent consistency in its meaning. In fact, the vast majority of the 855 results the search generates are dated from late 2001 onwards. Until September 11, it appears Australians didn’t give a fig about Judeo-Christian values.

The notion of a Judeo-Christian tradition is, in fact, borrowed from American public discourse. But even in the US, it is still a relatively recent idea. According to US researchers, the term only began to regularly appear during and after World War Two, when progressives sought an inclusive term that naturalised the incorporation of Jews into mainstream US society.

The political intent driving its use changed from one of inclusion to one of exclusion in the post-September 11 era, however, when it most often signified the perceived challenges of Islam and Muslims.

Even now, the term Judeo-Christian is used far more commonly in the US. As Monash academic Sue Collins has found, the term appeared 6418 times in North American newspapers between 2006 and 2013. By contrast, it was used only 765 times in all European newspapers, including the British print media, and 304 times in major Australian newspapers.

On close analysis of Australian use of the term, Collins finds that the 'Judeo' element is merely tacked on for political expedience:

The term has become a kind of shield for undeclared conservative interests which really want to privilege, and actually mean, the Christian tradition, but are conscious this would be politically counter-productive.

Kevin Donnelly, the conservative commentator and researcher appointed to review the national education curriculum, is a man partial to the term Judeo-Christian. He is a vocal critic of educational strategies designed to help students appreciate that there are multiple valid worldviews and perspectives.

Donnelly makes no bones about which perspectives he deems invalid. In 2011, he argued that Christians and Muslims do not accept the same values and beliefs, and expressed concerns about a booklet written by academics to help Australian teachers include Muslim perspectives in the classroom. He was upset that the book did not convey:

what some see as the inherently violent nature of the Koran, where devout Muslims are called on to carry out Jihad and to convert non-believers, and the destructive nature of what is termed dhimmis – where non-believers are forced to accept punitive taxation laws.

Christopher Pyne can dress it up in any way he likes, but the only historical significance Judeo-Christian values have in Australian public discourse is in post-9/11 conservative rhetoric.

Chloe Patton does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

MnM Awards announced

10 December 2013

The annual MnM Awards recognise the efforts of individuals and organisations, with any or no religious affiliation, that have done the most to improve understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia.

Heather KirkpatrickHobart filmmaker Heather Kirkpatrick was awarded the MnM Award 2013 in the individual category for her film Mary meets Mohammad, which documents the transition in one woman’s life from prejudice and mistrust to understanding and friendship. Through the key protagonists, Mary, an older Christian Australian woman, and Mohammad, a young Muslim asylum seeker in detention, we see an evolution of understanding built through conversation, kindness, patience and experience. The film comes with a study guide for use in Australian schools, providing an opportunity to enrich students’ understanding about the reasons why asylum seekers come to Australia and what it means to be Muslim.

The winner in the organisation category is the Muslim Women’s Association of South Australia. Established in 1993, the association has been working to improve understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities for 20 years. Outstanding programs run by the association include the You Will Achieve program, a special speaking circuit of Adelaide schools that aims to build understanding and inspire achievement. This association also works within the community to support families, runs conferences around key issues of misunderstanding including Sharia law, and works to debunk stereotypes about Muslim women.

Read more

Book launch for women of Afghanistan

10 December 2013

MnM Senior Research Fellow Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir was invited by the South Australian branch of the Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan to launch their book Two trees: Australian artists’ books to Afghanistan and back, edited by Gali Weiss, Barbara Kameniar and Matthias Tomczak. The book was launched at the Kerry Packer Gallery, UniSA on 10 September. It was the culmination of a project that engaged Australian artists and Afghan women to express their solidarity through art, narratives and poetry.

The Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan invited Australian artists to prepare concertina booklets featuring their artwork. Afghan women were then invited to write their own narratives in the booklets. Their writing reveals their continuing disadvantaged position in society, stories of poverty, illiteracy, family restrictions, early marriage, men’s drug addiction, and stories of families fleeing to neighbouring countries and their sense of loss and despair upon returning to Afghanistan. Their narratives also tell us of the prevailing corruption in Afghanistan and how foreign aid money is streamed by the warlords for their personal interests. Two trees is an artbook containing images of these artworks and narratives.

Learn more about the project
Watch the video of Dr Kabir's talk at the launch

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.

Media Contact
Rosanna Galvin: office (08) 8302 0578, mobile 0434 603 457, email

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.

More information

Australia and Afghanistan post-2014: securitisation and its impact

14–15 November 2013, City West Campus

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.

Keynote speakers

  • 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
    University, Canberra
  • 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, 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'.

Happy Eid

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.

Ramadan Mubarak

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, City West Campus

Steal away, steal away home, I ain’t got long to stay here.

Urban dwellers and the changing cityMany 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.

Read more

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 summer schoolGranada, 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.

Read more news in our news archive

Areas of study and research

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