Over four days, our 20 plus speakers – philosophers and theologians, historians and writers, believers and non-believers – will consider what it means to be religious, and what role the voice of faith may legitimately have in the conversations of citizens in a multicultural, democratic state and the community of nations.
Across Saturday, three keynote lectures from distinguished international guests each consider the challenges posed by – and to – faith in the building of modern communities. Following the three lectures, all three keynote speakers will be in discussion with each other, exchanging and challenging one another’s views.
In ‘Faith, Multiculturalism and the Community of Nations’, UK multiculturalism advocate Tariq Modood, Pakistan-raised Quar’anic scholar Asma Barlas and US moral philosopher Susan Neiman will discuss their keynote addresses, in a fascinating meeting of minds, with Shakira Hussein as participating chair. They’ll talk about the links between religious belief and a multicultural society, the relationship between Islam and contemporary Europe, and the importance of reason in public life.
For a recording of this lecture plus transcripts and recordings of the series, visit our Faith and Culture archive.
Tariq Modood is one of Britain’s most eloquent advocates of a ‘multiculturalism of hope’. In the Guardian he wrote, ‘Respect for religion and moderate secularism are kindred spirits and are sources of hope for a multiculturalism that gives status to religious, as to other, communities’. In 2001 he was awarded an MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations.
Asma Barlas is a distinguished scholar and an outspoken and esteemed public intellectual, recognised as such in Europe and the US. She has written and spoken eloquently against Western misreadings of the Qur’an, and passionately against Islamic misreadings that would appear to justify the oppression of women.
Susan Neiman is the director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, just outside Berlin. At the interface of eastern and western Europe, it is one of Europe’s most important centres of intellectual and cultural innovation outside the university framework.
Shakira Hussein is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne.