Conference Topics and Objectives

For decades, scholars and academics have been debating the causes behind the steep decline in wealth and power across Muslim-majority countries during the past two centuries. There are certainly many explanatory theories for the resulting strategic weakness of many of these societies, their relative political disintegration, and the abject failure in maintaining functioning states capable of providing their citizens with basic social and economic needs. With the arrival of the colonial European powers in the nineteenth century, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century, the rise of the nation-state system, and the imposition of the neo-liberal order by global powers, Muslim societies have had to contend with great challenges from a vastly disadvantaged position.

The Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) is convening its second annual international conference to discuss some of the most significant fault lines and perils facing Muslim societies today, particularly, by focusing on the challenges of sectarianism, secularism, nationalism, colonialism, and the role of religion in society, especially in light of the retreat of the Arab Spring phenomenon. Last year, the conference aimed to re-examine the meaning of the Muslim Ummah in the modern world. This year, the conference will expound in greater details on one of the topics discussed in the first conference, namely, the fault lines impeding the development and progress of Muslim societies.

The objective of the conference is to bring leading scholars in their respective fields in order to engage in thoughtful discussions regarding some of the major internal fault lines facing the Islamic world and explore appropriate responses. The panels will not only analyze these topics and present prescient assessments, but will also attempt to present practical perspectives to difficult challenges.