Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
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2009 Parliament

Islam at the Parliament

At the heart of Islam’s social conscience is a shared concern for a “just, peaceful and sustainable world.” The Holy Qur’an repeatedly calls on Muslims to provide for the poor; to respect nature's signs, benefits and relationship to humanity; and to come together with diverse peoples to learn from one another.

Breaking Down Stereotypes

As many Muslims, among the billion plus globally, seek to answer the call to world harmony, the 2009 Parliament aims to hear them. In keeping with our theme of the world’s religions authentically hearing each other, the 2009 Parliament Program will break down stereotypes and misunderstandings of Islam. Authentic representation of Islam and Muslims, and accurate and diverse expressions of the faith, will be creatively interwoven throughout the program, from films and interactive workshops to dynamic speakers and sacred music and more.


Dr. Tariq Ramadan will be speaking at the Parliament. He is active both at the academic and grassroots levels and lectures extensively throughout the world on theology, ethics, social justice, ecology and interfaith as well as intercultural dialogue. Through his writings and lectures he has contributed substantially to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. Ms. Dalia Mogahed is the Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Islamic Studies. She is co-author of the book 'Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think' (2008) and member of the Advisory Council for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Both will help us break down the stereotypes of Muslims and of "the West," and build bridges of understanding.


Programming will include:

Islam 101 Series: Muslim Women's Contributions to a More Just and Sustainable World:

Mehrezia Labidi-Maiza, Dr Siti Musdah Mulia, Dr Suhair Al-Qurashi, Hajjah Maria Ulfah, Janaan Hashim (Chair)

Muslim women have been working toward a more just and sustainable world since the advent of Islam, but few people are aware of this fact. In this Islam 101 Series session, extraordinary Muslim women leaders from Saudi Arabia, Israel, France and Indonesia will present contemporary and historical examples of this rich history of the engagement of Muslim women to build a better world. The discussion will include a look at Muslim women's contributions to science and technology, peace and conflict resolution, religious education of future leaders and other topics. The Islam 101 Series is a six-part series designed to highlight critically important issues regarding Islamic beliefs, practice and history that are all too commonly misunderstood.


The Muslim Green: Muslim Contributions to Healing the Earth:

Nora Ziad El-Maghraby, Dr Fahad A. Alhomoudi, Imam Afroz Ali, Dr Bagher Talebi Darabi, Dr Nargis Virani

For many Muslims, the color green represents a connection to the beauty and promise of nature -- on Earth and in Paradise. Nearly 800 of the 6,236 verses in the Qur'an reference nature and its relationship to humanity. Through the lenses of scholarship, activism, and the arts, this panel will discuss the Muslim connection to nature and the environment, as well as many Muslims' approach to healing the Earth coming from Sunni, Sufi and Shi'a perspectives. Panelists will discuss the role of protecting the environment and natural resources in Islamic Law, the rights of the environment in Islam with special emphasis on water management principles, Rumi's views on the dynamism of the relationship between humans and nature, and the environmental crisis and human health from a Shi'a Islam viewpoint, and more.


The Art of Qur'an Recitation: Sharing Wisdom in the Search for Inner Peace:

Hajjah Maria Ulfah

In this session, world-renowned Qur'an reciter Hajjah Maria Ulfah will offer the art of Qur'an recitation as a medium through which wisdom can be shared in the search for inner peace. This session is one of six in a series of Muslim observances on the Qur'an scheduled across the six days of the Parliament. Each session will include beautiful Qur'anic recitations, clear translation, and illuminating exegesis around a different Parliament subtheme each day. This series will show how the subthemes of the Melbourne Parliament are all issues of shared concern to Muslims, as they are at the heart of Islam's social conscience.


Islam and Politics: Faith, Governance and Society:

Dr Anwar Ibrahim

What is the role of faith and governance in majority Muslim societies like Malaysia? How does this affect how politics take shape? What happens if the society is also secular, multi-religious, or highly values religion as having a primary role in nation building? In this session, Mr Anwar Ibrahim, an internationally respected Muslim leader and politician, will address these issues. Respondents will include voices from Saudi Arabia (Prof Fahad Alhomoudi), Turkey (Prof Merve Kavakci), Indonesia (Dr Siti Musdah Mulia), France (Tariq Ramadan) and Iran (Ambassador Dr Mahdi Mostafavi) -- all countries that are also challenged with the question of the role of faith and governance in the society.


Islamic Finance: The Compassionate Approach to Market and Money:

Dr Amal El-Tijani, Dr Nasya Bahfen, Dr Abdul Rahim Ghouse, Dr Constant Mews (Chair)

This panel will focus on Islamic finance and microfinance and how they can be utilised to alleviate poverty. It will first describe what Islamic finance is and how it is different from conventional finance. It will provide the audience with an understanding of the Islamic concepts that govern financial transactions, how these concepts have been translated into modern day finance and banking techniques, and how these techniques can be applied to the problem of poverty. Furthermore, the panel will explore briefly the impact of the global economic crisis on Islamic financial markets and institutions, as well as principles of financial ethics common to Christianity and Islam. The talk will also address how Islamic finance can contribute to a more just society within both an Australian and an international context.


Islam and the West: Creating an Accord of Civilisations:

Dalia Mogahed, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Dr Tariq Ramadan, Dr Daniel C Peterson (Chair)

Are Islam and the West hopelessly opposed? Does the presence of millions of Muslims living in and contributing to the success of Western countries create the historical foundations for such a question? Is the current fear of Islam and Muslims solely a result of the violence and religious extremism of a few, or is there something more? What lessons can be learned from the success of Muslims living side by side with non-Muslims in non-Western countries? Despite the saturation coverage of Islam in the media, the vast majority of Westerners, including some opinion leaders and commentators, have a limited understanding of Islam and Muslims and the possibilities for creating a harmonious accord between Islam and the West. In this session, leading scholars from around the world will examine all of these issues and provide essential cultural and historical context.



Programming will also include:
  • The Islam 101 Series is a six-part series designed to highlight critically important issues regarding Islamic beliefs, practice and history that are all too commonly misunderstood.
    • Islam 101 Series: War and Peace in Al-Islam: The Prophet's Struggle
    • Islam 101 Series: Women's Rights as Human Rights in Islam
    • Islam 101 Series: Reverence for the Virgin Mary and Jesus in Islam
    • Islam 101 Series: Muslim Women's Contributions to a More Just and Sustainable World
    • Islam 101 Series: How Islam Deals with Social Justice, Gender Justice and Religious Diversity
    • Islam 101 Series: Applying Islamic Principles for a Just and Sustainable World
  • Morning Observances:
    • The Right of the Poor and the Orphan in the Qur’an: Overcoming Poverty in An Unequal World
      Imam Khalid Fattah Griggs
    • The Art of Qur'an Recitation: Sharing Wisdom in the Search for Inner Peace
      Hajjah Maria Ulfah
    • "So That You May Know One Another": The Call for Social Cohesion in the Qur'an
      Imam Afroz Ali
    • A Qur'anic Moral Imperative: Building Peace in the Pursuit of Justice
      Prof Tariq Ramadam
    • Remembrance of Allah and His Prophet Through Nasheed Songs
      Zain Bhikha
    • Purifying the Heart and Soul through Remembrance of Allah: Dhikr As An Islamic Devotional Act for Inner Peace
      Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
    • Understanding the Wisdom of Muslim Obligatory Prayers: Salaat & Inner Peace
      Dr Suhair Al-Qurashi
  • Other Sessions Include:
    • A Review on Shi'ism from the Islamic Republic of Iran
    • African American Muslims: Mirrors for Global Justice
    • Analyze This!: Views of Young Saudi, Australian and American Muslim Women on Their Faith and Evolving Roles
    • Australia's Diverse Cultures and Multifaith Communities: Fethullah Gulen's Vision and Building Bridges Projects
    • Blogistan: Muslims Dialogue Through New Media
    • Building Peace in the Pursuit of Justice. A Buddhist-Muslim Dialogue
    • Changing the Conversation About Islam and Muslims Through Film: Shia, Puerto Rican-American and Australian Voices
    • Christian Muslim Engagement: Action through Understanding in the Writings of Said Nursi
    • Interfaith Dialogue and Institutions of Higher Learning: India, Indonesia and United States Case Studies
    • Islam and Politics: Faith, Governance and Society
    • Islam and the West: Creating an Accord of Civilizations
    • Islamic Education: Vehicle for Social Cohesion
    • Islamic Finance: The Compassionate Approach to Market and Money
    • Leadership Amongst Muslim Males in the post 9/11 ERA
    • Many religions, one community: the theory and practice of living together in Muslim Spain and India
    • Milestones and Signposts in Interfaith Relations: The View from Christianity, Islam and Hinduism
    • Models for Interreligious Tolerance Among Muslims: Indonesian and Turkish Case Studies
    • Muslim Women Securing their Own Individuality: Different Societies, Same Struggle
    • Muslim Women's Artistic Expressions of Faith and Interfaith
    • Muslims Combating Poverty & Social Injustice Through Interfaith Partnership
    • Politics and Governance: An Islamic Perspective and Iranian Practice
    • Sufism and Peace: A meeting point for all religious traditions
    • The Challenge of Islamophobia and the Media: How Innovative Dialogue is Changing the Landscape
    • The Gulen Movements’ Global Peace and Social Reconciliation Vision and Projects
    • The Headscarf Debates: Religious Dress & Secular Fundamentalism
    • The Imam and Pastor: An Exploration of Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Collaborative Power in Nigeria
    • The Muslim Green: Muslim Contributions to Healing the Earth
    • The Street Theology of Anger and The Logic of Dying to Win
    • Voices of Peace, Models for Productive Coexistence Among Youth

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