Theologies and Practices of Religious Pluralism // One project many workshops
Pluralism is inescapable in today’s modern societies, whether it is of a cultural, social, political, or religious nature. It is praised as the defining feature of modernity and decried as an impossible ideal. A violent backlash against pluralism has been fueled by nostalgic forces who lament their loss of supremacy atop the social hierarchy. The Theologies and Practices of Religious Pluralism convenes a team of international scholars to provide original insights on the often-ignored transformations that modern pluralism has forced upon all religions, challenging their theology and practices.
This partnership between Reset Dialogues on Civilizations (US and Italy), the University of Birmingham (UK), the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, and the Foundation for Religious Sciences in Bologna and Palermo (Italy), will investigate current debates and issues on pluralism within and across religious traditions and how some of these debates are reshaping the status of religion in different public spaces.
In its first two years (2022-2024), the program will examine pluralism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Each religious tradition will be discussed in a series of workshops (or work package) devoted to the topics specific to the respective religion. The second phase will examine and compare results by convening seminars across each religious traditions.
In June 2022, two major events will be organised in the framework of the project: Islam and Pluralism (in cooperation with the University of Birmigham – see below) and Theologies and Practices of Religious Pluralism: Christian Perspectives (within the European Academy of Religion).
ISLAM AND PLURALISM
ResetDOC – University of Birmingham
JUNE 14-15, 2022
The official launch of the Islam and pluralism work package will take place at the University of Birmingham which is funding the first workshop. Jocelyne Cesari is coordinating the workpackage on Islam as well as the worshop hosted by Birmingham.
Rationale of the work package
Since its inception, the Islamic theology has acknowledged religious difference. The Medina constitution is a unique example of “pluralistic theocracy” where the Prophet Mohammed and the nascent Islamic community acknowledged in their midst, the People of the previous monotheistic revelations (Ahl Al Kitab).
This acknowledgement should not be mistaken with the secular understanding of pluralism: it was hierarchical, with limited/little recognition for the space of non monotheistic religions within the nascent Islamic community. Nevertheless, throughout history, Islam has had lengthy encounters with other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, given that two-thirds of Muslims live in South and Southeast Asia. The concept of Ahl al-Kitab, and the related ahl al-Dhimma, has therefore been extended to include other groups besides those mentioned.
Another historic feature of Islamic pluralism is the internal diversity of religious opinions within the Sunni tradition with the continued existence of four major schools of jurisprudence and their recognition of acceptable differences or ikhtilaf. At the same time, Sunni-Shia dynamics have always been a sensitive political issue impacting theologies and practices of negotiating the diversity and plurality inherent within Islam. Nonetheless, most of the scholarly attention has been to consider how reflection within the Islamic tradition deals with inter-religious diversity, rather than its intra-religious diversity.
The workshop in Birmingham will be the official launch of the series of workshop on Islam to examine these topics with the goal to produce working papers leading to publication.
Tuesday, June 14th
Introductory Remarks: Jocelyne Cesari (University of Birmingham/Georgetown University) and Giancarlo Bosetti (ResetDOC)
Session 1: Theology of Pluralism
10 AM-12 PM
Ali-Reza Bhojani (University of Birmingham): Justice orientated approaches to Islam’s normative responses to plurality
Adnane Mokrani (Fondazione per le scienze religiose): Toward an Islamic Theology of Religious Pluralism: Key Concepts and Main Obstacles
Discussant: Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain (Al-Mahdi Institute).
Session 2: Sunni-Shia Dynamics
Katajun Amirpur (University of Cologne): Online Accusations of Disbelief and Apostasy in anti-Shia and anti-Sunni slurs:
Sectarian and countersectarian rhetoric and keywords on examples of Websites and Twitter tweets.
Discussant: Jocelyne Cesari ( University of Birmingham)
Session 3: Women as the Internal Other?
Lena Larsen (University of Oslo): Women as the internal other: Findings from research on women-related fatwas
Mohsen Kadivar (Duke University): Contemporary gender discrimination in the name of Islam
Discussant: Alessia Passarelli (Fondazione per le scienze religiose)
Wednesday, June 15th
Session 1: The Infidels
10:00 -12:00 PM
Jerusha Tanner Rhodes (Union Theological Seminary): Beyond Takfir and Supersessionism: The Theo-Ethical Possibilities of Kufr
Ebrahim Moosa (Notre Dame University): Ghazālīan Insights on Scholarly Critique and Freedom of Speech
Discussant: Jose Casanova (Georgetown University)
Session 2: The Dhimmi
1:30 PM- 2:30 PM
Yahya Birt (Ayaan Institute): Muslim Minorities as Ahl al-Dhimma
Discussant: Giancarlo Bosetti
Conclusion and Next Steps: Jocelyne Cesari and Jose Casanova
Project General Coordination:
Giancarlo Bosetti (Executive Chair Reset DOC), Jonathan Laurence (Executive Director Reset Dialogues US), Alessia Passarelli (Scientific Coordinator Reset DOC).
Steering Academic Committee:
Jocelyne Cesari (Chair), José Casanova (Co-Chair), Alberto Melloni, Mohammed Hashas, Adnane Mokrani, Kristina Stoeckl.
Cover Photo: Bulent Kilic (AFP)