About the Conference:
The horrific beheadings by ISIS in Syria, the hideous attack on Charlie Hebdo in France, and the grisly massacre by Boko Haram in Nigeria are among the latest incidents of violence in the name of Islam that have been rapidly multiplying over the past two decades. Although Muslims across the world condemn these atrocities, media coverage and public outrage often blur the distinction between Islam as a religion and the theologies of violence fabricated by extremists to give their profane goals the appearance of a just cause and thus to gain new sympathizers and resources. Consequently, questions about the notion of “true” Islam and the distinction between Islam and the actions of ordinary Muslims have become a central focus of attention.
Since September 11, 2001, the West has been confronted with ‘homegrown’ terrorism that sets agendas in many areas of politics and policy decisions and in debates on integration. Although we find religions at the center of these conflicts, they are being abused as vehicles to legitimize social, cultural, and political disputes. By contrast, it is the enlightened capacity for pluralism of religions that can provide convincing incentives for coexistence among the various religious organizations whose presence in Western societies is becoming increasingly visible. It is thus the task of an enlightened, pluralistic society to proceed unified against such theologies of violence.
The proposed conference will be composed of internationally renowned scholars and dignitaries from many different disciplines and with different religious backgrounds, who will address the topic of Religion and Violence from the following angles:
- Current analysis of basic features and trends that shape European social systems
- Interactions and tensions between religions
- Promoting integration and curbing radicalization through citizenship education
- Philosophical and theological frameworks to address religiously motivated violence
- Threats of religious radicalism in Europe
- Radicalization of Muslim and non-Muslim youth
- Possibilities of early detection of radical tendencies among young people
- Theoretical approaches and methodologies of de-radicalization
- Identity crisis and socio-economic predicament of Muslim minorities in Western societies
- Conflicts between Western values and Islamic tenets as conceived by some Muslims and non-Muslims
- Failure of Islamic reform movements to resolve social, political, and economic issues
- Inadequacies of social, economic, or political development in Muslim-majority countries