iconcsis3 BACKGROUND

Contemporary developments and the many acute problems confronting the Muslim Ummah, especially at the intellectual level, present a serious challenge to Islam. The problems are due to internal situations which arise within Muslim communities as well as external influences. As the world entered into an “Era of Turbulence and Turmoil”, the Muslim Ummah is facing internally, the emerging threat of Muslim militant or sectarian groups which tend to disregard mainstream religious doctrines or viewpoints, or are bent upon bringing about socio-religious changes based upon their own visions of Islamic society, culture or state. A counteracting social drive consisting of liberalized and secularized elites has also appeared in some Muslim countries to popularize their own startling and anti-orthodox views of Islam in the banner of democracy, basic human rights, individual freedom, freedom of expression, moderation and rationalism.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Ummah is also facing externally, various threats posed by Western ideas, culture, religions and lifestyles. Islam and Muslims have become the primary targets of demonization, islamophobia, and ethnic prejudice. Muslims themselves are widely perceived as violent-prone and the Qur’ān is seen as the source of violence and militancy worldwide. New labels have been manufactured by Western media and academia to portray Islam and Muslims according to Western perspectives or interests such as, “Political Islam” “Spiritual Islam”, “Transnational Islam”, “Moderate Islam”, “Liberal Islam”, “Progressive Islam”, “Feminist Islam”, “Secular Islam”, etc.

Given this reality, a concerted effort to delineate an intellectual Islamic alternative in thought and knowledge has been so urgent and imperative. It is necessary for religious authorities and concerned Islamic scholars to promote the correct and balanced understanding of Islamic teachings. The primary aim of the Conference to bring to the limelight contemporary issues surrounding the Muslim Ummah, in matters related to Islamic Thought and Comparative Religions, to formulate new ways and paradigms in dealing with those issues, to find meaningful ways towards reaffirmation of the dynamism of Islam in present day context and most importantly to revitalize the leading role of Islam and Muslims in constructing a new divinely-guided civilization.