Solutions to Violent Conflict

Archive for 2019|Yearly archive page

Strategies for Madrasa Engagement

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2019 at 9:34 am

Mahan Mirza

One could mention several different reasons for influential actors from the West to systematically engage religious institutions and scholars in the Muslim world. The first is for the purpose of interfaith dialogue and cooperation. An example of this kind of engagement is the recent “joint statement on human fraternity by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb.”

A second purpose is for business interests seeking to legitimize commercial products as sharia compliant. One prolific provider of this kind of service is Justice Mawlana Taqi Usmani, a leading scholar from South Asia.

A third purpose for strategic engagement is for governments to advance geopolitical interests. An example of this kind of engagement is the mobilization of madrasas in Afghanistan and Pakistan for jihad against the invading Soviet Union in the 1980s.

And a fourth purpose may be to reform madrasa curricula in order to make the scholarly tradition more current and relevant for today’s world. Examples of this reform approach are the Madrasa Discourses project at the University of Notre Dame and the madrasa enhancement initiative of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) in Washington, D.C. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding the Madrasa Discourses Project

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2019 at 9:34 am


Ebrahim Moosa

Madrasas have been much in the news in the past six months in both Pakistan and India. While hardly any credible madrasas engage in training suicide bombers, reports indicate that both the Jaish-e Mohammad and the Lashkar-e Tayyiba, two terrorist groups operating out of Pakistan, have now established their own network of madrasas, a number totaling between 30-40 such units. It is unclear why they are allowed to operate in Pakistan and use students in these schools as cannon fodder for their nefarious purposes. There has been a deafening silence on the part of representatives of the mainstream madrasa community in Pakistan to condemn these “bad” madrasas which pollute the reputation and image of all madrasas whose sole purpose is theological education. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ethics of Conversation: Madrasa Discourses in India and Pakistan

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2019 at 9:34 am

Joshua S. Lupo

Recently, I traveled to Pakistan and India to participate in the Madrasa Discourses (MD) project summer intensives. This project aims to enhance the theological, scientific, and theological literacy of recent graduates of Muslim seminaries in south Asia. I had the opportunity to listen to presentations by participants on the relationship between Islamic thought and topics such as evolution, feminism, human rights, and hermeneutics. I also had the chance to share meals, cab rides, chai tea boiled with milk (a new favorite), walks around cities, and visits to various tourist attractions. In these less formal moments, I learned about students’ families, their views on the current political dynamics in their respective countries, and the more mundane habits that make up their days. While these conversations were perhaps less “important” in a purely academic sense, they were significant in building friendship and community with the students. I learned about the importance of family for them personally as well as culturally, what their education was like in the madrasas they attended as younger adults, and the challenges they are facing as they continue their education. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Indonesia’s Illiberal Turn

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Caroline Hughes

The banning of HTI and jailing of former Jakarta Governor Basuki Purnama for blasphemy represent an illiberal turn in Indonesia. This should be understood against the backdrop of decades of state suppression and manipulation of civil society movements. Despite a democratic transition in 1998, Indonesia’s political economy remains characterized by an oligarchic order in which super-rich elites compete to control Indonesia’s natural resources. An emergent civil society remains weak and fragmented due to the legacies of past violence and repression. The ineffectiveness of democratization in combatting inequality and eradicating poverty is toxic to a moderate politics of reform. Read the rest of this entry »

Indonesian Civil Society: Struggling to Survive

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Peter van Tuijl

As general elections in Indonesia approach in April 2019, Indonesian civil society is facing significant challenges in promoting peace and human rights. The social and political space to promote a principled politics based on universal values is narrowing, as recent events and debates make painfully clear.

Representative government presupposes a dynamic interaction between the political system and civil society. But what if a significant part of the associational dimension of citizenry is taking on undemocratic and non-inclusive views? This creates difficult dilemmas for those who care for minorities and aim to play a positive role in strengthening social cohesion and accountability across different communities and establishing the public domain as a subject of democratic process. Read the rest of this entry »

State Ibuism in Contemporary Indonesia

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Lailatul Fitriyah

A pillar of the construction of the state in Indonesia is the ideology of Ibuism (“mother” in Indonesian), a form of socio-biological engineering that reflects and reinforces gendered differences in governmental policies and is, presently, justified by religious teachings. At the core of this ideology is a view of women as appendages and companions to their husbands. Women are the procreators of the nation, mothers and educators of children, housekeepers, and members of Indonesian society, in that order. These views are reinforced by male-oriented notions of the family and conservative religious teachings. Read the rest of this entry »