Islam and the Challenge of Pluralism in a Globalized World

Panel at the Reset DOC event.

November 20, 2023
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Online Zoom Webinar and Gazi-Husrev-beg Library

This roundtable presented the research of the working group on Islam and pluralism sponsored by the Theologies and Practices of Religious Pluralism project, a multireligious and comparative effort coordinated by Reset Dialogues on Civilizations that is co-directed by Berkley Center Senior Fellows Jocelyne Cesari and José Casanova.

Since its inception, 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). 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. 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.

The panelists discussed the findings of the working group on Islam and pluralism by addressing both internal and external diversity, focusing on Sunni-Shia relations, gender, blasphemy, and apostasy. They also engaged in a comparison of similar challenges in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish traditions.


11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST / 5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. CET | Welcome Remarks
Ahmet Alibasic, University of Sarajevo
Giancarlo Bosetti, Reset DOC
Prince Moulay Hicham, Hicham Alaoui Foundation

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST / 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. CET | Roundtable
Ahmet Alibasic, University of Sarajevo
José Casanova, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
Jocelyne Cesari, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
Nedzad Grabus, University of Sarajevo
Prince Moulay Hicham, Hicham Alaoui Foundation
Mohsen Kadivar, Duke University
Maayan Raveh, University of Haifa
Jerusha Rhodes, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York

This event was co-sponsored by Reset Dialogues on Civilizations with Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, University of Sarajevo Islamic Studies, Gazi-Husrev-beg Library, and Hicham Alaoui Foundation.

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