Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

Islam and Peace International Conference

Event Details

Islam and Peace International Conference
Islam and World Peace: Perspectives from African Muslim Nonviolence Traditions
Date: 
September 11, 2015 - 5:00pm - September 13, 2015 - 6:00pm
Location: 
International Affairs Building, Columbia University

For more details, visit: www.islampeaceconference.com/

Registration required: bit.ly/islamandworldpeace

Context

Nowadays Islam is clearly a growing source of suspicion and hostility in many societies. This situation is partly due to the numerous clichés and misunderstandings of the teachings of the faith in the media, and partly due to the various acts of terrorists who use the name of Islam in order to justify their ideology of violence and intolerance. Very often the media’s problematic treatment of Islam in its global and political contexts at large and of the concept of Jihad in particular, does not address the pervasive misunderstanding of the faith, nor does it do justice to its fundamental teachings of peace, tolerance, and forgiveness.

In order to shed light on the central social and spiritual teachings of Islam and to emphasize the dominant understanding of the meaning of Jihad as self-improvement, it is pivotal to examine the legacies of Muslim leaders around the world who have promoted enduring traditions of nonviolence, tolerance, diversity, and respect of all cultures and religions.

Objectives

The conference seeks papers from scholars who study the teachings of Sufi leaders whose lifelong practices offer important lessons of nonviolence as both means of political and cultural resistance and as means of personal and collective social advancement. ​There are important African Muslim leaders who championed the philosophy of nonviolence prior to widely known icons such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. These leaders include Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba (1853-1927) of Senegal, West Africa, who emphasized in his writings that his mode of Jihadis centered on “knowledge and worship,” and that he “forgave all his enemies” who subjected him to unjust suffering for over three decades.

This is a perspective that contrasts drastically with the militant and violent interpretation of Jihad espoused nowadays by groups such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS, and others. Such kinds of nonviolent perspectives on Jihad championed by some Muslim leaders could help lay the foundations for peace and tolerance in our world today which is marked by deadly conflicts, injustice, and endless cycles of violence and retaliation in the name of religion.

Panels & Perspectives

In view of the growing violent extremism and the stigmatizations of millions of innocent Muslims, the need to understand and learn from the legacies and teachings of nonviolent Muslim leaders is urgent today, more than ever before. Thus, this conference invites students of religion and Islam around the world to engage in substantive ways the genesis, diffusion, and teachings of Islamic nonviolence traditions of Sufi leaders and their interpretation and operationalization of the concept of Jihad that unequivocally rejects extremism and intolerance in all their forms. The conference seeks to create a dynamic space for continuing scholarly exchanges and interactive debates, along with creative processes that foster multiculturalism. Therefore the conference will be open to the general public, the media, and community-based organizations.

We hope that it will generate peer-reviewed scholarly papers to be published in edited volumes exclusively focused on Muslim Nonviolence Traditions. We envision these books to feature diverse Islamic nonviolent movements in order to lay the foundation for enduring mutual understanding, peace, and tolerance among all the children of Adam, regardless of their geographical location or religious persuasion.

Program

DAY 1

Friday, September 11

From 5:00 to 8:00pm

Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building

420 W 118th St, New York, NY 10027

 

5:00-6:00pm

Opening ceremony

 

Live Sufi Music Performance

 

Viewing : “International Exhibition of Muslim Non-Violence” by Majalis

 

Viewing of art exhibit : Senegalese Sufi Calligraphy by Yelimane Fall

 

 

6:00-6:15pm

Opening Remarks

 

Prof. Mamadou Diouf (Institute of African Studies of Columbia University)

 

Prof. Karen Barkey (Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life of Columbia University)

 

Abdoul Aziz Mbacké (President of Majalis)

 

 

6:15-8:00pm

Film screening

 

Screening of TOUBA followed by Q/A session with director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

 

* * *

 

DAY 2

Saturday, September 12

From 8:30am to 5:00pm

Kellogg Center, 15th Floor, International Affairs Building

420 W 118th St, New York, NY 10027

 

8:30-9:00am  

Breakfast and Check-In (Lobby)

9:00-11:00am

PANEL 1

Violence & Non-Violence in Sufism – Part 1

International Affairs Building, Room 1501

 

 

 

 

Presenters

 

Fallou Ngom, Boston University (Boston, MA, USA)

Associate Professor and Director of the African Language Program

Paper: Sanctified Suffering: The Response to Violence in Murid Ajami Poetry

 

Mbaye Bashir Lo, Duke University (Durham, NC, USA)

Assistant Professor

Paper: Jihad as a Peace Tradition in the Writing of Cheikh Moussa Kamara

 

Mara Leichtman, Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI, USA)

Associate Professor

Paper: On Being “Sushi” in Senegal: The Peaceful Merging of Sufi and Reformist Shi‘i Islamic Traditions

 

Eric Ross, Al Akhawayn University (Ifrane, Morocco)

Associate Professor

Paper: Turning my back to this world in order to dominate it: Institutional autonomy and nonviolence from Al-Hâjj Sâlim Suware to Cheikh Ahmadu Bamba Mbacké

 

Moderator

 

Abdoul Aziz Mbacke, Majalis (Senegal)

President of Majalis (African Muslim Heritage) and Murid scholar

 

11:00-11:30am

Coffee break

11:30am-1:30pm

PANEL 2

Violence & Non-Violence in Sufism – Part 2

International Affairs Building, Room 1501

 

 

Presenters

 

Aref Ali Nayed (Libya)

Libyan Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and the Founder and Chairman of Kalam Research and Media (KRM)

Paper: Reviving Libyan heritage of compassion and spiritual history
 

Zachary Wright, Northwestern University in Qatar (Ar-Rayyan, Qatar)

Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies

Paper: Being Human: Conceiving the Self in Nineteenth-Century African Islam


Cheikh A Babou, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, USA)

Associate Professor of History

Paper: Sufi theology and the roots of non-violence in Ahmadu Bamba’s thought and Practices


Babacar Mbaye, Kent State University (Kent, OH, USA)

Associate Professor

Paper: Conquering oppression through Cosmopolitanism: Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba’s “Jihad of the Soul” and Edward W. Blyden’s Africa

 

Moderator

 

Ousseina D. Alidou, Rutgers University (Piscataway, New Jersey, USA)

Associate Professor, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures – Director of African Studies Center

 

1:30-3:00pm

Lunch break

3:00-5:00pm

PANEL 3

Religious Thought and Practice

International Affairs Building, Room 1501

 

 

Presenters

 

Kebede Kassa, St. Mary’s University (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Director for Research and Knowledge Management

Paper: Islam-Christian Interreligious Marriages and Peaceful Coexistence: Lessons from Ethiopia to the World

 

Djénéba Traoré, West Africa Institute (Praia, Cabo Verde)

Managing Director at the West Africa Institute (WAI)

Paper: Saving Timbuktu, the City of Religious Tolerance over the Centuries

 

Dr Abdallah Souleymane Cheikh-Sidia (Mauritania)

Representative of the Sidyia Community

Paper: Origins of radical Islamism

 

Moderator

 

Pr. Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Professor of French, Department of French and Romance Philosophy, Columbia University)

 

 

* * *

 

DAY 3

Sunday, September 13

 

From 8:30am to 6:00pm

Kellogg Center, 15th Floor, International Affairs Building

420 W 118th St, New York, NY 10027

 

8:30-9:00am  

Breakfast and Check-In (Lobby)

9:00-11:00am

PANEL 4: ROUNDTABLE

Clerics & Academics dialogue responding to extremisms

Live and via video conference with participants from West African Research Center of Dakar

International Affairs Building, Room 1501  & WARC Conference room

 

 

Participants from Senegal

 

Dr Cheikh Guèye (ENDA), Dr Bakary Sambe (Université de Gaston Berger), Cheikh Tidiane Sy (Tijânî community of Tivavouane), Chouhaïbou Kébé (University of Touba), Same Bousso (Rawdu Rayâhîn), Mouhamed Kounta (Community of Ndiassane), Seydina Kane (Layène Community), Mouhamed Barro (Senegalese Islamic Association) etc.

Moderator

 

Pr. Ousmane Sene (Director of WARC & Associate professor of Literature (African and African-American), University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal)

 

Participants in New York

 

Abdoul Aziz Mbacke (Majalis), Cheikh A. Babou (University of Pennsylvania), Dr Abdallah Souleymane Cheikh-Sidia (Representative of the Sidiya, Mauritania), Cheikh Abdoul Ahad Mbacke (President of the Cultural Commission of the Magal of Touba, Senegal), S. Moustapha Mbacke Gaindé Fatma (Religious leader, Senegal), Eric Ross (Al Akhawayn University), Zachary Wright (Northwestern University in Qatar), Cheikh Haroun (Religious leader in South Carolina)

 

Moderator

 

Pr. Mamadou Diouf (Leitner Family Professor of African Studies & Director, Institute for African Studies of Columbia University)

 

11:00-11:30am

Coffee break

11:30am-1:30pm

PANEL 5

Gender, Inequality, Diversity, Education

International Affairs Building, Room 1501

 

 

Presenters

 

Ousseina D. Alidou, Rutgers University (Piscataway, New Jersey, USA)

Associate Professor, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures – Director of African Studies Center

Paper: African Muslim Women, Islam, Inclusive Diversity and Culture of Peace

 

Serah Shani, Eastern University (St. Davids, PA, USA)

Visiting Professor of Anthropology

Paper: Islam as a Mechanism for Socioeconomic Mobility: African parenting practices in New York City

 

M. Scarborough, Columbia University (New York City, USA)

PhD candidate

Paper: At the confluence: Muslim Communists and civic education in Sudan

 

Kira Kay, Executive Director of the Bureau for International Reporting

Presentation of her short film on the Moroccan “Mourchidat”

 

Moderator

 

Pr. Karen Barkey (Professor of Sociology and History - Director of the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life of Columbia University)

 

1:30-3:00pm

Lunch break

3:00-5:00pm

PANEL 6

Religion, Politics, Society

International Affairs Building, Room 1501 

 

 

Presenters

 

El Hadji Samba Amadou Diallo, Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO, USA)

Lecturer

Paper: Religion, Politics, and Society in Africa: How Sufi Leaders Contribute to Democratization in West Africa

 

Mohamed Mbodj, Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY, USA)

Professor

Paper: Urban politics and Islam in Kaolack (Sine-Saloum), in the 1920s and 1930s

 

Ahmad Ferguson, Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA, USA)

Ph.D. Candidate

Paper: Global Impact of An Islamic Sufi NGO’s in Senegal: The African American Islamic Institute

 

Abdoul Aziz Mbacke, Majalis (Senegal)

President of Majalis (African Muslim Heritage) and Murid scholar

Paper: The next “social contract” between Religion and Politics in Senegal

 

Moderator

 

Pr. Mamadou Diouf (Leitner Family Professor of African Studies & Director, Institute for African Studies of Columbia University)

 

5:00-6:00pm

Closing Reception

 

 

More information

Conference website: www.islampeaceconference.com

Email: info@islampeaceconference.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ islampeaceconference

Columbia Institute of African Studies:
www.ias.columbia.edu/event/islam-and-peace-international-conference

Columbia Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life:

ircpl.org/event/islam-peace-perspectives-from-african-muslim-nonviolence-traditions/

1. Participation to the cultural activities is free and opened to general public, 2. Participation to academic panels is subjected to registration. You can register by Sending an email to info@islampeaceconference.com Or through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/islampeaceconference. No registration fee is required from participants.