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Muslim Institute Spring Conference: Do Muslims Need Decolonising?


Saturday 27 Apr 2019, 09:30 — 17:00


Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN


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The Muslim Institute is delighted to announce a thought-provoking one-day Spring Conference that confronts the question 'Do Muslims Need Decolonising?'. Speakers and sessions will demystify the production of knowledge that has formed our understanding of Islam and Muslims by exploring the political, intellectual and structural legacies of colonialism and racism.


9.15am - Arrival and registration

9.30am - Opening remarks by Samia Rahman, Director, Muslim Institute

9.45am - Session One: The Colonial Constructing of Islam

How many of the core assumptions of Islam and Islamic history that many Muslims hold, are actually the result of impositions made during the colonial period? This talk will explore the orientalism of Goldziner and Hurgonje to show the success Westernese has had in telling Muslims what Islam is and what it will be.

Speaker: Hizer Mir

Chair: Sahil Warsi

11.00am - Break

11.30am - Session Two: We Need to Decolonise Islamic Science

The British empire was a catastrophe for the nations under its control, but there were benefits for science. Conquest and colonisation needed creative minds and inventive solutions, along with raw military power. What happens when we apply the same tests to the empires of Islam? 

Speaker: Ehsan Masood

Chair: Uzma Ali

12.45am - Break and Session Three: Representations of Islam in Museums

During this time the Museum of London invites you to share your thoughts on some examples of how Islam is represented in museums. There will also be an opportunity, for those who are interested, to sign up to hear more about the topic.

1.45pm - Session Four: Bodies, Sex and the Colonial Engineering of Desire

Were early Muslim societies more accepting of sexual diversity and gender variance than contemporary communities? Is colonialism the reason for the Muslim world’s puritanical neuroses surrounding sex?

Speaker: Leyla Jagiella

Chair: Moiz Bohra

3.00pm - Break

3.30pm - Session Five: Do Muslims Need Decolonising?

Was the ‘post’ in postcolonialism a fantasy? What went wrong with the postcolonial project? The end of colonialism only heralded disappointment, with new forces keeping existing structures firmly in place and dictatorships stepping into the vacuum. Is decolonising a fad of the West? What does it mean to a person living in the Muslim world?

Speakers: Kinsi Abdulleh, Hassan Mahamdallie and Dr Fatima Rajina

Chair: Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed