Malaysia Think Tank London (MTT) and Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS) invites you to a discussion about the recently published second edition of the book ‘Who Needs an Islamic State?’
Speaker: Dr Abdelwahab El-Affendi
Date: Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Time: 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Venue: Seminar Room II, ISEAS, 30 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Pasir Panjang, Singapore.
Modern debates on the “Islamic state” are conducted against two interconnected historical developments. One is the advent of the colonial era, which saw the bulk of Muslim lands subjected to invasion and control by alien powers. The second, which was a corollary of the first, was the collapse of the caliphate and the conversion of Islam into a stateless religion for the first time in its history.
It did not matter that the caliphate had for centuries been no more than a fiction, for it has remained a reassuring fiction, making its demise very traumatic for Muslims. The disappearance of the caliph as a formal religio-political authority has opened the way for the rise of Islamist groups and other “freelance” actors to assume the role of self-styled religious authorities. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, as religious authority in Islam has always been fluid and contested. However, the problem is that most of these movements appear to favour an authoritarian vision of the state.
The concept of the Islamic state should therefore be abandoned in favour of a concept of the “state for the Muslims”.
To register, click here: http://www.iseas.edu.sg/iframes/16apr08.htm
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