Women, Islam and Peacebuilding


March 10-11 2011
West Hall Room 135


The media is filled with images of war, violence and gender discrimination in the Muslim world. Yet behind the headlines, there are ignored stories of ordinary Muslims around the world who are drawing on their faith and practice of Islam to build peace, engage in dialogue, resolve conflict, and educate and empower women in leadership roles. Theologically, historically, and sociologically, Islam has a rich tradition of fostering peace, engendering inclusive communities, and encouraging gender and ethnic equity through concepts such as justice (adl), beneficence (ihsan) and wisdom (hikmah) that promote cooperation, respect, and non-violence.

This conference seeks to promote a broad conversation about these issues by bringing together scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplinary and social locations for theoretical, normative, and empirical reflection on these and other questions:

  • What are the theological and social principles of peace in Islam?
  • How do Muslims negotiate and practice peace based on theology and Islamic knowledge?
  • What are Muslim voices saying in culturally diverse Muslim communities to foster peace?
  • What is or ought to be the role of Muslim women in engendering peace around the world?
  • What new insights and approaches are needed to understand and evaluate women's agency in peacebuilding across a variety of arenas, including the political and the everyday?

By engaging in a conversation on theological and hermeneutical issues relevant to understanding Islamic approaches to peace in conjunction with an exploration of the everyday practices of peacebuilding among Muslims around the world, we seek to address and question the existing Western popular narratives and juxtapose them with Islamic perspectives and practices toward offering a grounded understanding of peace in Islam.

The conference, directed by Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies Yasmin Saikia, is part of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict's larger efforts to bring attention to the dynamics of religion, conflict and peace in the contemporary world, particularly on the critical role that gender plays in the formulation and representation of these dynamics and their solutions.

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Miriam Cooke “Does Gender Make a Difference?"
Asna Husin "Negotiating Peace: Women on the Stage"
Souad Ali "The Role of Muslim Women in Engendering Peace: Sudan and Nigeria"
Karim Crow "Islamic Values & Models for Peacebuilding and Security: Transforming Muslim Thought and Practice"
Abdullah Antepli "Religion, Violence And Peace Making: A Muslim Perspective"
Arzoo Osanloo "Crime and Reconciliation: Women’s Peace Initiatives in the Islamic Republic of Iran"
Shahla Talebi "For the Sake of Life: Mourning Women in Postrevolutionary Iran"
Elora Halim Chowdhury "Transnationalism Reversed: Engaging Religion, Development, and Women's Organizing in Bangladesh"
S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana "From the Local to the Global: Women as Peace Agent"
Mukhtar Mai "Women’s Rights are Human Rights: A Conversation with Mukhtar Mai"
Richard C. Martin "Negotiating Islamic Feminism: Echoes of Theological Disputes in Modern Islam"