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Understanding Islam - Benedict XVI Centre event

Wednesday 8th March 2017


Understanding Islam, and its relationship with a free society, a free economy and freedom of religion

Location: Shannon Suite, St Mary's University

This event brings together experts - both Muslims and non-Muslims - to discuss the relationship between the Islamic faith and a free society, a free economy and a free political system. This is an issue that is much disputed and not widely understood. Given the threats to world peace arising from conflict in the middle east as well as the calamities afflicting many parts of the world that are beset by war and terrorism, this subject could not be more timely or more important.

All are invited to the next Benedict XVI Centre event. If you wish to come, please let Philip Booth know on Please also let Philip know if you intend to come and then subsequently change your mind for catering and room layout purposes. 

Timetable: 3pm-3:30pm: Tea, coffee, welcome 3:30pm-4:30pm: Panel one

The relationship between Islamic thought and a free society, a free economy and a free polity

Chairman: Mohammed Amin MBE FRSA MA FCA AMCT CTA (Fellow)

Speakers: Azhar Aslam and Benedikt Koehler (speakers will speak for 15 minutes each and then there will be general discussion) 

Azhar Aslam is a founder member of the Istanbul Network for Liberty and chief executive of EO Vision21 Foundation, a Pakistani-based NGO. He is the Program Director of its Speed Literacy Program, with a mission to eradicate illiteracy in Pakistan. His writing includes The Individual, freedom of choice and tolerance in the Quran in Islamic Foundations of a Free Society.

Benedikt Koehler is the editor of A History of Financial Disasters 1857-1923 and is the author of biographies of Ludwig Bamberger, one of the founders of Germany's Deutsche Bank, and of nineteenth-century political philosopher Adam Muller. He is also a scholar of early Islamic thought and author of Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism

4:30pm-4:50pm: Break for tea and coffee

4:50pm-5:50pm: Panel Two

Prospects for economic and political freedom and for freedom of religion in North African and Middle-Eastern Countries

Chairman: Dr. Usama Hasan, Head of Islamic Studies, the Quilliam Foundation

Speakers: Mehmet Asutay and Peter Welby (speakers will speak for 15 minutes each and then there will be questions from the chair and general discussion)

Mehmet Asutay is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Political Economy & Finance at Durham University Business School and Director of the Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance. He is also Managing Editor of the Review of Islamic Economics and Honorary Treasurer of BRISMES and the International Association for Islamic Economics (IAIE)

Peter Welby is the Managing Editor of the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics. He joined the Foundation in 2013. Prior to that, he spent two years in Egypt where he studied Arabic. He has also lived in Yemen. He has written for Prospect, Newsweek, the Spectator, the Washington Examiner and the Independent, has appeared on the Huffington Post web channel HuffPost Live, and his research has been featured in the Daily Beast.

5:50pm: End of event

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Wednesday 8th March 2017

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For more information about this event please email or call 020 8240 8219.

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