Ansari Institute Hosts Roundtable on Global Islamism

Author: Rebekah Go

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In late October, the Ansari Institute hosted over 20 scholars and practitioners from the United States and abroad to discuss political Islam in a changing world. The convening was the culmination of a multi-year project of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue funded by the Henry Luce Foundation whereby conversations were held to discuss the future of Islamism in a changing global context.

With a carefully crafted agenda the two-day roundtable was developed with the intent to cover several distinct and yet related topics and included conversations around Islam in the New Geopolitics, American Islam and Culture Wars, and Reformulating Muslim Politics. Participants operated under the Chatham House Rule in that their comments would not be attributed and even their participation would remain anonymous. Sessions opened with brief opening provocations by two scholars. The floor was then opened for a wide-ranging discussion representing a variety of perspectives that were often in creative tension with each other.

During the day and a half packed with discussions, participants voiced distinct views as to what the future of Muslim politics might look like on a global scale given shifting geopolitical orders and the influence of the culture wars. While there was a general agreement that Islamic thought is currently being revisited in ways that are not too dissimilar from insider conversations taking place in other communities of faith, there was no general consensus on whether a new orthodoxy might emerge.

Adjacent to these conversations, the Ansari Institute was also pleased to host a public panel: Global Muslim Politics in a Time of Culture War. To a packed house, scholars discussed parallels between culture wars raging in Western societies and Muslim majority countries as well as the future of Global Islamism.

A final report summarizing this and other conversations that they have hosted throughout the world is forthcoming from the Hollings Center for International Dialogue.