Radio Free Europe and Civic Institute with support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and American Center organized the conference WHAT UNITES AND WHAT DIVIDES US? TOUGH QUESTIONS FOR ISLAM AND THE WEST on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 in the RFE/RL building, Vinohradska 1, Prague 1.
The relationship between the Islamic world and the West is one of the most pressing issues confronting the modern world. While neither the West nor the countries where Muslim dominate are homogenous in culture, politics or even religious thought, there are values, history and interests that unite these worlds, but that also divide them. As the West grapples with terrorism in the name of Islam, and how to accept, assimilate or accommodate communities of Muslims within its borders, Islamic thinkers fighting their own battles within. Does Islam support or condemn random attacks on civilians, the subjugation of women, and even suicidal murder?
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Civic Institute, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung and the American Cultural Center, convened a group of Muslim and Western thinkers to discuss these difficult questions.
Alexandr Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs,
Jeffrey Gedmin, RFE/RL President,
Roman Joch, Civic Institute Director,
Joyce Davis, RFE/RL,
Mustafa Akyol, Bosphorus University, Turkey,
Alexander Ritzmann, European Foundation for Democracy,
Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute, Middle East Quarterly,
Zdenek Müller, specialist in Islamic and Arab Studies,
Akbar Ayazi, Radio Free Afghanistan,
Muhamed Jusić, Bosnian journalist,
Daniel Raus, Czech Radio 6,
Vlado Azinović, RFE/RL Balkan Service,
Abubakar Siddique, Radio Free Afghanistan,
Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs
U.S Ambassador to the Czech Republic
Richard Graber (tbd)
President of Civic Institute
9:15 a.m. PRESENTATION:
WHO SPEAKS FOR ISLAM?
PowerPoint presentation on the confusing voices of Islam…
9:20 a.m. FIRST PANEL: THE VIEW FROM THE WEST
ARE MUSLIM VALUES COMPATIBLE WITH THOSE OF THE WEST?
Jeffrey Gedmin, RFE/RL President (tbd)
Alexander Ritzmann, European Foundation for Democracy
Zdenek Müller, specialist in Islamic and Arab Studies
Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute
10:45-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. SECOND PANEL: THE VIEW FROM ISLAM
ARE MUSLIM VALUES COMPATIBLE WITH THOSE OF THE WEST
Akbar Ayazi, Director, Radio Free Afghanistan
Muhammad Jusić, Bosnian journalist reporting on Islamic affairs
Mustafa Akyol, Turkish journalist, specializes in reports on religious-secular divide
Abubakar Siddiqui, Aghan Service, Islam Study Group, and specialist in Islamic
movements in Pakistan and Afghanistan
12:30-2:00 p.m. LUNCH
2:00 p.m. THIRD PANEL:
WHAT UNITES US AND WHAT DIVIDES US
Joyce Davis, RFE/RL Associate Director of Broadcasting
Mustafa Aykol, Muhammad Jusic, Michael Rubin, Alexander Ritzmann, Zdenek Mueller, Akbar Ayazi, Abubakar Siddiqui
Why do many Muslims reject being called “moderate?”
What about Sharia law’s criminal punishments and human rights? Are they compatible?
Why isn’t there more of an outcry among Muslims over death threats toward those who change their religion or criticize Islam?
Are European societies failing the test in managing Muslim communities in their midst?
Is there a conflict between Western ideals of free speech, and religious freedom, and overt expressions of Muslim religious identity?
Why are even educated moderate Muslims facing problems in travel and immigration?
3:15-3:30 p.m. Coffee Break
FINAL PANEL: Covering Islam:
RFE/RL’s Projects to Stimulate Dialogue
Excerpts from RFE/RL programming in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Bosnia
Joyce Davis RFE/RL Associate Director of Broadcasting
Vlado Azinovic, RFE/RL SSALS service
Moayed al-Haidari, RFI Baghdad bureau chief
Charles Recknagel, Central News
Kathleen Rodolfo, RFE/RL Regional Analyst, Iraq
4:45 p.m. CLOSING REMARKS:
Jeffrey Gedmin, RFE/RL President
Roman Joch, Director, Civic Institute
www.rferl.org www.obcinst.cz www.kas.de/prag