Conference on Minorities in Islam/Muslims as Minorities

October 18-20, 2012

The presence of religious, ethnic, and other minorities in Muslim-majority contexts challenges conceptions of citizenship, community, and the state premised on Islamic identity. At the same time, nearly one-third of the world’s Muslims live as minorities in 149 countries, facing diverse, complex challenges as they attempt to maintain their Islamic identity while negotiating their socio-political context.

A body of scholarship on Muslim minorities is growing in parallel with analyses of the ways that contemporary Islamic thought seeks to account for the incorporation of non-Muslims in Muslim majority communities and politics. Despite their intertwined subjects, these two areas of research tend to be treated separately: while the spread of Muslims across the globe has diversified their experiences, as Peter Mandaville argues, diasporic communities, transnational social movements, and modern information and communication technologies contribute to a wider Muslim public sphere. Islamic thinkers who attempt to address “Muslim concerns” must realize that while one part of their community is grappling with diverse minorities in their midst, another is dealing with their own experiences as minorities. This conference and the events around it aim to enrich our understanding of the experience of Muslims as minorities and with minorities as a significant, widely misunderstood facet of our common human condition in an ever-changing, increasingly global world. It draws on the incredible number of local scholars working on this topic and taps into heightened interest on the subject, as we witness a growing and increasingly diverse Muslim population in the United States and North Carolina.

Sponsored by the following: the Humanities Institute, The Provost’s Office of Global Affairs, the Middle East and South Asia Studies Program, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, The Carswell Fund of the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Political Science’s C.H. Richards Fund, and the  Center for International Studies.
We invite students, scholars, community members, and all those interested in the topic to attend and join in the discussion. All public events related to the conference will be held in the Annenburg Forum of Carswell Hall.