In Rivals in the Gulf: Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Abdullah bin Bayah, and the Qatar-UAE Contest over the Arab Spring and the Gulf Crisis (2021), David Warren elucidated how the ulama in the Middle East played an important role in shaping Islam to fit the foreign policy objectives and state-branding of Arab Gulf states, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar. Aside from these countries, other Muslim-majority governments also have a powerful incentive to insert Islam into their foreign policy, use religious ideas to increase their prestige, and promote their interests abroad – to deploy, in other words, what Peter Mandaville and Shadi Hamid call “Islamic soft power”. Having explored how states in the Middle East leverage on “sacred capital” as a form of soft power in the previous webinar, this session pivots to Southeast Asia, with a focus on how Muslims in the region contemplate about religiosity and identity. This webinar also seeks to understand whether the recent shifts in Islamic discourse in the Middle East and West have had any impact on Islam in our region.
About the Speakers
Prof Noorhaidi Hassan is Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Indonesian International Islamic University (UIII) as well as Professor of Islam and politics at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University of Yogyakarta and UIII. His research interests include Salafism, Islamic radicalism, identity politics, Muslim middle class, religious diversity, and youth. He obtained his PhD from Utrecht University (2005), MPhil from the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (2000), and MA from Leiden University (1999), all of which were awarded cum laude. He was a post-doc fellow at National University of Singapore (2006-2007), research fellow at KITLV (2007-2009), and visiting research fellow at Nanyang Technological University (2009-2010). In addition, he was a visiting professor at EHESS (2010), Institute of Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences (2019), and Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World at the University of Edinburgh (2022). Over the last ten years, he has led several international research projects as a principal investigator, in collaboration with Georg August University of Göttingen; Netherlands Interuniversity Center for Islamic Studies; S Rajaratnam School of International Studies; Austrian Academy of Sciences; Norwegian Center for Human Rights; and Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University. He was also recently appointed as a member of Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI). His recent publications include “Salafism in Indonesia: Transnational Islam, violent activism, and cultural resistance” in Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia.
Dr Ahmad El-Muhammady is Assistant Professor at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC), International Islamic University Malaysia. Currently, he is an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), The Hague. He is also involved in an ongoing project to develop Malaysia’s National Action Plan for Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism (NAPPCVE) initiated by the Institute of Public Security of Malaysia (IPSOM), under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA). Since 2011, he has worked closely with the Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division, Royal Malaysia Police and Prison Department to implement the Rehabilitation and Deradicalisation programs for individuals detained under terrorism laws in Malaysia. Ahmad is also a member of Deradicalisation Panel and Expert/Specialist appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs for cases investigated under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012 and Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015.