Director, Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Mumbai
Dr. Radwan A. Masmoudi
President, Center of the Study of Islam & Democracy
Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf
Malaysia Chair of Islam in Southeast Asia, GeorgetownUniversity
Tuesday, 20 April 2010, 2:30-4:30pm
Please join us for the launch of Stimson’s publication, Muslim Indians: Struggle for Inclusion. Joining us in addition to the author, Amit A. Pandya, will be advocate Irfan Engineer, Director of the Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution in Mumbai, Dr. Radwan A. Masmoudi, President of the Center of the Study of Islam & Democracy, and Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf, Malaysia Chair of Islam in Southeast Asia at the PrinceAlwaleedBinTalalCenter for Muslim-Christian Understanding at GeorgetownUniversity.
The publication draws on work conducted since December 2007 by Stimson and the Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution to better understand and describe the priorities, thinking, and concerns of Muslims. We have conducted focus groups in 14 cities and hundreds of interviews throughout all quarters of India. Our interlocutors have represented a wide range of professions and economic status, and the widest possible variety of sectarian identities and religious and political ideologies.
The Muslim community in India is, with notable exceptions, disproportionately poor and uneducated, and suffers impediments in access even to the scant social resources available to the poor. It also suffers from increasing hostility in popular attitudes, discrimination at the hands of police and other officials, biased educational curricula, tendentious views of history, and the consequences of cultural incomprehension. Although Muslims in India have for the most part remained patriotic and loyal, there is a looming sense within and outside the community that the sense of marginalization—and the insecurity born of discrimination and bias—could soon result in unmanageable sources of grievance and instability.
Despite the fact that the Muslim Indian population is almost as great as the entire population of Pakistan and greater than that of major predominantly-Muslim nations such as Bangladesh and Egypt, Muslim Indians remain relatively ill-understood and under-studied. Their preoccupations and predicament are little-known among outsiders and non-Muslim Indians. There is even a sense among Muslim Indians themselves that they do not have a handle on what is happening in the very varied Muslim communities throughout India.This represents a particular blind spot for US security policy, given its interest in understanding the increasingly transnational character of the security challenges posed by the development of violent and militantly anti-state Islamist ideologies.
Amit A. Pandya is Chief of Staff at the International Labor Affairs Bureau of the US Department of Labor. He served between 2007 and 2010 as Director of the StimsonCenter’s Regional Voices: Transnational Challenges project. Pandya is a South Asia expert and international lawyer. He has been Counsel to the Government Operations and Foreign Affairs Committees of the House of Representatives, and held senior positions at the Departments of Defense and State and at the US Agency for International Development. He has also practiced law and worked in various civil and human rights nonprofit organizations, and was formerly an ethnographer and teacher.
Irfan Engineer is Director of the Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution (IPSCR) in Mumbai. The Institute was established in January 2007 under the aegis of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai. The overarching goal of the Institute is to create enabling conditions for peace and security by: creating awareness in the society of factors affecting peace; addressing myths attributed to religious teachings; research and study into communal and sectarian conflicts; capacity building and peace advocacy, especially among youth; and, supporting women’s empowerment. Mr. Engineer is a prominent social activist and advocate and is also the Associate Editor of the IndianJournal of Secularism.
Radwan A. Masmoudi is Founder and President of the Center of the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID), a Washington-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting freedom, democracy, and good governance in the Arab/Muslim world.He has also been the Editor-in-Chief of the Center’s quarterly publication, Muslim Democrat. Mr. Masmoudi has written and published several papers on the subjects of democracy, diversity, human rights, and tolerance in Islam. Mr. Masmoudi has also written and published several articles on these subjects and has appeared on CNN, Al-Jazeera, Fox News, Algerian TV, and MBC. Mr. Masmoudi has a Masters and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf is currently Visiting Associate Professor and Malaysia Chair of Islam in Southeast Asia at the PrinceAlwaleedBinTalalCenter for Muslim-Christian Understanding at GeorgetownUniversity. He has been living in Thailand for the last 21 years and is Program Director of the Department of Religion at AssumptionUniversity in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Yusuf has contributed to the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (2009); Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2003); Encyclopedia of Qur'an (2002); and Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (1995).
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