Programs & Events

List of Upcoming Events and Programs

Sectarianism in Muslim communities and Islamophobia: Two sides of the same coin

Speakers: Prof Mark Woodward, Fiyaz Mughal OBE and Hani Mohamed 

Date: Friday 13 October 2017 

Time: 18:45-20:30

Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, Marylebone, London W1H 4LP

Two of the greatest challenges facing Muslim communities are sectarianism and Islamophobia. But what many don't realise is that they are two sides of the same coin. Both involve fear and suspicion which are a slippery slope to divided communities, confrontational politics and violence. Anyone who thinks sectarianism is an issue only affecting Muslims in the Middle East or south Asia is in for a wake up call; increasingly it is being seen and felt right here in the UK.

Stress however has been shown to bring people together. For Muslims a shared belief in Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) should unite the Ummah. And across religions and beliefs, shared values including integrity, compassion, dedication to peace and progress should lead to a respect for diversity.

Rather than simply being passive victims we want to learn about some of the positive ways through which people have responded to divisive tendencies. Our speakers will share examples from their own research, which include:

  • Focusing on Islam as a religion of love for God and all of his creation.
  • Using rich Muslim culture, including art, music, dance and drama as bridge building tools.
  • Philanthropy and public service: alleviating poverty, disaster relief and supporting less fortunate members of society.
  • Uniting to combat social problems across religious boundaries, including drug abuse, human trafficking, and communal violence.
  • Speaking and acting in positive ways to offer people who are stuck in negativity opportunities for change.

This talk brings together an internationally diverse panel of speakers who have been studying these issues in Africa, Asia and Europe for nearly a decade.  Join us for what promises to be an informative and thought provoking discussion, and come ready to share your views and ideas in the audience discussion!


Professor Dr Mark Woodward, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University

Prof Woodward is an Associate Professor at The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He was also a Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia. He has a BA, MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on religion-state-society relations and religion and conflict in Southeast Asia. He has published more than 50 scholarly articles in the US, Europe, Indonesia and Singapore, many co-authored with Southeast Asian scholars. He is currently directing a trans-disciplinary, multi-country project on counter-radical Muslim discourse.

Fiyaz Mughal OBE, Founder, TellMAMA

Fiyaz has been instrumental in setting up and building the national interfaith organisation Faith Matters. He also founded the national hate crime project, TellMAMA and was the Director of this nationally-recognised faith hate crime reporting project from 2011-2016. He set up the reporting procedures and the classifications of incidents, lobbied central government, police and crime commissioners, MPs and EU stakeholders, and successfully implemented a national reporting process. In 2009 he was honoured with an OBE for his work with communities. He is regularly featured on TV and in print media.

Chair: Miss Hani Mohamed, CEO/Founder, Alertist

Hani was formerly a Lecturer in Media, Journalism and Mass Communication at Monash and Murdoch Universities in Australia. She is the Founder and CEO of Alertist, a consultancy that organises interfaith, intrafaith and peacebuilding conferences and dialogues internationally. She has organised these at the National University of Singapore, the Center for Democracy and Development in Nigeria, King's College London, the Universities of Exeter and Durham, as well as at various NGOs across south east Asia.

Hani has been selected by the political foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to participate in various interfaith initiatives in Indonesia and the Philippines. She has attended political dialogues in Berlin and at the European Commission in Brussels. She has spoken at various international conferences such as at The American Creative Association, 'Women in the Community: Participative Leadership' at the Singapore Management University and she has presented a paper on 'Religious Intolerance' at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University in the US. Hani also produced and directed a documentary film, 'Forest Brothel: Human Trafficking in a Borderless World.'


Additional details

Free entrance. All welcome. Prayer space available. Street parking free from 18:30. Doors open at 18:45 and the talk begins at 19:00. If you have any questions, please contact the event organiser: