Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World

Authority in the Globalised Muslim World

A special series bringing together a diverse range of scholars and practitioners to discuss key questions of authority across the contemporary Muslim world.

celebrating 10 years of the Alwaleed Centre

As part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, this unique online series offers a platform to discuss current research on a topic that has long been and remains a central matter of interest for the study of contemporary Muslim societies.

A special lecture by Professor Masooda Bano and three thematic panels will capture some of the many ways by which authority is established, represented, negotiated, contested, and often reshaped within and across the worldwide geography of Muslim communities. The various contributions will also help question dichotomous understandings of authority based on assumed elite/grassroots, gender- or geography-based “centres” and “peripheries”.

The series will be delivered via Zoom between October and December 2020. The full programme can be found below, including further details on how to register for each event in the series.

If you have any questions about the confernece, please contact us directly: thealwaleedcentre@ed.ac.uk.


Thursday 8th October, 17.00-18.30

Masooda Bano (University of Oxford) 'Islamic Authority and Social Liberalisation in the Muslim World'.

For further information and to register for this event, click HERE.

Wednesday 21st October, 16.15- 18.00

Muslim Activism in Europe: Locating Authority/ies and Representation

For further information and to register for this event, click HERE.

Chair: Dr Alistair Hunter, University of Glasgow

Michael Munnik (University of Cardiff)

Fitting a Square Peg in a Round Hole: Authority and Representation of Islam in the News Media

Emanuelle Degli-Esposti (University of Cambridge)

‘Finding a “Shi‘a voice” in Europe: Religious equality, minority representation and the unsettling of secular humanitarianism in the discourse of “Shi‘a rights”’

Margreet van Es (Utrecht University)

The contextuality of “talking back”: Muslims and the pressure to denounce violent extremism in Norway and the Netherlands’

Khadijah Elshayyal (Hamad Bin Khalifa University/Alwaleed Centre, University of Edinburgh)

“Fundamental British Values” and the neutralisation of dissent in British Muslim activist discourse’

Thursday 12th November 2020, 17.00-18.45

Round table discussion: Muslim Female Religious Authority

For further information and to register for this event, click HERE.

Over the last decade, there has been a growing visibility of female Islamic authorities in Europe and globally, accompanied by increasing scholarly research and public debate on this topic. However, discussions in the field are often framed around questions which are not always relevant to the interests of female authorities. Moreover, some research in the area reproduces categories and binaries that risk stereotyping or flattening the varied nature of the work performed by female religious authorities. This round table brings together practitioners and researchers from across the globe to reflect on the following questions: what questions should we ask in our research on female religious leadership and why? What theories, concepts and frameworks do we engage with and what do they tell us about female authorities? How do we ensure that our research matters and is relevant to female religious authorities?

Round table Contributors:

Chair: Mulki Al-Sharmani (University of Helsinki)

Amina Inloes (The Islamic College)

Joseph Hill (University of Alberta)

David Kloos (KITLV)

Safia Shahid (Women's Muslim College)

Monday 7th December 2020, 17.00-18.45

Transnational and Global Religious Authority

For further information and to register for this event, click HERE.

Chair: Elvire Corboz (Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, University of Edinburgh)

Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen (University of Copenhagen)

‘Clericalism and anti-clericalism: Constituting the ulama as an object, in modern Arab states and publics – and in Western scholarship’

David Warren (Washington University in St. Louis)

‘Exporting Azhari Islam before the petrodollar age: Al-Azhar, the Wahhabi ulama of Najd and al-Ahsa, and the Azhari missionaries in the early / mid-twentieth century'

Gabrielle Angey-Sentuc (IRISSO/Université Paris Dauphine)

‘From a textual community to tears 2.0: Activating the deterritorialized “charismatic community” of the Gülen movement’

Simon Fuchs (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

‘“We carry an inerasable image in our hearts”: What Sunni Islamists learned about religious authority from the Iranian Revolution’