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Can Religious Media Bring Peace? British Council Debate

Yoav Galai ( & Ben O'Loughlin (

Monday, 16 December 2013 from 18:30 to 19:30 (GMT)

Can Religious Media Bring Peace? British Council Debate

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Event Details

Opening keynote: Khaled Hroub, Northwestern-Qatar University

Followed by open discussion. Attendees include Lord Nazir Ahmed, Faisal Devji, Daud Abdullah, and Jonathan GIthens-Mazer. 

Sponsored by the British Council USA Bridging Voices programme

While an excess amount of media attention and government resources are regularly expended on acts of violence and terrorism emanating from Muslim populations, less focus is given to the critical role Muslims institutions play in facilitating conflict resolution, peace-building, and social reconciliation. In Bosnia, Rwanda, Egypt, and Pakistan, it is often the case that Muslim religious authorities take lead roles in mitigating violence. Because they regularly confront perpetuators of violence on theological and moral grounds, they often put themselves, their families, and associates at high-risk. What are the experiences of policy makers working with Muslim religious authorities in these vulnerable and dangerous contexts?

These historically important yet paradoxical roles of religious networks have been amplified by the near universal spread of digital communications technology in the twenty-first century. As so much of the day-to-day work of governance and social change move online, so do religious organizations, using the World Wide Web to build coalitions or “manufacture constituencies” to pursue social change. Growing concerns over online radicalization by radical Muslim groups, as well growing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for development and security in unstable and transitioning communities demonstrate the potential significance these trends will have for the future of international conflict.

Our key questions are:

- Can Muslim religious authorities, institutions and local networks provide solutions to the shared global challenges of social conflict and political violence?

- What, if any, role do digital communications technologies play in this process?

Dr. Khaled Al-Hroub is professor in residence of the faculty of liberal arts at Northwestern University in Qatar. He is Director of the Cambridge Arab Media Project (CAMP), University of Cambridge. He authored Hamas: A Beginners Guide (2006/2010), Hamas: Political Thought and Practice (2000), and edited Political Islam: Context versus Ideology (2011) and Religious Broadcasting in the Middle East (2012). In Arabic he published Fragility of Ideology and Might of Politics (2010), In Praise of Revolution (2012), Tattoo of Cities (literary collection, 2008) and Enchantress of Poetry (poems, 2008). He is currently writing a book on a Critique of the Arab Renaissance Project.

NB: You are advised to reach the visitors' entrance by 6.10 and bring your ticket. Security in parliament can take 15-20 minutes. 

Do you have questions about Can Religious Media Bring Peace? British Council Debate? Contact Yoav Galai ( & Ben O'Loughlin (

When & Where

House of Lords
Committee Room 4
SW1A 0PW London
United Kingdom

Monday, 16 December 2013 from 18:30 to 19:30 (GMT)

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Yoav Galai ( & Ben O'Loughlin (

This is the first workshop collaboration between Dean Starkman, Peter Geoghegan and Royal Holloway's New Political Communication Unit. 

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