Faith Inspired yet Faith Neutral: The Case of the Hizmet Movement and the Dialogue Society

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

GSB.01, London Metropolitan University

Dr Ozcan Keles

Dr Ozcan Keles

Chairperson of the Dialogue Society

Ozcan is a non-practising Barrister and member of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn. He is the Chairperson of the Dialogue Society since 2008; was the Executive Chairperson of the same organisation between 2008 and 2014; the Executive Editor of the peer-reviewed biannual academic Journal of Dialogue Studies since 2014 and a full-time PhD candidate in the sociology of human rights at the University of Sussex. Between 2006 and 2009 he was a research student with Prof Kevin Boyle at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex, where he held the Scholarship Award of 2006. Ozcan was called to the Bar in 2005 after successfully completing the Bar course at the Inns of Court School of Law. He obtained his LLM in Human Rights Law from SOAS, University of London, in 2002.

Ozcan Keles, Executive Director of the Dialogue Society, was invited to hold a speech at an international conference entitled, “The Power of Religion: Towards Peace and Moderation or Violence and Extremism.” The Conference which was held at London Metropolitan University welcomed a handpicked selection of prominent presenters including Professor the Baroness Afshar OBE, Professor Tariq Ramadan and Professor Ian Linden, Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Ozcan Keles discussed the importance of being faith inspired yet faith neutral, a powerful model adopted by the Dialogue Society. The talk expressed the inspirations behind the charity’s community projects and referred to the work of the wider Hizmet Movement first established in Turkey and now attracting Muslim and non Muslim volunteers all over the world.

Conference Summary & Aims

Recently, especially since September 11, 2001, crucial questions have been posed concerning the ability and commitment of religious leaders and religious communities to help prevent and delegitimise violence and develop cooperation and peace. Religious leaders, organisations and communities should, it is widely agreed, seek to develop improved capability and capacity to build peace and cooperation. How successful are they? Religion-based/linked conflicts appear to be growing. Why? What can religious leaders, organisations and communities do to improve things?

The key aim of this international conference is to find out how best to encourage inter-religious peace and cooperation. Speakers, including Haleh Afshar, Marc Gopin, Tariq Ramadan and Amin Saikal, will focus on how religious leaders, organisations and communities can challenge violent extremist religious ideologies and practically support pro-peace voices and activities.

Religious values associated with peace/cooperation and violent extremism are mutually exclusive: if one gets stronger the other grows weaker. Violent extremist religious norms and values will ultimately be negated by concentrating efforts on building peace and cooperation through improved dialogue and understanding. The goal of the conference is to present recommendations to religious entities and governments to derail religious extremism and stimulate peace and cooperation.

The Power of Religion: Towards Peace and Moderation or Violence and Extremism? brings together scholars, activists, religious thinkers, policy makers and journalists to focus on practical steps to improve inter-religious cooperation and to derail religious extremism and violence.

Attendance Details:

Conference Fee: £250
Early Bird Rate: £195 (available until 31.03.11)
PG Student Rate: £195
LGIR Research Students Rate: Free

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