Political Islam's impact on integration in Europe

Tue, 29 Oct 2019 18:00 in Discussion Forums

Venue: Oxford
Date: Tuesday, 29th October 2019
Time: 18:00-20:00


  • Prof Anwar Alam, Senior Fellow, Policy Perspective Foundation
  • Dr Paul Weller, Research Fellow in Religion and Society, Regent's Park College
  • Dr Ismail Mesut Sezgin, Research Assistant in Religion and Society, Regent's Park College


Dialogue Society Oxford Branch is pleased to organise a panel discussion on the question of why young Muslims, particularly those exposed to relatively secular life styles in the West find political Islam and in some cases its radical forms appealing in the formation of their understanding of what it means to be a Muslim in our times. This increasing appeal of political Islam further raises the question of whether the emerging Islamic contestations in Muslim societies have the requisite conceptual resources and tools to thoroughly de-legitimise the discourse of political Islam, behind which some young Muslims politically mobilise to manifest their Muslimness that sometimes amounts to theologically justifying and using violence.

Note: Prof Anwar Alam's recently published book "For the Sake of Allah: The Origin, Development and Discourse of The Gulen Movement " will be made available for purchase at the event and he will be signing copies of his book following the event.

Speaker Biographies

Anwar Alam is a Senior Fellow with Policy Perspectives Foundation, New Delhi. Earlier, he served as full Professor in the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Science, Zirve University, Gaziantep, Turkey; Professor and Director of the Centre for West Asian Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI); Assistant and Associate Professor at the Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi; and Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. He has been awarded a number of long- and short-term fellowships, including the International Visitor Programme (Islamic) Scholarship, United States (2002); the Indo-French Social Scientist Exchange Programme Fellowship (2003, 2010); the Alexandor Von Humboldt Post Doctoral Fellowship, Germany (2004-2006); and the AVH Renewed Research Stay Fellowship, Germany (June 2016). He was Visiting Professor at Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey (September 2010–August 2011).

Dr. Alam's recent publications include Muslim Minorities in Europe and India: Politics of Accommodation of Islamic Identities (co-edited, July 2016); Arab Spring: Reflections on Political Changes in the Arab World and its Future (ed. 2014); “Emergence of Muslim Middle Class in Post-Independence India and Its Political Orientations,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 35, 1 (2015); “The Roots and Praxis of Fethullah Gulen’s Educational Discourse,” Hizmet Studies Review 2, 3 (2015); “The Arab Spring: A View From India” in Routledge Handbook of the Arab Spring: Rethinking Democratisation (2014); and “Islam and Violence,” GITAM Journal of Gandhian Studies 3, 1 (2014). His area of research interests includes International Politics, Indian politics, Politics in Middle East, Political Theory, Religion and Politics, Political Islam, and Muslim Societies.

Paul Weller's academic work explores issues in religion, state and society relationships, with special emphasis on matters of religion or belief, discrimination and equality, human rights and freedom of religion or belief, especially in the UK and Europe. His other key areas of interest are religions and statistics, inter-religious and inter-convictional dialogue, the teaching of the Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen, and the development and practice of the Hizmet movement inspired by his teaching. Much of his professional work in these areas has been within a broadly ‘Religious Studies’ approach, utilising a range of social scientific methods. He also works more theologically on the contemporary interpretation and application of Baptist Christian theological traditions of freedom and witness.

As an undergraduate, he read Theology (BA, 1997; MA, 1981) at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, followed by postgraduate studies in Social and Pastoral Theology at the University of Manchester (MPhil, 1988), and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds (PhD, 1996). He also hold a Certificate in Education, Further and Higher Education (1992) from the Council for National Academic Awards/Derbyshire College of Higher Education, and a Managing Safely Certificate (2006) from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

In 2009, he received a DLitt from the University of Derby for ‘distinguished contribution to inter-religious dialogue and pluralism in the changing religious landscape of the United Kingdom’. Alongside his part-time College post, he is Emeritus Professor of the University of Derby, and part-time Professor in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University.

Dr Ismail Mesut Sezgin, born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey was awarded his PhD at Leeds Beckett University on the subject of Moral Responsibility in Contemporary Islam. His is a research assistant in Religion and Society, Regent's Park College, Oxford and a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility at Leeds Business School. Dr Sezgin's research expertise and interests in relation to political Islam, extremism, ethics and religious movements (the Hizmet Movement in particular) have led to him speaking at conferences internationally and offering comment and interviews on various media platforms, including the BBC's Hardtalk.

Dr Sezgin is also Co-Founder of the Centre for Hizmet Studies, a London-based non-profit organisation providing information, research analysis and critique on the Hizmet Movement, a civil society grassroots​ movement originating out of Turkey and active in over 160 countries worldwide.