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About the Conference

The Department of Islamic Studies of the University of Vienna is issuing a call for papers for an international conference on "Islamic and Politics: The Illusion of an Islamic State".

Since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, many Muslims have sought to theorize, recover or establish an ideal state modelled on the Prophet's community in Medina. The notion of an ideal or utopian Islamic state later became an integral element of the program advanced by 20-21st century Islamist thinkers and movements. Current developments show that representatives of political Islam blame the West for the failure of this Islamic utopia to achieve realization. While the form posited for this imagined Islamic state differs across diverse Islamic movements including Wahabbis, Salafis, Neo-Salafis, and Extremists, strategies for implementing Islamic political utopias have included various top-down and grass roots approaches as well as the deplolyment of violence and terror. In the meantime alarm spreads as Muslim youth are being attracted by the recruitment activities of certain organisations and movements such as ISIS/Da'esh, posing a security threat within Western democratic societies.

This conference will encourage the academic analysis and discussion of these developments and their concomitant challenges from the perspectives of diverse disciplines including sociology, political science and international relations, theology and Islamic studies, and security studies. We aim to foster international awareness and collaboration across academic specializations and expertise so as to generate a useful contribution to the existing literature.

Suggested themes are as follows:

  • What is the theological background of political Islam?
  • How is the use of violence legitimated with reference to Islamic teaching?
  • How is the tension between Islam and democracy conceived, argued, or resolved?
  • How do diverse Islamic organisations theologize the establishment of an Islamic State?
  • How is the violence in the name of Islam valorized so as to recruit young people to extremist movements?
  • Which Islamic organisations are the major political actors in Europe?
  • How are the financial structures of Islamist organisations organized?
  • How is a theology of violence imparted and promoted?
  • What measures are effective in countering violence and promoting de-radicalisation?

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