March 6, 2017

Islamic Peace Studies Inaugural Conference: Peace in Islam, Islam in Peace

March 16-17 (Thursday and Friday) – 8:30am
Conference and Presentations
International Institute, 1636 SSWB, 1080 S. University Avenue, Ann Arbor MI 48109

March 16 (Thursday) – 7:30pm
Keynote Lecture featuring Abdullahi Ahmed An’Naim, “The Synergy of Discourse and Action for Peace: An Islamic Perspective”
Michigan League, 911 N. University Avenue, Ann Arbor MI 48109

March 18 (Saturday) – 11:00am
Community Presentations and Reception
Arab American National Museum (AANM), 13624 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126

The Islamic Peace Studies Initiative, in partnership with the Arab American National Museum (AANM), will hold its inaugural conference titled, “Peace in Islam, Islam in Peace” from March 16-18, 2017. The three-day event will bring scholars and community members together to share ideas and discussions around the field of Islam and peace, addressing topics such as the centrality of conflict resolution in the tradition, the roles and identities of Muslim women, and scripture and theology. Some of the scholars presenting at the conference:

Elizabeth Thompson is the Mohamed S. Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace at American University in Washington DC. She is a scholar of imperialism, citizenship, and social movements in the modern Middle East. Her most recent book, Justice Interrupted (Harvard, 2013) studies struggles for justice against the growth of tyranny, inequality, and foreign intervention since the late 19th century. It demonstrates that Islamic movements share a history with secular political movements and that most Middle Eastern peoples have mobilized, historically, around liberal goals. Thompson’s first book, Colonial Citizens (Columbia, 2000), won two national prizes. It examined how the conditions of foreign rule gendered the construction of political space and diminished female citizens’ access to rights and to state welfare. Thompson is now working on a third book, with support from the Carnegie Corporation and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. After Lawrence: Woodrow Wilson and the Promise of Arab Democracy is under contract from Grove Press for publication in 2019.  

A. Rashied Omar earned his MA and PhD in religious studies from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and an MA in peace studies from the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, where he is currently a core faculty member. Omar’s research and teaching focus on the roots of religious violence and the potential of religion for constructive social engagement and interreligious peacebuilding. He is co-author with David Chidester et al. of Religion in Public Education: Options for a New South Africa (UCT Press, 1994), a contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding (Oxford University Press, 2015), and a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (Macmillan Reference USA, 2016). In addition to being a university-based researcher (field research advisor to Kroc Institute’s master’s students in Cape Town, South Africa) and teacher, Omar serves as Imam (religious minister) at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa, a trustee of the Healing of Memories Institute in South Africa, a member of the Interfaith Council for Ethics Education, Arigatou International in Japan, and an advisory board member for Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa.

Mohammad Hassan Khalil is an associate professor of religious studies, an adjunct professor of Law, and director of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University. He specializes in Islamic thought and is author of Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question (Oxford University Press, 2012) and editor of Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others (Oxford University Press, 2013). He has presented papers at various national and international conferences, and has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on various topics, from bioethics to early Islamic historiography to contemporary conversion narratives to soteriology to jihad. He is currently completing a book for Cambridge University Press on jihad, radicalism, and popular Western conceptions of jihad.

Sherman Jackson, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at University of Southern California, received his PhD in Oriental Studies: Islamic Near East, University of Pennsylvania in 1990. His research interests begin in classical Islamic Studies, including law, theology and intellectual history, and extend to placing this legacy in conversation with the realities of modern Islam in the West, most especially Muslim communities in America. This implicates issues of race, immigration, liberalism, democracy, religion in the modern world, pluralism, constitutionalism, Muslim radicalism, and related areas of inquiry, again, all in conversation with the classical and post-classical legacies of Islam. He is now in the early stages of a major book, tentatively entitled, Beyond Good and Evil: Shari'ah and the Challenge of the Islamic Secular. In addition, he is the author of several books, including Initiative to Stop the Violence: Sadat's Assassins and the Renunciation of Political Violence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press 2015) and Sufism for Non-Sufis? Ibn ‘Atâ' Allâh al-Sakandarî's Tâj al-‘Arûs (New York: Oxford University Press 2012).

The Islamic Peace Studies Initiative is a new project launched by the Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies (CMENAS) at the University of Michigan and directed by Juan Cole, CMENAS director and Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History. The initiative seeks to promote academic research in the field of Islam and peace studies.

All events are open to the public. To learn more about the conference and the Islamic Peace Studies Initiative, visit: ii.umich.edu/cmenas/islamic-peace-studies. For any questions regarding the initiative, please contact us at cmenas@umich.edu.

Organized by the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies and the Arab American National Museum. Funded in part by Title VI and the International Institute Enterprise Fund. Additional support comes from the following U-M units: Arab and Muslim American Studies, Conflict & Peace Initiative, Department of History, Department of Near Eastern Studies, and Islamic Studies Program.


The Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies (CMENAS) at the University of Michigan provides a venue for faculty, students, and the community to learn and share knowledge through an active lecture series and various educational and research programs, and by partnering with a host of units across campus on projects of mutual interest. CMENAS is a member of the International Institute. [ii.umich.edu/cmenas]

The Arab American National Museum (AANM) is the first and only museum in the United Stated devoted to Arab American history and culture. Arab Americans have enriched the economic, political and cultural landscape of American life. By bringing the voices and faces of Arab Americans to mainstream audiences, we continue our commitment to dispel misconceptions about Arab Americans and other minorities. Since opening in 2005, the Museum has shed light on the shared experiences of immigrants and ethnic groups, paying tribute to the diversity of our nation. [http://www.arabamericanmuseum.org]