Looking Beyond September 11 Islam in the West ‒ and Democratic Trends in the Middle East and North Africa

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Saeed A. Khan

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Abstract

The Fortieth Annual AMSS (Association of Muslim Social Scientists of
North America) Conference, held at John Jay College at the City University
of New York in New York City, marked a decade since September 11 by reviewing
the past ten years of the Muslim narrative, with particular focus on
the past year and the considerable social and political changes in the Middle
East and North Africa. Welcomed by John Jay College Provost and Senior
Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jane Bowers, and by outgoing
AMSS President Dr. Ali Mazrui ‒ the conference’s one-day format ensured
an intensive and stimulating session, which captured the energy of the participants
and attendees that filled the symposium. While a four-panel conference
featuring only twelve presenters may appear small in comparison to
some academic meetings, AMSS again proved that quality eclipsed quantity
in offering a diverse, yet deep analysis of contemporary issues ‒ ranging from
the Arab Spring to domestic discourses highlighting and targeting Muslims.
A panel entitled, “The Arab Spring: Paths to Democracy in the Middle
East and North Africa,” opened the day’s proceedings by assessing the very
fluid and evolving situation in the heart of the Arab world. Khalid Madhi
(Adjunct Professor at St. Xavier University and PhD Student Research
and Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois at Chicago) focused on
how the transformative movements in Tunisia and Egypt would be felt in
Morocco by offering a study of the country’s Islamist efforts. Umar Oseni
(Visiting Fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at the Harvard Law
School and Post-doctoral Scholar and Lecturer at the International Islamic
University Malaysia) shifted the discussion from a specific country to a
more regional approach when he proposed a model for conflict management
that is inherent within Islam itself. Finally, Mohamed Nimer (Assistant
Professor of International Relations at the School of International ...

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