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Invitation to an International conference


Islam and modernism in Nigeria




The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies

University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria


November 6-7, 2012 




Religion?s abode is an ever-changing world.  For the first thousand years since the Hijrah, change came mostly in new wars with old weapons, new dynasties with old policies, new generations in the same ancestral lands, with scarcely a new idea that transformed society.  Tradition dominated all.


Change had been incubating, but burst with the industrial revolution, convulsing the world with new technology, new means of travel and communication, and mass exposure to other cultures, and other religions.  Change on all fronts accelerated, more in our own life-time than in the first Islamic millennium.  Modernism?s buzz-word was ?reason?, which in some countries sought the free itself from religion and promised a ?brave new world? with unlimited progress.  Though such anti-religiosity does not prevail in Nigeria, some foreign governments pressure Nigeria to conform to what they consider ?reasonable? norms, which however are abhorrent to Nigerian traditions.


Tradition?s tenacity, however, has baffled Modernism.  Religion?s roots tapped the sea-floor of humanity, undisturbed by the stormy waves above, and towered above the clouds, where divine light shines night and day. At the same time, Modernism?s appeal has baffled Tradition, for how can airplanes and internet be the products of perverted reason?


Can Reason and Revelation ever reconcile?  Ibn-S?n?, al-Ghaz?l? and Ibn-Rushd examined the problem in their days, but we are in a different context: a multi-religious Nigeria in the 21st century.  In the claims of Tradition and Modernity, can we sift the authentic, from the distorted?  Can we then harness both reason and tradition to confront inter-religious hostility at home, and the equally dangerous invasion of anti-religious norms from abroad to build an harmonious and healthy society?   That is the task of this Seminar.


This program is hosted by the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.


The participants

Sixteen speakers, representing various religious traditions (Sunnism, Shi`ism, Christianity) and differing evaluations of modernism, have been invited to speak on modern challenges in areas such as: Scriptural exegesis, the interpretation of history, the scope of religious liberty, theological assessment of other religions (Christianity, African Traditional Religion), the place of religion in society, academic freedom, etc.


Auditors are welcome to attend and take part in the discussion sessions.


Address inquiries to any or all of the following:

afism3@yahoo.com, kennyopib@yahoo.com


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Last Revised 19-May-12 10:02 PM.