Round Table Discussion on Sunni-Shia Dialogue

AMI Outreach Officer Farhana Kapasi attended ESRC funded roundtable discussion on Sunni-Shia dialogue and its impact on Islamic Education on Britain on Tuesday 27th August 2013. The discussion was part of a project of the University of Derby – “Collaborative Partnerships between Universities and Muslim Institutions: Dismantling the Roadblocks”. ESRC funding was awarded to disseminate the findings of three inter-related research projects;

– Review of Muslim Faith leader training in the UK

– Encouraging Muslim women into higher education through partnerships and collaborative pathways

– Arabic language and the study of Islam: Who studies Arabic and why and how can these skills be used at university and beyond?

As a result of the dissemination exercise – regional seminars and two national conferences- delegates identified five roadblocks to developing collaborative partnerships between universities and Muslim colleges. The five roadblocks identified are as follows; roadblocks to reaching key people, to making institutional links, to enhancing the curriculum, to validation and to funding.

The round table discussion on the day focused on the three main questions:

1- What challenges are posed by the Islamic Studies offered at UK universities, to Muslim Higher Education Institutions?

2- How do we perceive the effectiveness of the dar ul uloom, jami’a and hawza in the British community and what are the challenges for co-operation?

3- What are our hopes for future developments?

As an outcome of this discussion, it was decided unanimously by the participants that there was a need to continue the dialogue between Muslim Institutions of Higher Education and it was proposed by the AMI Outreach Officer that Al-Mahdi Institute would be delighted to host the first follow up round table discussion in January 2014, on the proposed theme; “Offering alternative model syllabus – a collective contribution”. This proposal was happily accepted by the host, the chair and the participants of the dialogue.