Beyond the Promise of Secularism #RaiseYourGaze

Birkbeck, University of London, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX

In response to an event called ‘Sharia, Segregation and Secularism’ that emphasises “the importance of secularism as a minimum precondition for equality” we will be exploring western preoccupations with ‘Sharia Law’, hijabs, and segregation. In particular, we will look at the ways in which Islam is pitted against ‘secularism’ in the name of women’s rights, equality and democracy, and how these are utilised and weaponised by the State against Muslim communities and other minorities to promote nationalist narratives.

We are interested not in taking sides on whether one should or should not be ‘secular’, but to explore where this concept came from in the first place, and how it has been mobilised by both the religious and non-religious to justify certain kinds of power, and certain kinds of violence across history and to this day. Being unaware of this can lead to misleading ideas which play into the hands of harmful narratives about our communities.

Join us for a day of talks, conversation and poetry led by leading thinkers, activists and poets from around the world: Huma Dar, Suhraiya Jivraj, Azeezat Johnson, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Ziba Mir-Hosseini & Fatima Seedat.

Inclusive Mosque Initiative’s sixth event in the #RaiseYourGaze series is in collaboration with Kent Law School and the Birkbeck Centre for Research on Race and Law.

Tickets: £5-£22.15 via Eventbrite
11.00am – Registration
11.15am – Opening
11.30am – Secularism, Democracy & the Nation State: Panel & Q&A
1.30pm – Lunch (vegan & gluten free Caribbean food)
2.30pm – Islamic Feminisms and Women’s Rights: Panel & Q&A
4.30pm – Closing
4.45pm – End

– If you’re not able to pay the ticket price, please get in touch for a free ticket
– Travel and childcare funds are available, please get in touch if you are unable to afford either of these
– Carers or anyone needed to support you are welcome and can receive a free ticket
– BSL interpreters will be available on the day
– There will be an induction loop for anyone with a hearing aid
– The venue is wheelchair accessible
– There are wheelchair accessible bathrooms, as well as gendered and gender-neutral bathrooms
– If you require transport support (eg if you require someone to meet you at a nearby station), please get in touch
– Lunch and refreshments will be vegan & gluten-free
– Children and babies are welcome. Please get in touch if you have specific childcare needs
– The panel discussions will be recorded and transcribed
– The closest tube station is Russel Square, and the closest wheelchair accessible tube station is Tottenham Court Road (if travelling on the Central line please call 0343 222 1234 ahead of your journey to book a ramp for easy access to the platform). Buses are wheelchair accessible and 14, 24, 29, 73 and 134 stop at Torrington Place, a short walk from the venue.

Contact admin[at] if you have any questions and/or require additional support.

Facebook event: