“Islam and Global Challenges”, the theme selected by the First International Conference on Islamic Social Sciences and Humanities (Iconish 2021) held by the Faculty of Psychology and Socio-Cultural Sciences, Universitas Islam Indonesia, to me, is indeed both important and interesting.
When reading the theme at the first sight, two perspectives are popping up in my mind:
- Does the theme emphasize on the role of Islam, and hence Muslim, in coping with the global challenges? or
- How should Muslim, deal with distortion of the image of Islam in the global arena by media?
For marketing purpose, having a phrase with more than one intertwined meaning is often an advantage since it will stimulate curiosity and attract engagement. I hope this is also valid for scientific discussion.
I do believe that both questions are relevant until today, but each has specific characteristics. Let us elaborate the both questions a little.
The former question is more outward looking and questioning the active role of Islam in responding global contemporary issues, while the latter one tends to be more inward looking and dealing with domestic problems of Muslims.
The former question demands Muslims to be more proactive and engaged in providing solutions to the global problems, while the latter may force Muslims to move from one cul-de-sac, a route leading nowhere, to another, and hence they may be caught in a snare: reacting, reacting, and reacting.
In this context, I do agree to the suggestion made by Ziauddin Sardar in one of his writings:
“The only rational way ahead, is for Muslims to become proactive: shape the future with foresight and a genuine appreciation of their present predicament, truthful assessment of their historic shortcomings, and a deep understanding of contemporary, global reality.”
If we agree with this, then, we need to define what the global challenges we have in our mind.
By doing so, as Muslims, we may need to declare not to pay too much attention to trivial and less important problems, and mobilize our collective thoughts and energy to comprehend the contemporary global issues, to find the possible solutions for them, and at the same time, again, at the same time, to be actively engaged with other global communities to solve the problems.
Before concluding this remarks, I invite all of you to define global challenges we need to address.
Please allow me to start with a short list: accelerating sustainable development, mitigating climate change, promoting economic and social progress, safeguarding peace, protecting human rights, and ensuring equity and inclusivity. You all may make this list longer.
I am sure that various perspectives that will be shared by the speakers and the participants in this conference will provide meaningful insights and stimulate further discussion in the area of concern.
Opening remarks of the First International Conference on Islamic Social Sciences and Humanities (Iconish 2021) held by the Faculty of Psychology and Socio-Cultural Sciences, Universitas Islam Indonesia, 9-10 December 2021.