My Journey with Islam and Liberty Network and its Impact on My Research Agenda

Author: Md. Thowhidul Islam, an Associate Professor of Bangladesh Studies, Center for University Requirement Courses, International Islamic University Chittagong.

I have been very passionate to find academic conference around the world consistent with my area of research. It was in 2018, when I first came to know about the activities of Islam and Liberty Network through internet. I, therefore, participated in its 6th International Islam & Liberty Conference on “Building an Islamic Case for Open Markets”, held on 14-15 November, 2018 at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), Pakistan, where I presented my paper entitled “Historical Development of Waqf Governance in Bangladesh; Challenges and Prospects.” It was an excellent event where a number of academicians from different parts of the world participated. I, personally, got high motivation from the activities of ILN which influenced my research agenda. Liberal thinking within Islamic territories that is addressing the vital problems and challenges of the Muslim societies around the world. Since then, I didn’t miss any ILN conference till 2023, when the network organized its 10th International conference on “Peace and Prosperity in Muslim-Majority Countries and Beyond,” held on 5-6 September, 2023 at Kuala Lumpur. In the mean years, ILN organized 7th  International Islam & Liberty Conference on “The Islamic Case for Religious Freedom”, held on 11-12 November, 2019 at Jakarta; 8th conference that was held online due to Covid; and 9th Conference on “Pluralism, Democracy and Economic Development in Muslim-Majority Countries,” held on 27-28 October, 2022 at Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey, where I presented a paper entitled “Islamic Ethics towards Refugee: Reflections on the Responses of Muslim-Majority Countries”.

Surprisingly, the theme of each conference is very different from one another but within the framework of Islam and liberty to resolve the crises of the Muslim world. It includes economic freedom, religious freedom, pluralism, peace and prosperity in the Muslim majority countries and so on. Each conference is divided into several sessions with different themes. Every discussion, I found, very thought provoking and relevant. I have learnt a lot from these academic discussions, where I met great scholars from different countries of the world.

The activities of ILN and its theme impacted me a lot in terms of research agenda. Now, liberties in an Islamic society and challenges of the Muslim world have become the central of my research interest. This motivation, originally, came from ILN conferences.

Besides academic conferences, so far I know, ILN has published a number of books, organized workshops, talks, discussions on different issues in different countries of the world. The Muslim world should have many more think tanks like ILN to guide the policy-makers to meet the challenges and to exist in the competitive world.