Changing Dynamics of Peaceful Coexistence in Lombok: Contending Authorities and Muslim-Hindu-Christian Relations

Located in northwestern Lombok, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, Mataram, is perhaps the island’s most dynamic location for the unfolding of inter-religious engagement, competition, and potential conflict. Mataram offers some examples of inter-religious convergence and harmony. Nevertheless, conflicts and violence have occurred.

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Towards a New Model of Relationship: A Call for Collective and Individual Self-Reflection

The groundbreaking transformations initiated in some Middle Eastern and North African countries in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring, and the processes of reform unfolding in varying degrees and intensity in other member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), raised hopes for new social contracts based on more balanced relationships between states and citizens and between majority and minority communities in terms of ideological, religious or sectarian divides. Read the full article »

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Beyond the Myth of Western-Muslim Clash

Since the rise of so-called “Western civilization” and “modernity,” the relationship between “the West” and the “Muslim world” is highly dynamic and unpredictable, marked by a constant ebb and flow. The encounter between the two has been marked by suspicions, tensions, clashes, and violent conflicts, as well as by cooperation and dialogue across these deep plural societies and overlapping cultures. These modernities will continue to be diverse and they will certainly continue to contend with each other. But their ongoing mutual contention and competition will be far less violent and far more fruitful if we can dispense with the destructive essentialisms recently in evidence in both Western and Muslim-majority societies.

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A Case of Imperial Aggression, Not Contending Modernities

There may be examples of a “clash between modernities,” but the recent wave of protests in several Muslim majority countries against the so-called “innocence of Muslims” film was not one of them. Indeed, protests by Muslims should be accepted as part of the process of “negotiating” the appropriate limits of two varieties of free speech. If the movie maker in this case is exercising his right to free speech, so are Muslims who are protesting the excessively vulgar ways in which he expressed his views. But it is equally clear that violence is never justified.

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An Honest Conversation about Benghazi and Beyond

“[T]he events of the last two weeks…speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab World…” Those words were spoken by President Obama in his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2012. Indeed, all the events swirling around a crude video insulting the Prophet Muhammad demand an honest conversation about the tensions between the West and the predominantly Muslim cultures of the Arab World — not to mention Muslim cultures beyond the Arab World. A logical forum for such a conversation is Contending Modernities. And the ideal host for such a conversation is Dr. Paola Bernardini, the new Associate Director for Research for Contending Modernities.

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