Media release: Dundee pupils attend special conference on Islam and multiculturalism

DUNDEE’S Al-Maktoum Institute is holding its second conference on Islam and Multiculturalism today (Wednesday, November 24) for senior school pupils.

Says a spokesperson: “The success of last year’s inaugural event plus subsequent welcome demand from schools means the Institute now intends to stage the conference annually.

“Titled, ‘Islam and Multiculturalism In Today’s World’, the conference for the 54 pupils from nine schools covers topics such as Islam and women, Islam and the West, Islam in Scotland as well as Islam, security issues and extremism.”

Institute principal, Professor Malory Nye, said he was pleased that last year’s conference had stimulated interest among pupils in Dundee schools and was delighted to be hosting it again.

“There is an urgent local and international social need for all elements of society to be engaged in the debates on the study of Islam and Muslims – and working with senior school pupils is an excellent basis for discussion,” said Professor Nye.

“The conference aim is to give the fifth and sixth-year pupils an opportunity to engage in relevant topical discussion and to hear experts and postgraduate students talk on a range of issues.

“These young people are interested in looking at contemporary issues such as multiculturalism and citizenship so we are looking forward to a mature level of debate on the day as we have no intention of preaching to the pupils.

“We have tried to make the conference agenda as challenging as possible.

“Topics for exploration and discussion are varied and include security matters and extremism, obviously, as these cannot be overlooked given the news coverage they attract.

“The conference ties in well, too, with our involvement in many areas of contemporary Scottish society and beyond to help develop a better picture of a Scotland which is integrated as both ‘one nation and many cultures’.

“We hope the pupils will have a clearer picture and understanding of Islam and its relevance to multiculturalism at the end of their day with us.”

The conference has involved collaboration with Dundee City Council’s Education Department, whose director, Jim Collins, will address the pupils at its end.

Education convener, Councillor, Liz Fordyce, said: “We are keen that our pupils benefit from the close links that have developed with the Al-Maktoum Institute.

“It is important for young people today to develop a wide knowledge of the world and an understanding of diverse beliefs and cultures.”

“We are grateful to the continuing support of the City Council and its Education Department, “ said Professor Nye.

“Their involvement and input is much appreciated.”

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For further information, please contact Mike Ritchie.

Notes for editors:

Al-Maktoum Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Dundee is a new and exciting development in teaching and research in the study of Islam and Muslims.

It is an independent, research-led institution of higher education that offers postgraduate programmes of study with its degree programmes validated by the University of Aberdeen.

The aim of the Institute is to be a centre of excellence in the Study of Islam and Muslims, in particular to promote intelligent debate and understanding of Islam and the role of Muslims in the contemporary world, and to be a place of knowledge and reflection on the issues facing a diverse and multicultural world in the 21st century.

In pursuit of this aim the Institute is actively working to educate the next generation of scholars – nationally and internationally – in the study of Islam and Muslims to enable them to face the challenges and opportunities of today.

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Contact: Mike Ritchie