Media Release: Pupils’ special conference on multiculturalism

SENIOR pupils will attend a specially-devised, one-day conference at Dundee’s Al-Maktoum Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies today (Friday, June 12.)

The 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.

Titled ‘Islam and Multiculturalism In Today’s World’, it is the first schools’ event of its kind at the Institute and topics include Islam and women, Islam and the West, Islam in Scotland as well as Islam and extremism.

Institute principal, Professor Malory Nye, said young people were interested in looking at contemporary issues such as multiculturalism and citizenship.

And he said that school pupils were willing to discuss issues while having their own views and attitudes challenged to give them a better understanding of the basics of Islam.

“We are looking forward to a mature level of debate on the day as we have no intention of preaching to the students,” said Professor Nye, who has been principal since last August.

“There is an interesting range of topics for exploration and discussion, not just security matters and extremism, although these cannot be overlooked as they interest young people.

“We will not be saying that Islam is X or Y – we want to help the young people to develop knowledge and to leave with a clearer picture of the issues surrounding Islam with the Qur’an at its heart.

“One of our aims at the Institute is to serve the educational needs in the local community and organising outreach events such as this is an important aspect.”

Professor Nye firmly believes that Islamic Studies are relevant to the needs of a multicultural society. He believes that they should be centralised into the schools and higher education curricula to be taught in ways that meet the demands of that multicultural society.

The conference has involved collaboration with Dundee City Council’s Education Department and Education Director, Jim Collins will officially open it.

Council education convener, Councillor Liz Fordyce, said: “This will be a very informative event for our pupils and it will help to build on the varied multicultural work that is ongoing in our schools.”

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