The South African-based World for all Foundation and the International Union of Muslim Scholars, an organisation headed by the respected Qatar-based theologian Dr Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, recently convened the Muslim Minorities Leaders Colloquium in the French capital Paris. Dr Sven Alexander Schottmann from the Centre for Dialogue was invited to participate in his capacity as convener of the annual Muslim Leadership Program as well as program coordinator for The M Project, a La Trobe University-based forum for the imaginative and creative exchange among emerging Muslim thought leaders from across the Asia-Pacific.
The more than sixty delegates representing twenty countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas spent three days learning about best-practice examples and were able to engage with recent developments in community engagement, academic research and scholarship on Islam, including the continued articulation of Dr al-Qaradhawi’s fiqh al-aqaliyyat or a jurisprudence of citizenship for the Muslim minority communities living in the West.
Notable participants included the Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan, the Tunisian public intellectual Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the first elected female president of the Islamic Society of North America Dr Ingrid Mattson, the South African Ambassador to the United States HE Mr Ebrahim Rasool, the CEO of Islamic Relief Mr Mohamed Ashmawey, and the Secretary General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars Dr Ali al-Qaradaghi.
The colloquium concluded with the issuing of the Paris Declaration of Muslim Minorities, which envisages the possibility of living by the higher intents and purposes of Muslim faith and mutually enriching coexistence with fellow citizens of different or no religion.