European Muslims, Civility and Public Life

A European Muslim: Photo by Iqbal Tamimi

European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives On and From the Gülen Movement with Professor Paul Weller, University of Derby & Dr. Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi


Professor Ian Linden, Tony Blair Faith Foundation 

Dr Peter Morey, University of East London

Date: Thursday 15th Mar 2012 18:30

Venue: The Dialogue Society

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402 Holloway Road, N7 6PZ, London

Refreshments will be provided. Registration required.

Click here to Register


Paul Weller will provide an overview of key themes drawn from within the chapters of his new co-edited (together with Ihsan Yilmaz of Fatih University, Istanbul) book on European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives on and From the Gülen Movement, that were written by a range of authors, including Professor Weller himself. The reviewers will provide their commentaries and reviews on the book, followed by the author’s response.

The book, overall, deals with the challenges and opportunities faced by Muslims and the wider society in Europe following the Madrid train bombings of 2004 and the London Transport attacks of 2005. Paul Weller’s talk will highlight how the book’s chapters explore the challenges to the concept and practice of civility in public life within a European context, together with the evidence presented and arguments made by the authors about how far the thought and practice of the global movement inspired by the Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen can make a contribution in these matters. 

Professor Weller’s overview of the book will touch on key perspectives from Fethullah Gülen on Muslim identity and public life in Europe; on civility, co-existence and integration; on the movement’s development in a variety of different European contexts, especially in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Northern Ireland, and on the movement’s role in challenging terrorism. He will also provide some insight into the position adopted by Fethullah Gülen in relation to Turkey’s possible future membership of the European Union.

About Author

Paul Weller (Cert Ed, MA, MPhil, PhD, DLitt) is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Head of Research and Commercial Development in its Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences; Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford; and a Trustee of the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby. His current research interests involve issues in the relationships between religion, state and society, and religion or belief, discrimination and equal opportunities, in relation to which he is heading up a national research project within the Religion and Society Research Programme on “Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality in England and Wales: Theory, Policy and Practice (2000-2010):” (see

His recent publications include:

Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society ( London: T. & T. Clark, 2005)

Religious Diversity in the UK: Contours and Issues (London: Continuum, 2008)

A Mirror for our Times: ‘The Rushdie Affair and the Future of Multiculturalism (London: Continuum, 2009)

He has previously also published on “Fethullah Gülen, Religions, Globalisation and Dialogue”, in R. Hunt and Y. Aslandoğan (eds.), Muslim Citizens of the Globalized World: Contributions of the Gülen Movement (Somerset, NJ: The Light Inc. and IID Press, 2006).

About Reviewers

Professor Ian Linden, is Director of Policy at the TBFF, formerly director of the Social Action Programme, Faiths Act, and an associate professor in the Study of Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London. He has published a number of books on religion in Africa and, recently, two major studies on faith and globalisation, “A New Map of the World and Global Catholicism”. He was for fifteen years director of the Catholic Institute for International Relations and was awarded the CMG for work for human rights in 2000. He is a member of the Christian-Muslim Forum of the UK, worked in interfaith dialogue with Shi’a leaders in Iran and has acted as a DfID (UK government Department for International Development) consultant on matters of Faith and Development.

Dr Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi (PhD in majority-minority ethnic and religious conflict, Melbourne College of Divinity, University of Melbourne): Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Religion, Conflict and Social Engagement. He has worked extensively with community groups and social movements in Sri Lanka and studied them in depth both at community and post graduate level. Dr Hettiarachchi is the founder Co-ordinator of the Luton Council of Faiths, Bedfordshire, UK. He worked at St. Philip’s Centre for study and Engagement, Leicester, UK as its World Religions specialist with a focus on conflict and religiously motivated violence. His primary research interests are in Diaspora communities: their settlement processes, religious affiliations, political mobilisation, identity politics, and social and cultural adjustments in the UK, Europe and Australia. Dr Hettiarachchi’s publications are on radicalization of religious faith; land, history and notions of chosen-ness as political tools to define identity. His most recent involvement has been in the rehabilitation, de-radicalisation and community reintegration processes of ex-combatants. He is a senior trainer both for public and private sector bodies on social adjustments, cross cultural competency, policy development and reconciliation in Sri Lanka’s post conflict period.

Dr Peter Morey is Reader in English at the University of East London. He is the author of a number of books on postcolonial literature, culture and related themes, the latest of which is ‘Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11’ (Harvard University Press, 2011) co-authored with Dr Amina Yaqin. Between 2007 and 2010 he was Principal Investigator of the Framing Muslims international research network, an affiliation of scholars exploring how Muslims are represented in the political and cultural discourses of the West. In his latest project he will be leading a team made up of academics, practitioners and organisations committed to social cohesion in an interdisciplinary research project exploring Muslims, trust and cultural dialogue.


The book will be made available for purchase at the event. Professor Paul Weller will be signing copies of his book following the event.

Address: Dialogue Society, 402 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PZFor Map, Click Here

Phone: +44 20 7619 0361

Nearest Tube Station: Holloway Road (Piccadilly Line)

Buses: 43, 153, 271, 393

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