Invitation to ENORB AGM

Invitation to ENORB AGM

Come and contribute to shaping ENORB’s work for the coming year and beyond

Workshops – Information Exchane – Networking

Date –  May 21st 2013

Time  12pm – 6pm

Place – Centre Espaces (Brussels)

For more information, please click here




In the aftermath  of  the New York at acks in September 2001, the
massacre in Madrid in March 2004, and the London bombing in July
2005, Dr Mustafa Cerić – as Raisu-l-‘Ulama and Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina – issued the Declaration of European Muslims on July 2005 at the East London Mosque, London.

The Declaration has been endorsed and disseminated by the Islamic Forum of  Europe and is largely supported across Europe. In an interview with RFE/RL  on March 14, 2006 Dr Cerić described the declaration: “It is a personal — it is probably too much to say, “confession” — but a personal appeal to the European audience not to make a mistake in generalising all Muslims and not to spread
Islamophobia, that was, I think, going on in Europe and in the West generally, especially after September 11 [2001].”  Dr Cerić added, “The second message was to the Muslims who live in Europe to take seriously these three events that may have great consequences for their stay in Europe and their status in Europe. The third message was to the Muslim world at large to ask them to help us in the West, and especially in Europe, to develop a kind of dialogue that is acceptable
to us as Muslims, as well as to our European neighbors.”

Eight years after the Declaration of European Muslims, now as the president the World Bosniak Congress and Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia, Dr Cerić has led the effort to issue the  Second Declaration on Common Security and Global  Citizenship.

The Congress was inaugurated in Sarajevo on December 29, 2012
as a global national voice of the Bosniak nation in the aftermath of the last genocide in Bosnia.

This  Second Declaration comes as a response to recent events in Boston and London with an emphasis on the unacceptable use and abuse of the name of Allah and Islam, especially in the case of the London killing.

At this time Dr Cerić, as president of the World Bosniak Congress, is calling on the Bosniak  nation to take a bold stance about their faith and culture and be a good example to others: to condemn violence and promote peace and tolerance whereever they are.



Peace, Security & Islam Forum 2013:Islam and Diplomacy – The Search for Human Security

Islam and Diplomacy – The Search for Human Security

The Forum will explore Islamic teachings on Diplomacy in the light of Peace & Security. Speakers will offer insights into conceptual and pragmatic aspects of Islam’s practice of harmonious relations between nations. Diplomatic practices promoting Human Security  which may be aligned with Peace Making, by relating Islamic insights and values to our social and political realities in global context will be discussed.

IAIS Malaysia,   The Cordoba Foundation United Kingdom,  Institute Of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia

The State of Qatar,  Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF)

Institute Of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), Jalan Wisma Putra,  50460 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Please click here for a map and directions

Date and Time: 16th May 2013, 09.00 am – 5.30 pm

For further information including the tentative program, speakers and online registration, please click here

Lecture: Lakshman Kadirgamar, the Sri Lanka Conflict, and its Controversial End

The Cordoba Foundation takes great pleasure in inviting you to an evening lecture about the former Foreign Minister to Sri Lanka, the late Lakshman Kadirgamar, which will examine his ideas for the modern world and the threat posed by political violence to stability within and between states throughout the world:

Speaker: Professor Sir Adam Roberts (Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University, and Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford) author of the book, ‘Democracy, Sovereignty, and Terror: Lakshman Kadirgamer on the Foundations of International Order’

The lecture  will be held on Wednesday 24th April 2013 at 6.30pm (for a 7.00pm start)

Attendance is by invitation and confirmation of names only.

Once confirmed, details of the venue will be sent to you

RSVP essential:

For more information please click here

News Release: Iraq 10: Examining a Decade of Turbulence – Post Conference Report

News Release: Iraq 10: Examining a Decade of Turbulence – Post Conference Report

Iraq is edging closer to civil war and break up into separate states, with almost none of its pre-invasion promises coming to fruition, experts warned  at a ground-breaking conference held on the future of the country in Central London.

RICH-2013-04-Cordoba-Iraq-10-Years-GBR-1003.jpgTen years after the fall of Baghdad, policy-makers, politicians, academics, military experts, ex-senior military officials and voices from across the Middle East converged at The Commonwealth Club  in London (8th April) to debate Iraq’s future and its bloody past decade.


Watched by international media, Dr Anas Altikriti, CEO of The Cordoba Foundation, reflected on his time as a hostage negotiator, attempting to secure the release of fellow conference speaker Professor Norman Kember and other hostages in 2005/6. He said: ‘The people of Iraq have been through quite a rollercoaster. But we didn’t just come and discover these problems in 2003: we have seen divisions for centuries.’



Co-organiser, Wadar Khanfar of Al Sharq Forum and former Al Jazeera director general, recalled seeing the signs of a ‘new’ Iraq as part of Al Jazeera’s bureau in the country: ‘Ten years ago I was covering the war in Iraq. I remember as I entered Baghdad that all the state buildings were on fire. It was not the image of a free Baghdad that people wanted to see.’

‘Ten years later I don’t see Iraq and BaghdadRICH-2013-04-Cordoba-Iraq-10-Years-GBR-190.jpg as having moved forward.’ The failures, he said, could be traced back 100 years to the end of the First World War, with ‘deep suspicion’ among many observers about the latest conflict. He warned that three de-facto states could soon appear where now one (Iraq) exists.

‘Iraq is not at a crossroads,’ suggested Middle East Monitor director Dr Daud Abdullah, ‘it has passed it. The north is a de facto state, with Irbil not even talking to Baghdad about oil contracts. The world’s third-largest oil producer has 36% of its citizens living in poverty.’ He suggested that the presence of death squads and private militias was similar to the El Salvador “dirty war” in the 1980s, with current premier Al-Maliki concentrating power in his hands alone.

RICH-2013-04-Cordoba-Iraq-10-Years-GBR-544.jpgThe attitude of the Americans and their allies was ‘naive, lacking depth and profundity’ prior to the 2003 invasion, said Professor Rosemary Hollis, former research director of Chatham House. ‘There was too much emphasis on elections, as though that would create democracy.’


Clare Short, former Minister for International Development, counselled RICH-2013-04-Cordoba-Iraq-10-Years-GBR-1120.jpgagainst attempting to re-draw colonial boundaries, arguing it was time to ‘unite the region’ rather than recreate it. She referred to the former neo-conservative movement, the Project for a New American Century, and its ‘terrifying documents’ planning the (mythical) future of Iraq.

Various academic speakers, including Professor Phil Marfleet of University of East London, said that there was a dearth of academic research into Iraq post-2003, particularly the humanitarian costs, labeling this ‘the politics of denial’.

Dr Nabil Ramadhani of the Human Relief Foundation revealed shocking statistics showing the decline in living standards, increase in poverty, and the threats women face – attacks and sexual assaults – even travelling in their own neighbourhoods. ‘Iraqi women have paid a high price for the war and occupation of their country.’

Drawing the event to a close, Dr Altikriti said that the Iraqi people and the rest of the world had been offered a false choice between Saddam and what the Americans said they would bring afterwards. ‘There were other ways, other choices,’ he said, arguing that international law had been degraded and flouted, creating a world in which we were all now less safe and damaging democracy even here in the UK.




1) Please click the links to get the conference briefing, the speaker profiles and the schedule for the conference

2) Please see below for a selection of photos (courtesy of Richard Chambury; William Barylo and Noridine Bendou)





























Event Report: The Need for Faith Inspired Non Violence – A Legacy of Martin Luther King’s Influence

Event Report: The Need for Faith Inspired Non Violence – A Legacy of Martin Luther King’s Influence

“non violence is a set of attitudes, actions, or behaviours intended toALI_6967.jpg persuade the other side to change its opinions, perceptions and actions” was the message that was presented at a talk held on the 21st of January 2013 at St Ethelburgas Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and co sponsored by The Cordoba Foundation to commemorate Martin Luther King Day.The speaker was Dr Ayse Kadayifci from Georgetown University, an expert on Islamic peace building and non violence.

According to Dr Kadyifci, successful non violence requires great strength of character, perseverance and discipline.  It is a means of awakening a sense of injustice and moral shame in the supporters of a power structure, showing them that they have more to gain by ending injustice and oppression than by maintaining them.  It is  also about exposing the unjust means of a power structure, the isolation of actions, changing the narrative that can be used for justification.
Strategic use of non violence  thus is means to resist the power structure though long term social and economic policies including education and microfinance.  You let the community acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to advance in society and challenge the status quo of the power structure and provoke it in order to expose its unjust means and illegitimacy by seeking to prevent the advancement of the community.

Noone communicated this moral priority  more than Martin Luther King, who despite losing his supporter base would shift attention from the civil rights movement to economic injustice and the Vietnam war in 1965, which unfortunately have been erased from the cultural narrative of his life and legacy.

ALI_7054.jpgIn his 1963 letter from Birmingham jail in particular, King drew inspiration from the  gospel and biblical teachings in order to justify his fight against injustice.  Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  He mentions just and unjust law and offers insight into how not only the church but other faith leaders and communities should act in the face of injustice.   In King’s words, it is about being a thermostat that transforms the morals of society.

His phrase, ‘if the church of today doesn’t recapture the sacrificial spirit of the past, it will lose its authenticity. It will forfeit the loyalty of millions and will be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning’, is the challenge that he sets for us today, people of faith and no faith to see where we stand during times of challenge and controversy, rising above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.









Event Report: Non-Violence and Peace Building in Islam

Event Report: Non-Violence and Peace Building in Islam

‘Faith is a restraint against all violence, let no believer commit violence’ (Hadith, Recorded sayings of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him)

This saying formed the backdrop for a seminar on  ‘Peace building and Non Violence from Islamic Principles’ organised by Initiatives of Change, The Cordoba Foundation and Islamic Relief Worldwide on the 22nd of January 2013 where scholars Dr Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana (Georgetown University), Professor Mohammed Abu Nimer (Salam Institute and American University) and Imam Ajmal Masroor gave their unique perspectives on the subject.


iofc 7.jpgSpeaking first, Ayse painted a theoretical picture of the concept of peacebuilding from an Islamic Perspective.  Whilst Muslims agree that Islam is a religion of peace and the application of Islamic precepts will bring justice, harmony and order, consequently peace to the world, academic scholars often paint Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance, which permits the use of violence only under certain well-defined conditions focussing instead on the specific conditions and circumstances under which Islam allowed the use of war to settle conflicts.


Prof Abu-Nimer contends that, although these scholars have attempted toiofc2.jpg present a more balanced perspective of Islamic traditions, they have “approached this topic from a framework of security, power politics, strategic studies or classical Islamic studies, not peace and conflict resolution” (Abu-Nimer 2003, 26) and therefore failed to pay sufficient attention to inherent traditions of non violence and peaceful resolution of conflicts which have been an integral aspect of Islamic tradition since the time of the Prophet Mohammed ( PBUH).   In particular, the practice by Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) attitude towards peace and his diplomacy, can be summarized as the “reconciliation of hearts” which meant “coming to terms with adversaries and enemies and the contractual guaranteeing of agreements”, and that he preferred peaceful regulation of conflicts and peaceful resolution of enmity. Based on the Qur’anic verse “We did raise among every people a Messenger (with a teaching): Worship God and Shun the Evil one” (Q16:36), scholars such as Jawdat Sa’id of Syria argue that “the Prophets come with the message to avoid wicked tyranny and they disclosed that the tyrant could not continue to exist without our obedience to him.”

iofc 1.jpgDerived from the Quran, the Hadith and the Sunna, an Islamic conception of peace begins with its attribution as a divine name since the Arabic word for peace, as-Salam, is one of the ninety-nine names of God (Qur’an – Q 59:23). There are many references to peace (salam, silm, sulh, etc.) in the Qur’an that suggest that peace, together with justice (adl) is a central message of Islam (Q 3:83; 4:58; 5:8; 10:25; 16:90; 41:11; 42:15; 57:25) These references make it clear that peace in Islam is not limited to a negative understanding of peace that is often defined as the absence of war, oppression or tyranny but it actually refers to a process in which human beings strive to establish foundations for interacting with God’s creation – human and non-human alike—in harmony and to institute just social, economic and political structures where they can fulfil their potential . Such an understanding of peace thus requires a condition of both internal and external order that encompasses both individual and social spheres as “the individual must be endowed with the necessary qualities to make peace an enduring reality, not only in the public sphere but also in the private domain”.

Dr Kadayifci then spoke about some of the values that drive Islamic principles of peace building and non violence including the quest for justice (political / social / economic) or  Adl; the concept of social empowerment or  Ihsan ( benevolence); the concepts of : compassion or Rahmah; wisdom or Hikmah; service or Amal; faith or Yakeen; love or Muhabbah and patience or Sabr.

iofc3.jpgAjmal Masroor presented his own experiences growing up in the UK of tackling prejudice and extremism on the road to peace building.  He spoke about the need first to reconcile within ones heart as the first step towards peace building and non violence and finding peace with enemies.




Resolving conflicts in different Muslim contexts requires an understanding iofc4.jpgof the dynamic relationship between the Islamic tradition that unites Muslims and the unique geographical, cultural, historical and political contexts of each Muslim community that impacts specific tools for resolving conflicts.  Islamic culture is not an ‘object’ that can be reified into one objective or dimension;” nor is it distributed uniformly among all Muslims. Culture is not a static entity that can be identified as a constant, but it is always in the making, constantly evolving and changing with the experiences and context of society. Furthermore, there is more than one Islamic culture depending on geography and demography as well as various subcultures, within each community. Therefore, conflict resolution practices in different Islamic countries such as Egypt, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Palestine, amongst others, have various differences due to their unique contexts. Such an understanding of culture allows us to recognize that each Muslim community will have many internal paradoxes, subcultures, and identities. This perspective also recognizes that each Muslim responds to the realities and challenges of life in their own unique way influenced by the many identities and subcultures s/he is a part of. These contextual factors and cultural differences have also led to different understanding of Islamic teachings and practices. In fact, as long as they do not contradict Islamic teachings, local customs (urf) are often considered a source of Islamic law.

In this regard, Professor Abu Nimer addressed some key issues surrounding the context of peace building within Islam.  Looking at peace building within an Islamic context has to deal with the concept of justice and dignity.  There is heavy emphasis on public image and the role of third parties cannot be underestimated whilst a lot is dependent on relationship building.   Professor Abu Nimer also pointed out that a lot of the communities where peacebuilding is needed are burdened by colonial history adding additional challenges to narratives of coexistence and non violent resolutions of conflict.

The seminar touched very briefly on various community conflict resolution mechanisms that have been developed and effective applied to resolve conflicts in the Muslim world such as wasata (mediation), sulha (reconciliation) and hewar (dialogue).

Please click here to view a video of the proceedings (video courtesy of IoFC)


A selection of photos are presented below courtesy of Jonty Herman and Amaani Niyaz



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