Upcoming events for Islamic Studies

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In March we will have our Islamic Studies lunch buffet. Everyone is invited. Faculty affiliated with Islamic Studies will be present; and we will be asking for your ideas about new activities that will bring us together. You will also find out about the Islamic Studies minor.

On February 14, for Black History Month, we will partner with the Creative Alliance, the Muslim Students Association and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to bring Grammy-nominated vocalist Maimouna Youssef (Mumu Fresh) to campus for a workshop on art and activism. In this workshop, Maimouna explores how each person can use their own creative voice to facilitate social change.

We will post details of time and location soon. Please check back.

April 25th, 4:00-6:00 

We will have a masterclass on Shari’a offered by Professor Rumee Ahmed based on his book Sharia Compliant: A User’s Guide to Hacking Islamic Law (Stanford University Press, 2018). The event will include commentary and discussion by Professors Ryan Calder (sociology, JHU) and Farzana Haniffa (University of Colombo and University of Cambridge).

It is hoped that a class instead of a regular talk or lecture will get undergraduate in particular (perhaps everyone!) to think differently about Shari’a and legal Islam.

April 26th, 4:00-6:00 

Professor Ayesha Chaudhry will read from her forthcoming autobiographical trilogy: The Color of God. The essays explore the intersecting identities of religion, gender, and race, considering each identity as a primary lens in each volume; Green (religion), Red (gender), and Brown (race). The essays are moving, witty and incisive, as they explore the meanings of life and death, religion and citizenship, structural and intimate violences, love and betrayal. This book follows Ayesha’s journey from the loss of belief to the restoration of her faith in an unreasonable, unjust but relentlessly beautiful and joyful world. In a word, this book is about belonging and finding one’s place in the world.

Green traces the shape of childhood formed by a zealous religious identity. After failing to be accepted into a multicultural Canada despite a decade-long attempt at assimilation, Ayesha’s parents joined a fundamentalist Muslim cult the year she was born. Raised in a family resisting assimilation, but educated mostly in public school, Ayesha struggles to fulfill the expectations of a “good girl” demanded by conservative Muslims and intolerant feminists.


A practicing Muslim, Maimouna was born in Baltimore and raised in DC. She is experiencing an explosion of attention thanks to an NPR Tiny Desk Concert that has so far garnered over 440k views and counting. Since receiving a Grammy nomination for her vocal contribution to The Roots hit “Don’t Feel Right” in 2007, the singer, emcee, songwriter, activist, mentor and workshop facilitator has been making waves in the international Indie music scene as a solo and accompanying artist.She has shared stages with music giants such as Sting, Nas, Common, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Ed Sheeran, Queen Latifah, Bobby McFerrin, Jill Scott, D’Angelo, Aloe Blacc, Bruno Mars, Jussie Smollett, Fred Yonnet, Dave Chappelle, Yasiin Bey, Angelique Kidjo, Lalah Hathaway, Femi Kuti, and more. Mumu Fresh has traveled the worldwide as a supporting vocalist for legends such as Congolese vocal a capella group Zap Mama and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’s house band The Roots, and is currently on tour with Grammy & Oscar Award winner Common.

Rumee Ahmed (PhD, University of Virginia) is Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Associate Professor of Islamic Law at the University of British Columbia.  His writing and research span religion, law, theology, social theory, philosophy, and hermeneutics. He is the author of Sharia Compliant: A User’s Guide to Hacking Islamic Law (Stanford University Press, 2018) and Narratives of Islamic Legal Theory (Oxford University Press, 2012), and is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law (Oxford University Press, 2018) and The Objectives of Islamic Law (Lexington Books, 2018). He serves as an expert witness for international human rights cases, and is a regular commentator for multiple international policy organizations including the Atlantic Council, the Carter Centre for Human Rights, the European Union, the United Nations, and the World Bank.

Ayesha S. Chaudhry is the Canada Research Chair in Religion, Law and Social Justice and Associate Professor of Islamic studies and Gender studies at the University of British Columbia, where she has served on the Board of Governors. In 2018, she was named a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellow and a Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. She was a 2016-17 Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Study at UBC and she was the 2015-16 Rita E. Hauser fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is the author of Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition: Ethics, Law, and the Muslim Discourse on Gender (Oxford University Press, 2014). Dr. Chaudhry’s research focuses on Islamic legal and theological reform, with an eye towards promoting human rights by focusing on women’s rights. She is currently working on two major projects, one entitled “Feminist Shari’a” and a trilogy entitled “The Colour of God”.

Farzana Haniffa is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Colombo and Visiting Fellow in Commonwealth Studies at the Centre of South Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge (2018-2019). Haniffa obtained her Ph.D in Anthropology from Columbia University in New York in 2007.  Haniffa conducts research on Sri Lanka’s Muslim communities and on gender politics in Sri Lanka more generally. She has published on the Islamic reform movements, Muslim leaders’ involvement in electoral politics and the peace process, displaced Northern Muslims’ place in discourses regarding return, resettlement and reconciliation in Sri Lanka and on the post-war mobilizing of anti Muslim rhetoric.  In January 2016 Haniffa was appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office to the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms. In 2016 Haniffa was also a visiting research fellow at the Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. Haniffa serves on the management council of the Social Scientists’ Association, the Board of Directors of the Law and Society Trust and is the founder vice chairperson of the Ibn Battuta Foundation.