Victoria: Muslims in the face of rising populism in the West and the Muslim World

The Australian Intercultural Society in collaboration with Deakin University and the Alfred Deakin Instituate of Citizenship and Globalisation will present a panel discussion on Muslims in the face of rising populism in the West and the Muslim World on Monday 5th of March at Deakin Downtown, Melbourne.


Charismatic political leaders can wield feverous rhetoric and tug at moral heartstrings in order to justify their hard line stances and gain overwhelming support. While in principle the leaders claim to be advocating for the common people against the privileged elite, many modern day examples show the darker side of populism leading to outcomes such as displacement, continual hardship or a disastrous civil war. How do Muslims engage with, or survive against, the nationalist nostalgias sweeping people into perilous currents?


Professor Ihsan Yilmaz/ Deakin University

Professor Ihsan Yilmaz is Research Chair of Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue at Deakin University, Australia. He was professor of political science at Istanbul Fatih University between 2008-2016, lecturer in law at SOAS, University of London between 2001-2008 and research scholar at Center for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford between 1999-2001.

He completed his PhD at the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 1999. He has a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the Bogazici University (1994).

He was the Deputy Chair of the Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies at SOAS (2003-2008) and the Founding Director of the London Centre for Social Studies (2003-2008).

His most recent book is (2015) From Kemalism to Erdoganism: Religion, State and Good Citizen in Turkey (in Turkish). He is also the author of (2005, 2016 Reprinted) Muslim Laws, Politics and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic Legal Pluralisms in England, Turkey and Pakistan. He is also co-editor with John L. Esposito (2010) Islam and Peacebuilding: Gülen Movement Initiatives; with Paul Weller, (2012) European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives on and From the Gülen Movement, London, Continuum and with Greg J. Barton and Paul Weller (2013) Muslim World and Politics: Creative Contributions of the Gülen Movement.

Professor Sophia Pandya / California State University, USA

Sophia Pandya is currently a full professor at California State University, USA in the Department of Religious Studies. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies/Arabic, and her MA and PhD from UC Santa Barbara in Religious Studies. A Fulbright scholar, she specializes in women and Islam, and more broadly in contemporary movements within Islam.

Dr. Pandya has authored a book (2012), Muslim Women and Islamic Resurgence: Religion, Education, and Identity Politics in Bahrain, she is also the co-editor of a second published volume (2012), The Gülen Hizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies on Charitable Activism. She is now finishing a manuscript on the Hizmet movement, alterity, and the challenges of altruism. Dr. Pandya traveled to Ethiopia three times as a fellow of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, to study Yemenis living in diaspora in Ethiopia. Her interests have also included religious change in Yemen among both the younger and older generations of women, and the ways in which they negotiate conflicting religious discourses.

Professor Paul Weller
Emeritus Professor, Centre for Social, Cultural and Legal Research, University of Derby
Professor, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
Research Fellow in Religion and Society, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford

Professor Paul Weller has been at the University of Derby since 1990. His role at the University involves strategically and operationally leading and managing research in the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences, which is the University’s largest and most research-engaged Faculty. He is also strategically responsible for commercial development in the Faculty, working together with the Faculty’s Innovation and Enterprise Manager.

From 2010-2012 he was partially seconded to head up a national Arts and Humanities and Economic and Social Research Council “Religion and Society” Research Programme project on “Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality in England and Wales: Theory, Policy and Practice, 2000-2010“.


Karen Percy/ ABC

Karen Percy has been a reporter and presenter for ABC Television and Radio for 11 years, after starting with the ABC as a cadet in 1987.

Karen has also worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto and returned to Australia in 2002. She has reported for the 7pm News, Lateline and 7.30 Report, as well as reporting for ABC radio current affairs.

During her career, Karen has won an ABC Scholarship to the Reuters Foundation in Oxford, where she examined media coverage of Islam.

Karen was posted to Bangkok in August 2006.

A light lunch with coffee and tea will be offered. If you have any special dietary needs, please let us know when you register for the event.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 03 9867 2248 or

Event Details

Program: “Muslims in the face of rising populism in the West and the Muslim World”
Date: Monday 5 March 2018
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm AEDT
Location: Deakin Downtown
Address: Collins Square, Tower 2, Level 12, 727 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3008
Cost: Free
Bookings: Online at Eventbrite
More Information: 03 9867 2248 or




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