Victoria: Islam in a Secular Society: Individualism vs Communitarianism

The Australian Intercultural Society & Rationalist Society of Australia present “Islam in a secular society : Individualism vs Communitariansim” Panel discussion on the evening of Tuesday, 31 July 2018. The panel will be moderated by the former Religion Editor of The Age newspaper Mr Barney Zwartz.


In an era in which faith traditions are encouraged to be relevant and provide meaning to their adherents, one faith tradition has been subjected to more scrutiny than others. Islam, a civilization that has contributed to the advancement of humanity, has been put under the microscope ever since 9/11. Muslims have been asked to explain the true teachings of their faith and clarify many aspects of it that seem puzzling to the neutral eye. Many Muslims are now living as citizens in Western secular societies such as Australia, where there is a separation of religion from the state. These societies are liberal and promote individual rights: the rights to belief and non-belief, freedom of thought, equal treatment of women, socially and economically to name a few. In this setting, can a Muslim truly be a part of society, or are there faith-based beliefs preventing this ? Are there any clashes with Islamic teachings which curb an individual’s rights of belief, non-belief and having unlimited freedom of speech ?

Hear our panellists Tasneem Chopra, Meredith Doig, Paul Monk, Mehmet Ozalp address these topics and more. Moderated by the former Religion Editor of The Age newspaper Mr Barney Zwartz

Event Details

Program: Islam in a Secular Society: Individualism vs Communitarianism Panel Discussion
Host: Australian Intercultural Society
Date: Tuesday, 31 July 2018
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Venue: Australian Intercultural Society – Suite 2, Ground Floor, 441 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Cost: FREE
Registration: Online at Eventbrite
Light refreshments: with tea & coffee will be offered. If you have any special dietary needs, please let us know when you register for the event.
More Information: Australian Intercultural Society: 03 9867 2248 or


Tasneem Chopra

Tasneem is Curator, Consultant, Author and prominent activist, Tasneem Chopra’s passion for addressing social justice issues has embraced many platforms.

An independent Cross Cultural Consultant, Tasneem delivers acclaimed workshops on diversity, identity and racism to varied audiences from Supreme Court judges to kindergarten teachers.

Tasneem maintains her personal and professional experience inform her broader outlook on our social landscape where she advocates for social change and justice, particularly as these issues impact upon the disadvantaged and minorities.


Dr Meredith Doig

President of Rationalist Society Australia in addition to a professional company director and governance consultant.

Meredith has been a long-time community activist, lobbying on topics ranging from tax and industry development to social equity and corporate governance.

In 2004, she completed a PhD on “The Nature of Organisational Sustainability”, focusing on corporate responsibility and ‘triple bottom line’ accountability.


Dr Paul Monk

He is a prolific commentator on international affairs in the Australian media and may well be unequalled in this country for intellectual breadth and depth, but especially for his ability to rapidly apply that profound resource to challenges in the broad arena of human affairs.

He has had seven books published over the past decadeAfter completing his PhD in International Relations, looking at cognitive and policy aspects of US counter-insurgency operations during the Cold War, he worked for a number of years in Australia’s Defence Intelligence Organisation on East Asia, with a particular emphasis on the challenge of North Korea, the stagnation of Japan and the rise of China.

He was head of China analysis in 1994-95 and has remained a widely consulted commentator on Chinese and international affairs since then.


Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp is a theologian, author and academic and the founding director of the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation (CISAC) at CSU. He is an executive member of Public and Contextual Theology (PaCT), a research centre at CSU.

Mehmet has worked in the interfaith and intercultural scene in Australia since 2000. In 2009, Mehmet founded ISRA Australia, an educational and research organisation focusing on providing information and educational services on Islam and Muslims.

Mehmet was a member of Harmony Reference Group established by the NSW Premier Bob Carr in 2003.




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