The fight for freedom in Islam – freedom of expression and democracy building

Iraqi students protesting against the authorities, February 2020. Photo: Hussein Faleh/AFP
The Fritt Ord Foundation project "Islam in Norway" invites the public to an open dialogue meeting about the fight for freedom in Islam – freedom of expression and democracy building. The meeting will take place on Monday, 23 March 2020, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the House of Culture at Youngs gate 6 in Oslo.

6:00–6:30 p.m.: Preliminary talk about the fight for freedom in Islam

What is freedom, and for whom? Blasphemy and freedom of expression, the struggle for democracy and freedom for individuals are key concepts in an encounter with Islam. Where do religion and freedom intersect in a functioning democratic society? Conversation between Sylo Taraku, adviser to the Agenda Think Tank and author of the book The fight for freedom in Islam (2019), and Usman Rana, writer and author of the book Norwegian Islam. How to love Norway and Islam at the same time (2016).
6:30–8:00 p.m.: Speeches and a dialogue on freedom of expression and democracy in Islam
The Arab Spring of 2010-2011 was spontaneous, but there has not been any unifying democratic movement in Middle East since then. What has evolved from the Arab Spring in terms of the culture of freedom of expression, and democratic, political and theological movements in the region? How does growing religious nationalism in several Muslim majority countries impact political movements, and how is religion used in the game of politics? How does democracy building in the homelands impact the diaspora communities in Norway?
Speeches and discussion featuring Mah-Rukh Ali, journalist and author of Iran and the new Middle East (2018) and The threat from IS (2015), Nilas Johnsen , journalist in VG and author of Erdogan: Turkey's New Sultan, Dana Manouchehri, secretary general of LIM and Hawa Muuse, member of the programme committee for Islam in Norway.
The meeting will be moderated by Yama Wolasmal, journalist and programme host at NRK (Norwegian public broadcasting).

The event is free of charge and open to the public.
Link to the Facebook event.

About the series of meetings:
The Fritt Ord Foundation has taken the initiative to organise a series of dialogue meetings on the topic "Islam in Norway". The Fritt Ord Foundation invites the public to a series of dialogue meetings planned and organised by a programme committee consisting of Hawa Muuse, Sylo Taraku, Linda Noor and Usman Asif. The aim is to contribute to discussions about timely issues involving Islam that span the full range of individual convictions and religious perspectives. 

Time and venue: 28 February 2020, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., at Vega Scene, Hausmanns gate 28, Oslo.

Artistic freedom of expression is often an indicator of exactly where we draw the line in a society. Has the work of Norwegian documentalists become more difficult?

What happens when an undocumented Mexican family seeks church asylum at an Afro-American parish in Philadelphia’s poorest part of town? When Carmela Hernandez and her children request asylum, Pastor Renee McKenzie risks five years in prison for giving them shelter, but she is never in doubt.

What are the greatest challenges to freedom of expression today, and what should researchers examine in greater detail?

Time and venue: 13 Feb. 2020, 7 to 9 p.m., the House of Literature in Oslo