Religion, Migration, and Society

22 Nov 2016 to 23 Nov 2016


‘Religion, Migration, and Society’

Two forums hosted by leading scholars of one of BUiD's partner universities

  • Professor Mona Siddiqui is Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK where she also serves as Assistant Principal for Religion and Society, and International Dean for the Middle East. 
  • Dr Joshua Ralston is Lecturer in Muslim-Christian Relations at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

23rd November 2016, 10am – 12:30pm finishing with lunch

Academic Symposium

"The Role of Religion in Public Life"

After an introduction by the Vice Chancellor of BUiD Professor Siddiqui and Dr Ralston will give introductory papers on the role of religion in public life.  The proposition is that increasing debates around the place of religion in public life are a consequence of a more secular western Europe and a more complex religious picture in the United States.  The question to be explored is whether more public religious expression or religious exceptionalism might destabilise the calm and pluralist spaces of most western countries.

Their introductions will be followed by two pre-prepared responses from UAE academics and an hour’s open discussion by all attending.

Please note this event is by Invitation Only.

Please contact the University Registrar with invitation requests.



22nd November 6pm - 8pm

Student Workshop

"Europe, Religion and Migration"

Professor Siddiqui and Dr Ralston will host a workshop for postgraduate students. The workshop will explore how religion and politics have become inextricably intertwined once again in Europe around the issues of migration. It will discuss the sensitivities and controversies of discussing Islam in global politics and how informed and critical perspectives including cultural theories, are essential to balanced rather than polarised public and academic debates. 

The subject matter of the workshop is to be used as mechanism to develop students awareness of the role of critical thinking in the research process, and to allow them opportunity to develop the ability for critical analytical argument.

Please note this event is by Invitation Only.

If you have advanced students whom you feel would benefit from participating in this workshop please send a request to the University Registrar to make the necessary arrangements.


Professor Mona Siddiqui
Professor Siddiqui joined the University of Edinburgh’s Divinity school in December 2011 as the first person to hold a chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies. Prior to this she worked at Glasgow University directing the Centre for the Study of Islam. Her research areas are primarily in the field of Islamic jurisprudence and ethics and Christian-Muslim relations. Amongst her most recent publications are, Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name (Yale UP, 2015), My Way: A Muslim Woman's Journey (IB Tauris, 2014), Christians, Muslims and Jesus (Yale University Press, 2013), and The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2012). She has held visiting professorships at several Dutch and American universities including a Humanitas Professorship at Cambridge University in 2014. 

She is well known internationally as a public intellectual and a speaker on issues around religion, ethics and public life. She is a regular commentator in the media, known especially for her appearances on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought for the Day.  In 2012, she appeared as a guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and in July 2015, was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions.  She chairs the BBC’s Religious Advisory Committee in Scotland. She has recently been elected to join the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and invited onto the Board of the Franco-British Council. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, holds four honorary doctorates and an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Scottish Architects for her contribution to public life.  In 2011, she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to interfaith services. In 2014 she spoke on religion and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos as she is a member of the Global Agenda Council on Faith for the World Economic Forum. In 2015, she was named in the Debretts top 500 list of the most influential people in the UK.

In 2016, she gave the Prideaux lectures at the University of Exeter, the Gifford lectures at the University of Aberdeen on the topic of ‘human struggle’ and chaired a UK Government Review of Sharia Councils in the UK.'s-sharia-councils,-cultural-insularity-a/7923602


Dr Joshua Ralston
Dr Ralston is Lecturer in Muslim-Christian Relations at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. Prior to moving to Scotland, he was Assistant Professor of Theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Wake Forest University, before going on to study World Christianity at Edinburgh (MTh with distinction), divinity at Candler School of Theology (MDiv), and Christian Theology and Islamic Thought at Emory University (PhD supervised by Ian A. McFarland). His primary work is concerned with the theological, ethical, legal-political, and scriptural encounters between Christians and Muslims across the centuries with a particular focus on Protestant Christianity and Sunni Islam. His commitment to Christian-Muslim relations has been shaped not only through academic study, but also by his experiences of teaching theology, ethics, and interfaith relations in Aba, Nigeria and Cairo, Egypt, and living in Ramallah, Palestine.


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