Reading Session on “Can Passive Secularism Be a Middle Ground Between Assertive Secularism and Islamism?” With Prof. Dr. Ahmet T. Kuru
December 25, 2023

Date: Saturday, 6st January 2024
Time: 5.00PM – 7.00PM
Venue: Baitul Azizah, Presint 18, Putrajaya Bandar Filsafat



Prof. Dr. Ahmet T. Kuru
Director of Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies and Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University.


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Throughout the Muslim world, there has been a debate between the supporters of assertive secularism, which aims to exclude religion from the public life, and the defenders of Islamism, which tries to impose Islamic law in an authoritarian way. One may call this a struggle between the paths of Ataturk and Khomeini, or between those of Bourguiba and Ibn Saud. Ahmet Kuru’s 2009 book, “Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey,” was an attempt to find a middle way between these two opposite claims. His presentation will examine whether passive secularism, which tolerates public visibility of religious and secular symbols, can still be a middle way. It will particularly examine three issues: law-making, citizenship, and political leadership.



5.00-5.10PM:  Welcoming speech by Moderator, Dato’ Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa

510-6.00PM:   Presentation by Prof. Dr. Ahmet T. Kuru

6.00-6.50PM:  Discussion

6.50-7.00PM:  Conclusion by Moderator

7.00PM:          Tea


Biography Speaker

Prof. Dr. Ahmet T. Kuru (PhD, University of Washington) is the director of Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies and past Bruce E. Porteous Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University. He was a postdoctoral scholar at Columbia University. Kuru is the author of Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 2009), which received Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR)’s Book Award. He is also the co-editor (with Alfred Stepan) of Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey (Columbia University Press, 2012). Kuru’s articles appeared in various journals including World PoliticsComparative Politics, and Political Science Quarterly. His recent book Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2019) co-won the American Political Science Association’s International History and Politics Section Award, received honourable mention of SSSR’s Award, and was included in Times Literary Supplement’s Books of the Year. Kuru’s works have been translated into Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Malay, Persian, and Turkish.


Organized byIslamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

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