Roundtable Discussion “The Global Crisis of Democracy: Religions, Nationalism, and Populism”
December 25, 2023

Date: Tuesday, 9th January 2024

Time: 11.00AM – 1.00PM

Venue: Ibnu Taimiyyah Conference Room, Kulliyyah of Economics & Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia, Jalan Gombak, Kuala Lumpur


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Prof. Dr. Ahmet T. Kuru,

Director of Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies and Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University, United States



Dr. Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, IIUM


Assoc. Prof. Dr Syaza Farhana Mohamad Shukri

Head of Department, Department of Political Science, IIUM



Dr. Muhammad Adli Musa

President, Academic Staff Association (ASA), IIUM


What explains the recent crisis of democracy worldwide? Ahmet Kuru will examine this puzzle in various cases, including the United States, France, Israel, Russia, and India. He will focus on the recent partnership between religion, nationalism, and right-wing populism in these countries. He will explain how the Muslim world is part of this global trend. This presentation will expand Kuru’s “ulema-state alliance concept” beyond the Muslim world. It will show that clergy-state alliances are not limited to Muslim-majority countries but they are also getting stronger in many Christian-majority, Jewish-majority, and Hindu-majority countries.



11.00-11.05AM:  Welcoming speech by the Dean of Kulliyyah of Economics &    Management Sciences, IIUM, Prof. Dr. Ghairuzazmi Mat Ghani

11.05-11.15AM:  Introduction by Moderator, Dr. Muhammad Adli Musa

11.15-11.45AM:  Presentation by Prof. Dr. Ahmet T. Kuru

11.45-12.00PM: Discussant 1: Dr. Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

12.00-12.15PM: Discussant 2: Assoc Prof Dr Syaza Farhana Mohamad Shukri, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

12.15-12.50PM: Discussion

12.50-1.00PM:  Conclusion by Moderator

1.00PM         :    Lunch


Jointly organized by:  Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), Academic Staff Association (ASA) IIUM, Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences, IIUM


Biography Prof. Dr. Ahmet T. Kuru

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.


Speakers’ Biographies

Dr Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar is a commentator on local politics. He has a keen and diverse interest in Malaysian elections as well as International Relations. The former Head of Department of Political Science at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), he received his doctorate from the University, in which he wrote about delimitation and communal representation in Malaysia’s elections. He has written numerous journal articles and book chapters on Malaysian politics, specifically on elections and the country’s electoral system. He has also conducted research on issues ranging from public perception towards government to public awareness on science and technology. He is the editor of Intellectual Discourse, the flagship journal of IIUM. His latest publications are a book he co-authored with Roy Anthony Rogers and Wan Sharina Ramlah entitled Hubungan Antarabangsa: Teori dan Praktis (UM Press, 2022), and a book chapter entitled “Public Opinion Polls in Malaysia: Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Pandemic Era” in Syaza Shukri (ed.), Pandemic, Politics and a Fairer Society in Southeast Asia: A Malaysian Perspective (Leeds: Emerald Publishing, 2023).

Assoc Prof Dr Syaza Farhana Mohamad Shukri is a political science researcher and associate professor at IIUM. Her area of specialisation is in comparative politics, specifically in political Islam and democratisation in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Malaysia. She has published numerous articles and book chapters based on her doctoral research and other interests including in the areas of populism, identity politics, and geopolitics, focusing on Malaysia and the Muslim world in general. She has received funding for research projects in inter-ethnic relations in Malaysia (university grant), gender discrimination at the workplace (national grant), and on Maqasid al-Shariah in politics (international grant). She has also received funding for a consultation with an international organisation for a project on political Islam in Malaysia. Syaza has also been invited to share her views on various matters with the European Centre for Populism Studies based in Brussels, Ummatics based in the UK, Asialink which is part of the University of Melbourne, the Asia Centre in Thailand, Wanita Berdaya Selangor, Institute of Research and Development Policy in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Parliament, and Qatar University’s Office for Research and Graduate Studies. She has also been invited by scholars from different parts of the world, including Hong Kong, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia, to collaborate on various projects. Her expert opinion has been sought by the likes of Bloomberg, South China Morning Post, the Anadolu Agency in Turkey, Sinar Daily, New Straits Times, and the Malay Mail. She is regularly featured on Malaysia’s state TV, RTM. She graduated summa cum laude (with highest honour) for her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, USA, with a double-major in political science and history. She received her Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, and her PhD on Turkish politics from the International Islamic University Malaysia in 2018.

Dr. Muhammad Adli Musa is the President of Academic Staff Association (ASA) IIUM and a lecturer at the Department of Qur’an and Sunnah Studies, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences. In his Ph.D. thesis, Muhammad Adli explores the extent to which the practices of Islamic banks in Malaysia reflect Islamic ethical norms in business/finance. His Master thesis compiles Prophetic traditions related to business ethics and identifies the approaches adopted by Prophet Muhammad in promoting ethical behaviour in business/financial transactions. He has co-authored a book on Ethics in Islamic Finance, published by the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM) in 2013. He participated in Summer Schools for graduate students organised by the Republic of Turkey Prime Minister’s Office of Public Diplomacy and the International Institute of Islamic Thought in 2013 and 2014, respectively. He presented papers related to Islamic banking/financial ethics at various international conferences, which include: the Foundation of Islamic Finance Conference in 2011 and 2013, 10th University of Harvard Forum on Islamic Finance in 2012, International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance in 2011, and the Islamic Studies Postgraduate Conference organised by the Centre of Islamic Law and National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies, the University of Melbourne in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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Updated version: 2.39-20231022