Skip to main content

Navigating Religion, Identity and Conflict

Navigation Religion, Identity and Conflict

In a time of increased tension between religions and religious minorities, St. Mary’s and Warwick University are holding a Summer School course exploring some of the roots of religious conflict and violence and how these problems may be resolved. The module will focus in particular on the links between religious identity, radicalisation and extremism. Its interdisciplinary approach will embrace theological, sociological, psychological and historical methodologies. The course tackles one the most challenging questions in geopolitics today.


Professor Ian Linden

Dr Abdullah Sahin


The course will take place over three weeks with 3-4 teaching hours each day. On most days there will be seminars followed by discussion at which participants break into groups and a participant presents for about ten minutes a seminar topic derived from the course and allocated the previous day. There will also be daily lectures/webinars with time for questions and discussions. The course includes a number of external visits.

Course aims

  • To examine the effectiveness of different policies towards Religious Pluralism: multiculturalism and laicite/secularism
  • To deepen understanding of vulnerability, and resilience, to religious extremism
  • To explore what can be learnt from a history of interfaith relations
  • To introduce methods for reduction of violence and conflict resolution


  • Different definitions of secularism and their implications for faith
  • A comparison of secular states: India, Turkey, USA
  • Government approaches to integration of minorities, including visit to DCLG
  • Theocratic governments: Iran and Saudi Arabia: the velayat al faqih
  • Britain and changing attitudes to multiculturalism
  • Religious Freedom as a human right
  • Purification/Reform. Withdrawal from the world: Amish, Haredi and Salafi
  • Religious narratives: Neo-Nazis, Jihadism and Islamism
  • The different systemic positioning of the Bible and the Qur’an within the two religious systemsv
  • Intra-faith divisions
  • Extra ecclesia nulla salus. Dhimmi status, conflict and accommodations
  • Tolerance and respect: Nostra Aetate and John Paul II’s pneumatology
  • Politics Princeton Religious narratives: Neo-Nazis, Jihadism and Islamism
  • The rise of Al-Qaida and Da’esh, Religion and the Internet
  • Visit to the Quilliam Foundation: Presenting the British Prevent Agenda, countering extremist narratives
  • The thinking of Sheikh Bin Bayyah
  • The extremist mind. Propaganda, Ideology and the perception of social reality. Integrative complexity IC
  • Views and Problems of Young Muslims
  • Islamic education I: Diversity in Islam
  • Islamic education II: The Qur’an as dialogue
  • Christian education: Freire and dialoguev
  • Conflict resolution methods: Empathy and Resilience
  • The nature of mediation.


  • Guest seminar led by Institut Catholique de Paris lecturer on the French experience of secularism as national identity
  • What should be the limits of religious freedom?
  • What are the key differences between Christian Democrats and Islamists?
  • The most significant differences between Islam and Christianity
  • Do Christian Just War theory and Shari’a Law on Jihad agree?
  • How would you spot an extremist in the classroom?
  • Practical experience of IC, Role Play
  • Should there be a national training college for teachers of Islam?
  • Compare the place of the Bible in Christianity and the Qur’an in Islam
  • Role Play, mediation of a conflict.

Guest Lecturers include:

Oliver McTiernan

Dr. Sara Savage

Sheikh Dr. Usama Hassan

Dame Louise Casey

Emman Al-Badawy

Dr. Ahab Bdaiw of Leiden University, Netherlands, who lives in London and is a Shi’a scholar

Dr. David Marshall formerly working on interfaith relations for the Archbishop of Canterbury, now teaching at Georgetown.

Course Reading List

  • Berger P.L. “The Desecularisation of the World: A Global Overview” in The Desecularisation of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics Berger P.L. ed. Eeerdmans 1999, 1-18
  • Bhargava R. “The Distinctiveness of Indian Political Thought in Singh A.S. & Mohapatra S. (eds.) Indian Political Thought Routledge 2010, 99-119
  • Eickelman D.F. & Piscatori J. Muslim University Press 1996
  • Flannery A. “ Nostra Aetate” The Basic Sixteen Documents: Vatican Council Costello Publishing 1996, 569-575
  • Freire P. Pedagogy of the Oppressed Penguin 1993
  • Gambetta D. & Hertog S. Engineers of Jihad: the curious connection between Violent Extremism and Education Princeton University Press 2016
  • Gerges F. A History of ISIS Princeton University Press 2016
  • Habermas J. “Religion in the Public Sphere” European Journal of Philosophy 14.1, pp 1-25
  • Haidt J. The Righteous Mind Why good people are divided by Politics and Religion Allan Lane 2012
  • HMG Prevent Strategy 2011
  • Lewis P. Young British and Muslim Continuum, London, 2007
  • Mandaville P. Transnational Muslim Politics: re-imagining the Umma Routledge 2011
  • Marcou J. “Turkey: between Post-Islamism and Post-Kemalism” in Boubekeur A. & Roy. O. Whatever happened to the Islamists Hurst 2012, 61-78
  • Roy O. Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah Hurst 2004
  • Sahin A. New Directions in Islamic Education: Pedagogy and Identity Formation Kube Publishing 2013
  • Williams R. Archbishop lecture on Human Rights and Religious Faith Ecumenical Centre, Geneva 28 February 2012
  • V.Uberoi & T. Modood (eds.) Multiculturalism Rethought Edinburgh University Press 2015
  • Volf M. Allah. A Christian Response HarperOne 2011
  • Wickham C.R. The Muslim Brotherhood. Evolution of an Islamist Movement Princeton University Press 2013

Materials will be updated here after each lecture.