International Forum Series 1: Terror Attacks in France: Conversations and Responses in The Muslim World



Sisters in Islam (SIS) and Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU Malaysia) are pleased to invite you to join Series 1 of International Public Forum on “Islam, Freedom of Expression and Countering Extremism”.

“Terror attacks in France have sparked a worldwide debate. Muslims and non-Muslims are polarised in terms of their responses towards the tragedies. Many Muslims blamed French laïcité for allowing hate speech against Islam, meanwhile among non-Muslims, Islamophobia is on the rise. While majority of Muslim countries and communities condemned Charlie Hebdo’s caricature of Prophet Muhammad and threatened to boycott French products. We view that not many of them have stood up to address the issue of radical and extremist religious thoughts as well as religious bigotry that have caused the loss of many innocent lives in the name of protecting religion. In this series, we will explore what is missing in the discussion as well as polarised views between Muslims and non-Muslims.”


Shareena Sheriff, Sisters in Islam


Mustafa Akyol, Cato Institute

Mustafa Akyol is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, where he focuses on the intersection of public policy, Islam, and modernity. A Turkish journalist and author, he worked for more than a decade as an opinion columnist for Hurriyet Daily News, and the Middle‐​East focused Al​-Mon​i​tor​.com. Since 2013, he has also been a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Akyol is the author of ‘Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty’ and ‘The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims’.

Marina Mahathir, Writer and Activist

Marina Mahathir is a writer and activist. She has been a newspaper columnist for over 25 years and led an HIV/AIDS NGO for 12 years. In 2009 she joined Sisters in Islam and served on the board for six years. She is currently the chair of the board of Musawah. Marina has also produced TV programmes, feature films and a documentary and founded a website for women and travel. She also hosts ZafigoX, an annual event on women and travel and during the Covid pandemic, a fortnightly online chat show called Hello Zafigo.

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