Conference on Islam in Wisconsin Seeks to Bridge the Divide

March 8, 2006

Source: The Capital Times

On March 8, 2006 The Capital Times reported, "Thanks mostly to the policies of the Bush administration, the great rift between the Muslim and Western worlds clearly has widened in the last year, acknowledges the 29-year-old Turkish native and UW-Madison grad student [Mustafa Gokcek.] And there's no better proof, he says, than the tens of thousands of angry protesters who greeted the president on his recent trip to India and Pakistan. But as worrisome as that may be, Gokcek says it also proves the increasing need for events like the second annual International Conference on Islam, 'Dialogue vs. Conflict: Islam in the Age of Globalization,' which will take place March 24-25 at the University of Wisconsin's Pyle Center. The event, which Gokcek helped organize and is being funded largely by the UW's Global Studies program, will feature some of the top Islamic scholars in the world... While the participants will debate a wide range of issues, Gokcek points out that several speakers - notably Thomas Michel, former director of the Islamic office of the Vatican Council for Interreligious Dialogue - will address the controversy over Danish cartoons that poked fun at the Muslim Prophet Muhammad and ignited riots in Muslim countries... Jessica McAbee Ozalp, who is president of Dialogue International, says another topic of great interest at the conference will be 'Muslim Women in the Public Sphere,' which will be the subject of a panel discussion that McAbee Ozalp hopes will help dispel the perception that women play an inferior role in the Islamic religion."