Hefner Attends International Conference on Islamic Law and Inclusive Citizenship

Robert Hefner (3rd row, 2nd from the left) with dignitaries in attendance for the opening of the 2023 International Conference on Civilizational Fiqh. (Photo provided by Robert Hefner)

From February 5-7, 2023, Robert HefnerProfessor of Anthropology and of International Relations at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and Director of the School’s Center for the Study of Asia, attended the International Conference on Civilization Fiqh in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Sponsored by Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) – the largest Muslim association in the world – the conference brought together some 200 Muslim religious scholars from more than 20 countries to discuss how to reform Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh, Ind. Fikih) so as to make it convergent with and supportive of inclusive citizenship and international human rights. Hefner was among some eight non-Muslim scholars invited; he participated in round table discussions that had to do with the challenge of equal citizenship in the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

Additionally, Hefner was interviewed by Indonesia’s foremost Muslim newspaper Republika on the NU and Indonesia’s increasingly influential role in global Muslim thought, especially that related to efforts to make Islamic law (fiqh) supportive of democracy and citizen equality. Hefner called the conference “timely,” especially in the face of some may global challenges. He also noted that Indonesia, and NU specifically, has the potential to make enormous contributions to the global community. As he said, “it’s time for NU to rise to the international stage, speak out, and make such a positive contribution to solving political problems as well as intellectual and moral challenges faced by all humanity.”

The full interview can be viewed (in Indonesian) on Republika’s website.

Robert Hefner has directed 19 research projects and organized 18 international conferences, and authored or edited nineteen books. He is the former president of the Association for Asian Studies. At CURA, he directed the program on Islam and civil society since 1991; coordinated interdisciplinary research and public policy programs on religion, pluralism, and world affairs; and is currently involved in two research projects: “The New Western Plurality and Civic Coexistence: Muslims, Catholics, and Secularists in North America and Western Europe”; and “Sharia Transitions: Islamic Law and Ethical Plurality in the Contemporary World.” Read more about Professor Hefner on his faculty profile