17 – 18 March 2014 – Hotel Legacy Ottoman – Istanbul

Values and Institutions of a Free Society in mainly Muslim Countries



16 March 2014, Sunday

17.00 – 19.00             Registration

19.00 – 19.45             Opening Dinner

19.45 – 20.30              Keynote speech: Syed Kamall, Member of the European Parliament (Video)


17 March 2014, Monday

08.30 – 09.30              Registration

09.30 – 10.00             Opening remarks

Özlem Çağlar Yılmaz, Association for Liberal Thinking

Dr. Azhar Aslam, Chairman of Istanbul Network for Liberty

Linda Whetstone, Chairman of Network for a Free Society

10.00 – 11.00  I. Session
Reason and Tradition in the Muslim World

Chair:  Dr. Mohammad Ahrar Ramizpoor, Afghan Economic and Legal Studies Org.

- Prof. Dr. Mustafa Acar, Aksaray University, Turkey: “Ahl Al-Rey vs. Ahl Al-Hadith: Destructive Consequences of The Conflict Between Rationalist and Traditionist Schools in The Muslim World

– Dr. Raza Ullah, Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan: “Rationalism and Extremism in Muslim Societies”


11.00 – 11.30              Coffee Break


11.30 – 13.00  II. Session
Islam, Individual and the State

Chair: Thomas Cumhur Gür, Senior Advisor to Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation


– Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hasan Yucel Basdemir, Hitit University Divinity Faculty, Turkey: “Why a Particular Political Idea Didn’t Emerge in Islamic History

– Dženan Smajić, Center for Advance Studies, Bosnia:  “State and Community in Islam: Rights, Responsibilities and Obligations vis a vis individuals

– Prof. Dr. Bilal Sambur, Yildirim Beyazit University, Turkey: “Islam as an individual religion”


13.00 – 14.00              Lunch


14.00 – 15.30              III. Session

Situation of Women in Muslim Countries

Chair: Prof. Dr. Ömer Çaha, Yildiz Technical University Department of Political Science


- Dr. Hidayet Tuksal, Mardin Artuklu University Faculty of Theology, Founding Member of Capital City Women’s Platform

– Amira El Kady, Journalist, Nile News, Cairo: Women in Islamic Countries

– Souad Adnane, Arab Center for Scientific Research and Humane Studies, Morocco: Women’s position in Morocco


15.30 – 16.00              Coffee Break


16.00 – 17.00              IV. Session

Religion, Islam and Capitalism

Chair: Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs; Malaysia

- Volkan Ertit, Aksaray Uni, Phd Student İn Rodbaud University: “Capitalism, A Fervent Accelerator of Secularization”

– Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad , Minaret of Freedom Institute: “Capitalism and Imperialism


18.00 – 20.00              Dinner


18 March 2014, Tuesday

09.30 – 11.00              V. Session
Poverty, Welfare, Social Justice and Public Goods in Muslim Societies

Chair: Dr. Nouh El Harmouzi, Ibn Toufail University, Morocco, Minbaralhurriya.org


– Benedikt Koehler, UK: “Private Sector Provision of Welfare – The Waqf – in Early Islam

– Edo Omerčević, Center for Advancement for Free Enterprise, Bosnia: “Islam in Bosnia: An Empirical Analysis of Muslims’ Desire for Government Control

– Dr. Peter Mentzel, Liberty Fund: “Protectionists and Free-Traders in the Late Ottoman Empire”


11.00 – 11.30               Coffee Break


11.30 – 13.00             VI. Session

Politics, Reform  and Uprising in the Muslim World

Chair: Prof. Dr. Ahmet Uysal, Marmara University, Middle Eastern Studies Center, Coordinator of Arab Turkish Congress of Social Sciences


– Asst. Prof. Dr. Murat Aktas, Mus Alpaslan University, Turkey: “The Arab Uprisings and Democracy

– Zineb Benella, Morocco: “Challenges to Liberal Reform in The Arab Spring”

– Prof. Dr. Bekir Berat Özipek, İstanbul Commerce University


13.00 – 14.30              Lunch

Keynote speech: Mustafa Akyol, Columnist and Author of the book Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty


14.30 – 16.00 VII. Session

Free Market Economy and Liberal Democracy in the Muslim World

Chair: Ali Salman, Policy Research Institute of Market Economy, Pakistan


– Dr. Hicham El Moussaoui, Sultan Moulay Slimane University,  Moroco: “Why Market Economy is Weak in Islamic World ?

– Dalibor Rohac, Cato Institute: “Understanding the Economics of Political Islam”

– Dr. Akrem M. Aswed, University of Duhok, Kurdistan: “Liberal Democracy and Economic Development in Islamic World


16.00 – 16.30   Coffee Break


16.30 – 18.00              VIII. Session

Workshop on Practical Issues for Liberal Democracy in the Muslim World

Moderators: Dr. Imad ad Dean Ahmad – Prof. Dr. Atilla Yayla

The Arab spring has demonstrated that a desire to eliminate a particular authoritrarian leader is insufficient to assure a transition to a liberal democracy, even when liberal Islamic activists are involved. All participants will be encouraged to identify and discuss the practical impediments to applying the deas of this conference in their respective countries and to share ideas for overcoming those impediments. The discussion is open ended. Among the ideas appropriate for the discussion are the roles of independent civil society institutions, Islamic study circles, new media, reconciliation programs, and peaceful resistance.


18.00                           Closing


18.30 – 19.30              Dinner