Working for a Peaceful, Harmonious and Prosperous World
Formation of New Think Tanks in Mali
At the second meeting in Istanbul in 2014 Joel Hirst, who was nation building for the United Nations in Mali, met Dr. Nouh El-Harmouzi, who as a result took a group from the Arab Center to undertake outreach work in Mali. After several visits the very active think tank Think Peace was founded and is now promoting freedom in Mali themselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKdpFzZXoxA
Another member of that first group that went from Morocco to Mali was Zineb ben Alla who subsequently formed another group in Mali, TICVE (The Transnational Initiative for Countering Violent Extremism). It has been active in Mali and also in the US and Morocco making the case for an end to violent extremism. They were subsequently the UN in NY: http://www.ticve.org/
Starting Discussions in Bosnia
Dr. Admir Cavalic first came to our attention when he asked if the Istanbul Network might pay for his flight from Bosnia to the Istanbul Network meeting in Istanbul in 2013. He covered his room costs by sharing with a Bosnian friend. He got to know many of like mind at that meeting and made significant interventions in the discussions. As a result of meeting him there Network for Free Society then agreed to support his group Multi during the following year with all the beneficial outcomes that flowed from it.
Book Tour for the author of “Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism”
In February 2016, Istanbul Network in collaboration with IDEAS (Malaysia) organized a lecture tour by the historian Dr. Benedikt Koehler, author of “Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism”. These activities included a colloquium on Islam and Market Economy, public lecture at various institutes and universities and lecture on Islam and Capitalism hosted by Sekolah Pemikir Jalanan.
Publication of “Islamic Foundations of a Free Society”
In October 2016, the Institute of Economic Affairs published the book Islamic Foundations of a Free Society, edited by Dr. Nouh El-Harmouzi and Linda Whetstone. It was written by 13 Islamic scholars from countries as diverse as Afghanistan and the USA and aims to inform those in the West who view Islam with fear and suspicion while encouraging Muslims to remember and learn from their history of rich and pluralistic Islamic civilisations. Most of the papers were developed from presentations made at the annual conferences of the Istanbul Network for Liberty. It is currently being translated into Arabic, Turkish and Dari with the possibility of French to follow. You can download it free from here or buy it via Amazon.
Translation of “Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism”
Ozlem Caglar arranged for Dr. Benedikt Koehler’s book on Islam and Capitalism to be translated into Turkish and published by the Liberte Publishers in Ankara and he spoke on the subject in Turkey during June 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbQa-bFW-Lk
Short Course for Ismaili Muslims in Pakistan
Ali Salman ran a short course “Foundations of Liberal Democracy and Market Economy in Islam” in Islamabad to a group of students from Ismaili Muslims in which he used some of the essays published in the IEA book “The Islamic Foundations of a Free Society” in the reader.
Seminar in Afghanistan
IEA’s book Islamic Foundations for a Free Society has already been used in discussions all over the world. Below is a photo of it being the central topic at an open meeting run by the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organisation in Kabul and although you can’t see the audience you can tell from the height of the screen and the microphones that it was significant. They have plans to use it for many debates and study sessions in Afghanistan and will be putting the Dari version on their website which is also viewed by many Iranians who can mostly understand Dari. In addition they are creating a mini library of classical liberal texts to go on a CD to make Islamic Foundations of a Free Society and their other online publications more easily available to those Afghans whose internet is too expensive and download speeds are too slow to read books on line.
Part of Asia Liberty Forum in India
In February 2017 there was a debate on it at the Asia Liberty Forum in Mumbai with an audience of around 100, in which an exclusive panel was organized on this which was attended by the Chairman of Istanbul Network Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
Virtual Discussion Group with Students for Liberty
Beginning February 2017, the book was the topic of a 3 session, online discussion by Students for Liberty with Ali Salman as the discussion leader and with 15 participants drawn mostly from US but also including other countries.
Improving Understanding in Europe
In March 2017, it was also the theme for one of the sessions at a seminar at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham hosted by the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society titled Understanding Islam, and its relationship with a free society and a free economy.
In May 2017 it will be the theme for a discussion in the House of Commons run by the Henry Jackson Society with Islamic scholars Muhammad Amin, Azhar Aslam and Usama Hasan presenting their thoughts on the compatibility of Islam and a free society.
Also in May Linda Whetstone is doing a webinar presentation for the Atlas Network about their partners in mainly Muslim countries and will be talking about the Istanbul Network and the work it is doing including details of the book Islamic Foundations of a Free Society.
Laying the Foundation in Malaysia
In April 2017, the Institute of Economic Affairs shipped 100 donated copies of the book to Noor Amin Ahmad, Director of the Institute for Leadership and Development Studies in Malaysia for some outreach events they are about to run.
Talk on democracy and rule of law in Turkey at Kuala Lumpur
On 30th of October 2016, Istanbul Network for Liberty organized a talk by Dr. Bican Sahin at Kuala Lumpur, who is the Chairman of the Freedom Research Association in Turkey, and also an associate professor at Hacettepe University. The event was attended by a mixed group including students, journalists, activists and diplomats. During his talk, Dr. Sahin spoke on the future of freedom, rule of law and democracy in Turkey besides the increasing social friction between pro-secular and pro-Islamist movements in the aftermath of Turkey’s failed coup d’état.
Participation in the Arab Liberty Festival in Morocco
Our Programme Officer, Hakan Sahin attended the Arab Liberty Festival and Mena Think-Tank Training in Rabat, Morocco. He gave small speeches at the festival about the problems of centralized higher education and the importance of market economy in Early Islam.
Istanbul Network for Liberty in Sarajevo
Istanbul Network for Liberty held a Session titled “Perspectives on Ideas of Free Society and Islam” at Open Fest in Sarajevo on 29 October 2016. The festival was organized by the collaboration of Association Multi, Atlas Foundation and European Students for Liberty. The session was chaired by Dr. Edo Omercevic, while speakers included Dr. Admir Cavalic, Ozlem Caglar Yilmaz and Hakan Sahin. Linda Whetstone introduced the recently published book by the Institute of Economic Affairs titled Islamic Foundations of a Free Society which she has edited together with Dr. Nouh El-Harmouzi.