Anyone in the DC area is invited to a conference all day Thursday at GWU's Elliott School, co-sponsored by our Institute for Middle East Studies, entitled "The Challenges of Integrating Islam: Comparative Experiences of Europe and the Middle East." The morning panel looks at the headscarf issue in Turkey, while the lunch address is being given by Jakob Skovgaard-Peterson, director of the Danish-Egypt Dialogue Institute (which must be one of the most thankless jobs in the world, but one which must offer some interesting perspectives on inter-faith relations; UPDATE: Skovgaard-Peterson just canceled, I'm sorry to say....). Two outstanding anthropologists are slated to speak as well: Jon Anderson (American University) and John Bowen (Washington University - St. Louis). I'll be rushing over from a morning workshop across town to speak at the 1:45 panel. I was slated to talk about "The social and the political: Islamist views of reform", but now I'm planning to work up some remarks on the fascinating controversy which has erupted in the UK over remarks by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, over the application of sharia law in Great Britain. Stay tuned.
After that, I'm taking off for the Gulf, where (among other things) I'll be taking part in the annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum organized by the Brookings Institution. I'm leading one session with a paper on Islamist views of reform (which should be available via Brookings after the event). Diya Rashwan of Egypt's Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies will be one of the discussants (the other, Mohammed Abu Roman from Jordan's al-Ghad newspaper apparently had to back out at the last minute, to my great regret). I suspect that some of the other participants (who include both Islamists and sharp critics of Islamism) will also have some thoughts. I'll probably write up the discussion, though I don't know if I'll be able to do it until I get back.
Posting might therefore be light for the next week or two, depending on circumstances.