Professor Monica Toft at the Asian Forum for Global Governance

This past January, Professor Monica Toft participated as an invited speaker at the Asian Forum on Global Governance (AFGG), “Managing Disruptive Transition: Ideas, Institutions & Idioms.” AFGG provides an instructional and networking platform for young professional leaders to debate and challenge conventional interpretations of complex contemporary realities in Asia and the world.

Professor Toft’s panel, ‘Islamophobia or Jihad Apologists? Responding to Relentless Terror,’ focused on religiously-based extremism that has become a driving force of terrorism in recent years. The panel discussed the emergent dichotomy between ‘Islamophobes’ and ‘Jihad apologists’ that has overwhelmed and paralyzed the larger response to religiously-inspired terror. Professor Toft addressed the ways in which the rise of Islamist violence and terrorism is related to the global resurgence of religion, and that to both understand and combat it we need a more nuanced understanding for why and how religion becomes part of the political arena. Religion itself is not to be blamed, but its instrumentalization in politics, which often involves elites using religion to outbid one another, often resulting in violence. Professor Toft also was a special guest at a dinner of Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, recently the Foreign Secretary of the Government of India.

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