Past Events

The City Circle is an open circle for open minds

Proxy wars between Shias and Sunnis

The effects on Muslim communities 

Date: Friday 26 October 2018

Time: 18:45 for a 19:00 start. Ending at 20:30

Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, Marylebone, London W1H 4LP

Speakers: Fiyaz Mughal OBE and Professor Mark Woodward

Chair: Hani Mohamed

Since the start of Syria’s and Yemen’s devastating wars, other Middle Eastern governments have actively supported one of the sides militarily and financially. Many of these alignments seem to have been drawn along sectarian lines, with Shia-majority and Sunni-majority governments engaged in apparent proxy wars for influence in the region. But are these conflicts now spilling over to affect Muslim communities outside the Middle East, opening up sectarian divisions between Muslims?

The City Circle is pleased to be joined by experts from the UK, the US and Asia who have studied the causes and effects of sectarian conflict, and who are actively working to counter it. Drawing on research from around the world, they will explain how communities are often being influenced by agencies and unscrupulous individuals with their own agendas without realising it. The panel will also consider how we can stay alert to bias, and what Muslims can do to challenge sectarian prejudices and remain a united community. 

This talk is jointly organised by The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University, Alertist, and The City Circle. Join us for what promises to be an informative and thought-provoking discussion, and come ready to share your views and ideas in the audience discussion!



Fiyaz Mughal OBE, Founder and Director of Faith Matters

Fiyaz is the Founder and Director of Faith Matters, which works on countering extremism, community integration and monitoring hate crime work. He also founded the national monitoring project Tell MAMA, set up to monitor Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime, where he was Director from 2011-2016. In 2009 he was honoured with an OBE for his work with communities. He is regularly featured on TV and in the press. 

Professor Mark Woodward, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University

Prof Woodward is an Associate Professor at The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University. His research focuses on religion-state-society relations, and religion and conflict in south east Asia. He has also conducted research on Islam and politics in west Africa (Niger and Nigeria) and the UK. He has published more than 50 scholarly articles in the US, Europe, Indonesia and Singapore, many co-authored with south east Asian scholars. He is currently directing a trans-disciplinary, multi-country project on counter-radical Muslim discourse.

Chair: Hani Mohamed, CEO and Founder, Alertist

Hani is the Founder and CEO of Alertist, a consultancy organising interfaith, intrafaith and peace-building conferences and dialogues internationally. She has organised these at the National University of Singapore, the Center for Democracy and Development in Nigeria, King's College London, the Universities of Exeter and Durham, as well as at various NGOs across south east Asia. Previously she was a lecturer in media, journalism and mass communication at Monash and Murdoch Universities in Australia.

Additional details 

Free entrance. All welcome. Prayer space available. Street parking free from 18:30. Doors open at 18:45 and the talk begins at 19:00. If you have any questions, please contact the event organiser