June 17-21, Beirut
Your Rights & My Responsibilities: Biblical & Islamic Perspectives on Human Rights
The mandate of the Institute of Middle East Studies is to bring about positive transformation in thinking and practice between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East and beyond. The subject of human rights, how they are understood and practiced within different cultural and religious contexts both in the Middle East and beyond, is commonly an area of significant misunderstanding which has in recent times led to violent clashes and the loss of life.
The 2013 Middle East Conference will provide an opportunity to explore some of these issues within a Middle Eastern context. In particular, MEC 2013 seeks to enable Christians to gain insights into the Biblical, theological and philosophical foundations of human rights as well as Islamic understandings and practices concerned with human rights, exploring commonalities and differences in approaches, and touching upon issues related to religious rights and freedoms, freedom of expression and 'the defense of God', the Arab Uprisings, human trafficking, children's rights, the Lebanese sex trade, and domestic workers in the MENA context.
MEC 2013 will help participants develop a discourse based not simply on an individualistic understanding of ‘human rights’, as is common in a typically Western narrative, but taking into account an approach that takes seriously corporate and social responsibility for the welfare of all human beings. It will further help participants gain insights into non-western, Christian and Islamic approaches to what is commonly referred to as ‘human rights’ in order to understand why clashes often occur, and what can be done to reduce such clashes.
Particular sessions throughout the week will focus on: the notions of ‘freedom of expression’ in contrast with the Islamic doctrine of 'the defense of God' and the implications of these equally strongly held values and principles; religious rights and freedom, particularly associated with Islamic views of apostasy, from both Christian and Islamic perspectives; the role of human rights within the emerging MENA context, and if a human rights based approach could be a model for co-existence within a majority Muslim context; human trafficking as a human rights issue.
MEC 2013 speakers are a mix of international, local and regional experts within their fields. Both Christian and Muslim perspectives will be explored by participants in dialogue with speakers from both faith traditions. In addition MEC 2013 will provide Christians from around the world the opportunity to engage in honest and constructive conversations with Muslims around some of the issues being addressed…
The Middle East Conference is fully bilingual (English and Arabic) with simultaneous translation from both languages. MEC typically attracts around 100 participants from around the world. Church groups, students and those with an interest in Biblically sound witness to Christ in multi-religious contexts constitute the main participants.
Follow us on Twitter to be kept up-to-date on all MEC 2013 news: @IMESLebanon. We look forward to welcoming you to MEC 2013!
Assistant Director, Institute of Middle East Studies