Birkbeck London to host 2-day academic symposium charting Muslim power from the fall of the Ottomans to the OIC and beyond

Calling all academics, students, Muslim leaders and activists interested in Muslim politics. As part of its Islamic Courses series, Birkbeck University of London is hosting a two-day academic conference at the beginning of March to examine how Muslim power has fared following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and what the political future of the ummah may look like in 100 years from now.

The demise of the Ottomans led to many of its former territories being fashioned into nation-states by the Western European colonial powers, who competed for influence in these regions. The impact of these changes has been felt across the Muslim world, alongside broader global political upheavals.

The end of World War II saw the emergence of a new world order, the Cold War contestations and the creation of further nation-states.

As the conference organisers write, “after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the collapse of the USSR (1991), some thinkers assumed that the Western hegemonic order would now be established as the spearhead of contemporary civilisation. However, after 9/11(2001), a new phase of global struggle led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003).

“Almost a decade later, we observed the emergence of the so-called Arab Spring, and since the US left Iraq and Afghanistan, it was assumed that the effects of the Arab Spring had subsided. However, in recent events in the Arab world, conflict once again came back to the fore, as well as the decline of Francophone West Africa, civil wars in East Africa and pseudo democracies in the Indo-Pak region.

“With BRICS and growing assertive China, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam India, the re-emergence of Russia, American First and European Far-Right Nationalism agenda have further complicated whether liberalism and nationalism can survive.

“With tremendous shifts in the Muslim world and 2024 also being the year of global elections from the US, the UK, India, and Indonesia, how have the last 100 years since the collapse of the Ottomans played out?”

Looking at these developments through the prism of the Muslim world will be 16 notable scholars, thinkers and commentators from Britain and around the world, who will present academic papers and discuss related themes, including forecasting how the next 100 years could look for the Islamicate world.

The two-day symposium, which occurs on the centenary of the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate (2 March 1924), will be held at Birkbeck’s Bloomsbury campus. People can attend in person or join via a live stream online.

Conference Participants

Chair: Dr. Yakoob Ahmed (Istanbul University)

Co-hosts: Muhammad Jalal (Host of The Thinking Muslim Podcast), Nasim Ahmed (Political Analyst , Middle East Monitor, MEMO), and Enes Yalman (İbn Haldun Üniversitesi, Istanbul)

Guest contributing panellists include:

Professor Muhammad Junaid (Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria), Dr Ahmad (Former Advisor to the OIC – Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), Professor Iftikar Malik (Oxford/Bath University),

Dr Usaama Azaami (Oxford University), Professor Mehmet Asutay (Durham University), Andrew Hammond (Oxford University), Abdurahman Sayed (Director of the African Centre for Policy), Dr Behar Sadriu (University College London), Owais Khan (Center for Islam and Global Affairs(CIGA), Istanbul),

Dr Siti Sarah Muwahidah (Edinburgh University), Dr Anas Altikriti (Cordoba Foundation, London), and

Rashid Dar (Former Researcher at The Brookings Institution and Founding Partner, Firasa Group, Istanbul).


  • Among the fascinating array of topics and papers being presented at the conference are:
  • The politics of forgetting 1924 and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire– How to retrieve meaning from the past
  • From the fall of the Sokoto to modern Nigeria and comparisons with the fall of the Ottomans
  • Is an Islamic moral economy possible in a Capitalist world?
  • Once part of the Muslim world, now part of Europe? The ever-evolving role of the Balkans.
  • The challenges for democracy and Islam and politics. Do either have a future in West Asia?
  • From the Horn of Africa to across the Swahili coast – The Battle for the Red Sea
  • The role and evolution of Muslim networks, from Imperial politics to Nation-state
  • Changing Politics of the Asian Subcontinent. Changes at home and impacts on the diaspora in the West
  • Deeper insights into the OIC and UN decision-making apparatus and the inner political workings of Muslim governments

Event Details

Title: Islamic Courses – Fall of the Ottomans to the OIC: Reflections, Dreams & Aspirations of Power

Date: Saturday 2 March and Sunday 3 March 2024

Time: 9am to 5pm

Venue: Birkbeck University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX

Admission: Early bird tickets for two-day in-person attendance are £40 (plus £4.04 booking fee) for students/unwaged, and £70 (plus £6.55 bf). Two day streaming tickets are £65 (plus £6.13 bf).

Last day for early bird tickets is 15 February, with ticket prices set to increase afterwards.

Please note, unless the programme has been postponed or cancelled, there are no refunds as part of the terms and condition policy.

Tickets: buy online from Eventbrite – click here