Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought

Mokhtar's avenging the massacre of Hussein and his 71 followersThe LIVIT project has convened a number of conferences since its inception in 2010, including:

1. Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic thought: Inaugral conference: Details here

2. Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Early Islamic thought: Details here

3. Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Classical Islamic thought: Details here

4. Islam in Central Asia: Society, Politics and Resistance: Details here

Image: "Mokhtar avenging the massacre of Hussein and his 71 followers”.

Painting by Abbas Bolukifar, 1946. Oil on canvas. Teheran, Reza Abbasi Museum


The Fourth LIVIT Conference:

Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in

Modern Islamic Thought

2nd-3rd September 2013

Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

University of Exeter


UPDATE: It is with great regret that we announce that Professor Abou El Fadl will not be able to attend the conference as previously announced. He suffered a heart attack in July, and is not able to travel.  We wish him a speedy recovery and trust he shall be able to visit us for some future event.  Below is a revised programme, including additional papers from Professor Jonathan Brown of Georgetown University, and Professor Ruud Peters of Amsterdam University.


This conference examines the ways in which violence has both been justified and delegitimised by Muslim thinkers in the modern period, and also how Muslim thought has considered the category of violence.  It is hosted jointly by the LIVIT project and the Islamic Reformulations project.  For the conference programme in pdf (as of 28th August), click here.


Sunday 1st September 2013

Conference Participants arrive


19.30 Informal Opening Meal


Monday 2nd September 2013


09.30 Opening Remarks:  Sarah Elibiary and Robert Gleave


10.00 Opening Lecture

Bruce Lawrence (Duke University)

"The Colonial Boundary between Religion and Ideology: A Minority Report on Muslim Violence”


11.30 Tea/Coffee


12.00  PANEL 1: Colonial Legacy and Violence

12.00 William Gallois (University of Exeter)

“Jihad in Algeria, 1830-47”

12.30 Mustafa Baig (University of Exeter)

“Resistance to the British Raj: Imam Ahmad Raza Khan’s legal and political perspective.”


13.00 Lunch


14.15 PANEL 2: Discourses of Legitimacy and Illegitimacy

14.15 Farhad Khosrokhavar (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris)

"How Islamic radicals perceive legitimate and illegitimate violence"

14.45 Jens Kutschner (Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

“Peaceful Protest and Islamic Legitimacy in Contemporary Fatwas”


15.15 Tea/Lunch


15.45 PANEL 3: AQ, AQAP and Jihadi Discourse

15.45 David Cook (Rice University, Houston)

“God, Authority, Jihad”

16.15 Saud Al-Sarhan (Senior Fellow, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies)

"The Hūthīs and al-Qā‘ida in Yemen: A Comparative Analysis on Justification for Violence against the state."

16.45 Joas Wagemakers (Radboud University Nijmegen)

"Al-Qā‘ida's Post-Arab Spring Jihad: Confirmation or Re-Evaluation?


17.15 Close


19.30 Conference Dinner


Tuesday 3rd September 2013

09.30  PANEL 4: Law, Morality and Violence

0930 Lecture: Ruud Peters (Amsterdam University)

                "Sharia: law, morals and the regulation of violence"


10.15 Robert Gleave (University of Exeter)

“Language, Violence and Uṣūl al-fiqh: Modern Salafī and Shīʿī argumentation”

                10.45 Jonathan Brown (Georgetown University)

“Is a Text Irretrievably Violent? The Case of Quran 4:34”


11.15 Tea/Coffee


PANEL 5: Jihād Strategy and Legitimate Violence

11.45 Beverly Milton-Edwards (Queen’s University Belfast)

“Managing Violent Conflict: Hudna and Tahdiya, beyond a strategic pause”

12.15 Atef Alshaer (School or Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

“The Portrayal of an Enemy: Violence in the thought of two leaders from the movements of Hizbullah and Hamas, Naim al-Qasim and Mushir al-Masri.”


12.45 Lunch


13.45 PANEL 6: Jihad in Theological Context

13.45 Daniel Lav (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

"bu‘ithtu bi’l-sayf: Jihad, Monolatry, and Theonomy in Modern Salafism"

14.15 Ella Landau-Tasseron (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

“Jihād and just war categories”


14.45 Tea/Coffee


15.15 PANEL 7: Violent Discourse in Islamist Movements

15.15 Dawood Hamzah Adesola (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

“Legitimacy or Illegitimacy of Violence: Boko Haram in the Context of Nigeria and the International Order”

15.45 Sarah Elibiary (University of Exeter)

“Violence and Political Mobilisation in the Discourse of Muqtadā al-Ṣadr”

16.15 Jan-Peter Hartung (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

“The Taliban Legal Discourse on Violence”


16.45 Closing Remarks (Robert Gleave)


19.30 Closing Dinner


Wednesday 4th September 2013


AM: Conference participants depart



Conference participants do not need to register.

For those wishing to attend:

Registration (residential): £300.00 (refreshments, lunches, evening meals and single en-suite accommodation)

Registration (non-residential): £170.00 (including refreshments, lunches and evening meals)

Day registration: £50 (including refreshments and lunch)

To register please download and complete a registration form (available here) and send it to Jane Clark (jane.clark@exeter.ac.uk) by 23rd August 2013.


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