I would like to share with you a book project with a focus on understanding various Islamic countries. I hope you can find the synergy and become an essential part of the project.
In one of my recent workshops at the university, when asked to provide word associated with “Islam”, ALL my students gave “terrorism” among their first three entries.
Ignorance is the breeding ground of suspicion and distrust. A great amount of issues and problems that are automatically connected with Islam are not essentially Islamic: Female genital cutting is mainly in Christian Ethiopia and Africa, Honour Killing is popular among Hindus and Sikhs, even some Christian Mediterranean countries; and Corporal Punishment is severe in Singapore. Indonesian Islam is greatly different from Iranian or Somalian Islam. Many practice and even terrorist acts are NOT in the name of Islam or are being done DESPITE of Islam.
However, Islam has become a quick fast food explanation that can easily appeal to people. Don't know how to explain certain thing? Say it's just because it's a Muslim thing, and people will give you that "Now I understand!" look.
Thus, I have planned for two year-long field trip in 2012 and 2014, dedicated to a journey of understanding, taking myself as a living element within Islam’s living texture. My journey will start in Saudi Arabia where Islam began; follow its footstep of expansion through Arabian Peninsula, westward to Africa and eastward to Asia, completing the Pan-Islamic that used to be the vision of a strong united state. At this moment, I have completed the first leg to the west. The result of this part has been reported in a keynote I gave at SIETAR Europa congress in Sept 2013. The speech was highly appreciated and rated as the congress's best presentation.
My profile is neutral: I come form the East, live in the West and try understand the Middle. And with this balance, I travel slowly and locally, picking up the community threads and identifying cultural cues that international media overlook in portraying news or bolstering stereotypes: Meet thought-leaders, engaging with society through teaching, learning, voluntary work and observation. All activities are designed to unearth the real that lies hidden behind the apparent.
This project encourages people to utilize their freedom, to take a proactive approach and go beyond the ready fast-food that is often spoon-fed by media, especially amid the current turmoil in Middle East. It challenges stereotypes and pre-assumptions, both about Islam and about its viewers. On the one hand, it helps to make clear that there is not one Islam in the world, nor is there a typical Muslim. On the other hand, it shows that a young, female, single non-Muslim woman with no particular power can embark on a world trip with deep involvement within the Islamic life in search for ultimate understanding. Goodwill will invite goodness and negative pre-assumption may turn the bearer themselves into victims.
|Travel Route: The Journey of a Naked Heart - Reliving the Islam Pan|
As the main researcher and author of this project, I am very pleased to cooperate with various institutes and seek synergy to enrich our professional activities.
What I can do for you Co-authoring on various related publication. Workshops, lectures, consultancy on my expertise (Middle East, Intercultural Communication; Cross-cultural Marketing; Asian perspectives; Group Diversity; Instructional Design)
What you can help me Contacts and networks; Knowledge and advice; Integrating me in your institutional activities; Translating; and Hosting.
This project cannot be realized without generous sponsors who believe in good cause, who have vision to see business in a much greater and more humane sense. I can’t appreciate this enough, but I try my best to recognize your good will.