The Role of Education in Implementing Social Justice: The Case of Shia Muslims



In honor of World  Day of Social Justice, SRW presents

The Role of Education in Implementing

Social Justice: The case of Shia Muslims

American University WASHINGTON,D.C. February 24th

Abramson Family Founders Room in the School of International Service

(4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20016)

Panel   1

Panel   2

Q & A  3

Minority in Social Science is defined as a culturally, ethnically, religiously, or racially distinct group that coexists with but is subordinate to a more dominant group. This subordinancy is the chief defining characteristic of a minority group. As such, minority status does not necessarily correlate to population. In some cases one or more so-called minority groups may have a population many times the size of the dominating group, as was the case in South Africa under apartheid (c. 1950–91). The aim of this conference is to explore the ways in which the rights of minorities, in this instance the case of Shia Muslims can be protected and their status raised from one of subordination, injustice, violence, discrimination and marginalization. We believe that is only through the promotion of the principle of tolerance, which is neither indulgence nor indifference, that we can promote respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures and religions. Education is considered central to the development of a tolerant society. Education for tolerance should aim at countering influences that lead to fear and exclusion of others, and should help young people develop capacities for independent judgment, critical thinking and ethical reasoning. The diversity of our world’s many religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities is not a pretext for conflict, but is a treasure that enriches us all.

Minorities in all regions of the world suffer disproportionately from misrepresentation and stereotyping, and Shia Muslims are no exception. Much of the injustice and violence towards the Shia arises out of ignorance, misinformation and deliberate misrepresentation. Shia Rights Watch calls for an effective education strategy based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination; we hope to achieve this goal through advocacy, education and raising awareness. Our goal is to give a voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable. Shia Rights Watch firmly believes that we need to educate others about the Shia community on a global scale and the violations they face on a daily basis. We therefore urge people take notice of the injustice and violence that Shia Muslims are faced with and use all in their power to put a stop to it. We acknowledge that is not enough to call for education and tolerance, to protest discrimination and injustice we need to create the political environment to promote these changes. To achieve this aim we need to engage both policy makers and academics, in order to provide policy solutions that are based on research and culturally sensitive and far reaching. This summarizes the aims and aspirations of this conference.


Abdul Aziz Said

Professor at American University School of International Service

Dr. Said is the senior ranking professor at American University and the first occupant of the endowed Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace. Founding Director, International Peace and Conflict Resolution Division. He founded the university-wide Center for Global Peace, which undertakes a range of activities, both on and off campus, aimed at advancing our understanding of world peace.

Abdulaziz Sachedina

IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Dr. Sachedina is Professor and IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.He has been conducting research and writing in the field of Islamic Law, Ethics, and Theology. In the last ten years he has concentrated on social and political ethics, including Interfaith and Interfaith Relations, Islamic Biomedical Ethics and Islam and Human Rights. His recent work was; Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights(Oxford University Press, September 2009)

Allida Black

Research Professor of History and International Affairs at The George Washington University

Dr. Allida Black is a Research Professor of History and International Affairs. Black was founding editor of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers , a project designed to preserve, teach and apply Eleanor Roosevelt’s writings and discussions of human rights and democratic politics.

Scott Flipse

Deputy Director of Policy and Research US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Dr. Flipse is a specialist in American foreign policy, particularly toward Southeast and East Asia. He served as a legislative assistant and committee staffer for Congressman Frank R. Wolf, specializing in human rights, religious freedom, and foreign operation’s appropriations. Dr. Flipse has a B.A. in government from Calvin College, an M.A. in Social Ethics and Religion from the University of Southern California and Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Notre Dame.

Michael Kugelman

Michael Kugelman is senior program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where he is responsible for research, programming, and publications on South and Southeast Asia. His most recent work has focused on Pakistan’s 2013 elections, India-Pakistan relations, U.S.-Pakistan relations, and security challenges in India. He has published op-eds, commentaries, and blog posts in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, Bloomberg View,Politico,, The National Interest, The Diplomat, Huffington Post, International Herald Tribune, World Politics Review, Dawn, Express Tribune, Times of India, Indian Express, and Asia Times Online.

Kristin Diwan

 Kristin Smith Diwan is Assistant Professor of Comparative and Regional Studies at the American University School of International Service. She holds regional expertise in the politics and policies of the Arab Gulf, and functional expertise in Islamic finance and the politics surrounding it.

Lisa Curtis

Lisa Curtis analyzes America’s economic, security and political relationships with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other nations of South Asia as a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

Lawmakers and journalists alike turn to Curtis for her clear-eyed research and perspective on U.S. interests in some of the most desperate, dangerous and fast-developing parts of the world.

T. Kumar

 International Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA


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