Tuesday 21 December 2010

New Journal on Islamic and Social Sciences

IUR Press, the publishing arm of the Netherlands-based Islamic University Rotterdam (IUR) has launched a new academic journal. The maiden issue of the Journal of Rotterdam Islamic and Social Sciences (JRISS) was released recently. According to the journal homepage, IUR seeks to corner part of the higher education market catering to Muslim chaplains and moral guides, which was increasingly appropriated by the secular universities. The university sees it as its task to help educate and integrate Muslims into Dutch society through programmes taught by both Muslims and non-Muslims (see the podcasts of lectures (in Dutch) on such topics as the Mu'tazila and Hadith criticism broadcast by uirtv). The journal was founded as an outlet for the university's research findings and to act as a bridge between the Muslim world and Western countries by impacting on public opinion and engage in public debates.

Although the university and its journal appear to be initiatives primarily run by educationists of Turkish origin, cooperation with non-Muslims is also reflected in the composition of the journal's international advisory board, which includes scholars such as Professor Colin Turner of Durham University, Karel Steenbrink, Emeritus Professor of intercultural theology at Utrecht University and for many years associated with Indonesia's Islamic State Universities (UIN) in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, and Dr. Jan Peters, an Islamicist and former vice-chancellor of Radboud University Nijmegen, who also serves on IUR's supervisory board. The university's principal (or 'rector' in Dutch), Prof. Dr. Ahmet Akgündüz, is the journal's editor-in-chief.

Aside from an editorial and keynote article by the chief editor, the first issue contains contributions by both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars on the Qur'an and on the origins of Islam, Islamic law (Maqasid al-Shari'a or objectives of Islamic law; Islamic law of tort), and Sufism (the notion of dhikr; and articles on the ideas and works of Said Nursi and Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi).

The journal website contains a very extensive and useful list of links to academic societies, institutions, universities, and journals dealing with Islam and the Muslim world or religious studies worldwide, as well as organizations active in the integration of ethnic minorities in the Netherlands and in the field of interfaith dialogue.

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