Islam-West Dialogue: A Critical Analysis of the Davos Report

A summary and critical analysis of the document Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue, January 2008, its core issues and recommendations for Muslim leaders and scholars of Islamic Sacred Law (Shari‘ah).

The 2008 Islam and the West report, commissioned by the World Economic Forum and Georgetown University, is a global reference on the state of the Muslim-West dialogue for leaders across multiple sectors, including government, media, education, civil society, and faith communities. Overall, it highlights the activities of approximately 90 organizations and describes more than 80 events around five issue areas: International Politics; Citizenship and Integration; Religion, Ethics, and Ideology; Education and Intercultural Understanding; and Economic and Social Development. It also draws on the Gallup Muslim-West Dialogue Index and media content analysis carried out by Media Tenor International to discuss public perceptions of the dialogue and the tone of media coverage both in Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Very few perspectives from within the community of scholars of Shari‘ah are offered in the report.

This brief introduces the report, discusses its main findings, and offers suggestions on how Muslim scholars and opinion leaders can contribute to the dialogue in a meaningful way. This report is an opportunity for Muslim scholars to build on the discussion already in progress, share best practices on how to further promote dialogue, and become better equipped to answer the needs of diverse Muslim communities.