CFP for a Webinar Series on Antisemitism in South Asia in Comparative Perspective

Navras Aafreedi Discussion

Following the tremendous success of the first season, paper proposals (abstracts) of around 300 words with a biographical profile of the author (around 200 words) are invited for the second season of the webinar series on Antisemitism in South Asia in Comparative Perspective, under the auspices of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), New York. The webinars of the second season of this series will take place at 9 am EST, US & Canada on the Thursdays listed below, and streamed live on Facebook and later posted on the ISGAP YouTube channel. Along with the abstract and bio, interested candidates are also requested to send three date preferences out of the ones listed below, though it cannot be guaranteed that the finalised date for their webinar would be out of their preferences:

  • September 9, 23, and 30
  • October 7, 14, 21, and 28
  • November 11 and 18, and
  • December 9 and 16

Every speaker would be requested to email us their complete paper (around 6,000 to 6,500 words, excluding notes and bibliography) within three months of their presentation (they may like to modify their chapter based on the feedback they receive on their webinar presentation) as we aim to bring out an edited collection with a prestigious publisher. Each chapter would then be sent for peer-review and the feedback shared with its author giving him/her enough time to modify it, if required.

The concept note is as given below:

The webinar series explores  antisemitism in South Asia (SAARC member countries) in comparative perspective.  In terms of sheer numerical strength, South Asian Muslims are the most important section of the global Muslim community. A third of the world’s Muslims live in South Asia and the Muslims from this region have a diaspora larger in population and geographical spread than that of Muslims from any other region, making them extremely influential. Before being superseded by the oil rich Arabs they were the most important section of the world Muslim population also in terms of economic clout. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini (1897-1974) drew more funds from the Muslims in British India than from anywhere else for his cause. The largest funding source for Al-Manār (1898-1935), the most influential journal of the pan-Islamic era, was Muslims from British India.  In many other respects too, South Asian Muslims are extremely important. They have produced some of the greatest Islamic thinkers, like Shah Wali Allah (also sometimes spelled Waliullah) (1702-1763), considered one of the originators of pan-Islamism, Rahmatullah Kairanwi (1818-1892), Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), Syed Abul A’la Mawdudi (also spelled Maududi) (1903-1979), and Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi (1914-1999), who have all played a pivotal role in shaping political Islam with global impact. Islamism is intertwined with Muslim antisemitism. Some of the greatest Islamist movements have their bases in South Asia, such as Tablighi Jamā’at- the largest Sunni Muslim revivalist (daw’a) movement in the world and Jamā’at-i-Islāmi – a prototype of political Islam in South Asia. South Asia is home to some of the most important institutions of Islamic theological studies, Darul Uloom Deoband, the alleged source of ideological inspiration to the Taliban, and Nadwatul Ulama and Firangi Mahal, whose curricula are followed by seminaries across the world attended by South Asian Muslims in their diaspora. Some of the most popular Muslim televangelists have belonged to South Asia like Israr Ahmed (1932-2010) and Zakir Naik (b. 1965). Many of the most brutal antisemitic attacks in recent history have taken place in South Asia, like the attacks on Karachi Jewry coinciding with the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1948, 1956 and 1967, abduction of Israeli tourists in Kashmir in 1991 and the murder of one of them, the beheading of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, the attack on the Chabad Lubawich Centre in Mumbai in 2008 and the murder of all the Jews there, except the child of the rabbi who was saved by their Muslim chef and the child's Christian nanny, bomb explosion at the German Bakery in Pune (frequented by Israeli tourists and very close to the Lal Deval Synagogue there), and a failed attempt to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi in 2012 among a number of foiled Islamist attacks on Jews and their institutions in South Asia. In spite of all this, the region has not received the scholarly attention it deserves when it comes to the study of antisemitism. Basam Tibi identifies three anti-Jewish phenomena among Muslims: traditional Judeophobia, secular pan-Arab antisemitism (shared also by South Asian Muslims now as a result of strong Arab influence), and, most recently Islamized antisemitism as established by Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966). The expected outcome of the webinar series is an edited volume under the auspices of ISGAP.  The webinar series uses the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

Each session has been envisioned to be around one hour long, with a 20 to 30 minute lecture/talk followed by Q&A. The audience generally is primarily of scholars of antisemitism (ISGAP fellows, advisors, directors, and alumni of their its Oxford summer institutes and participants of conferences organised by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University, and those who contribute to the report on antisemitism released annually by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, Tel Aviv University and, those on the mailing lists of these institutions, which also includes activists devoted to combating antisemitism and journalists interested in reporting on antisemitism). The webinars also attract tertiary level students and commissioning editors of leading publishers interested in the subject of antisemitism. Each webinar is video recorded and posted on the ISGAP YouTube channel, where all webinars held under the series can be watched:


ISGAP regrets the fact that it would not be possible for it to offer any honorarium for the talk/lecture. Those interested in speaking under the series are requested to kindly email their 300-word-abstract as a Word file to Dr. Navras J. Aafreedi, convenor of the series, at latest by Tuesday 10 August 2021.