The issue of governance and political authority in the Muslim world will be up for discussion at an international virtual conference set to begin Saturday afternoon.

“The discussion will require going back to fundamental questions around leadership without authoritarianism and despotism,” said a statement by the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), the host think-tank based in Istanbul, Turkey.

At the conference, running online through next week, over 60 speakers from 20 countries will “explore new models of sovereignty which balance modern ideas of citizenship, the rule of law, and democracy with traditional values.”

Among slated speakers are former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Gulnur Aybet, a senior advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sami A. Al-Arian, the center’s director, told Anadolu Agency: “The conference panels will not only analyze issues of governance and political authority in the Muslim world but will also attempt to present practical responses to difficult challenges.”

This will be the fourth, but first virtual, “Muslim Ummah” conference hosted by the center, affiliated to Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University since the think tank was launched in 2017.

“This event is in the CIGA tradition of organizing one conference every year discussing in an academic forum the affairs of the Muslim world both at the intellectual and political levels,” said Al-Arian, adding that the think tank has held over 50 webinars since the pandemic hit the world.

“Since there are different time zones of presenters [speakers] from around the world, there will be only two sessions per day, which would extend the conference to seven days,” the center said.

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