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This is the updated version of concept paper that was prepared and written by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) Faculty of Medicine King Fahad Medical City

1.1 High priorities:
Work in Europe in the next decade will succeed if it is focused on the core mission of knowledge reform and thought reform achieved through research followed by publication, seminars and workshops, and specialized teaching programs.

The highest priorities shall be (a) Early education and Parenting (b) Reform of higher education curricula by research on the epistemology, methodology, ethics, and outstanding intellectual issues of selected academic disciplines

1.2 Low priorities:
The following activities shall have low/no priority rating and should be left to other specialized agencies: (a) solving local community problems: rights (human rights, family rights, religious rights, cultural rights), marginalization (social, cultural, religious, economic, legal, immigration, poverty, and employment), internal community problems (ethnic, sectarian, ideological, family breakdown, youth problems) (b) da’awa and teaching of basics of religion (c) cultural and religious dialog with others.

2.1 The knowledge and thought problems
The paper starts from the assertion that 2 internal factors, a knowledge crisis and a thought crisis, are major causes of ummatic weakness. These 2 factors combine to lead to ummatic malaise manifesting in the religious, social, economic, and technological dimensions.

2.2 The knowledge problem
The knowledge problem arises out of the dichotomy in the education system (traditional religious vs modern secular). The problem can be resolved by epistemological and methodology reform of academic disciplines to conform to the paradigms of integration (takamul) and objectivity, istiqamat.

2.3 The thought problem
The thought problem arises from misconceptions of textual applications to contemporary social realities. Its solution is by 1. Clarifying basic paradigms using modern terminology and 2. research using the various social science disciplines / humanities to identify and define contemporary intellectual issues (qadhaya fukriyyat mu’asirat) in the community and then propose solutions based on the bird-eye view frame-work of the higher purposes, al maqasid.

3.1 Mobilization
General 1-day seminars held at academic centers will introduce the thought and knowledge problems and motivate academics and postgraduate students to make contributions to the programs. At a later stage these seminars will be used to disseminate the products of research.

3.2 Research
Research questions and plans shall be developed for specific problems of knowledge and thought. Researchers will be funded to produce fully written and referenced papers that shall be presented at small 1-day seminars. Each seminar will comprise 4-7 papers that will be discusses intensely and in detail to enable the author make improvements. The revised papers of each seminar or group of related seminars shall be published as a booklet (paper or online).

3.3 Teaching
Previously published material and new publications from the research programs will be used in in-class and on-line teaching programs under the auspices of TFI and in collaboration with accredited universities / institutes. The theme of the programs shall be contemporary intellectual issues (qadhaya fikriyyat mu’asirat). The programs will at 6 levels: certificate, diploma, bachelors, masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral. The fields covered by the teaching programs will be: 1. Education curricula and methods (parenting, early education, elementary education), 2. Islamic studies (fiqh, ‘uluum al Qur;an, ‘uluum al hadith), 3. Epistemology and research methodology of social sciences / humanities (economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, political science, historiography etc.). 4. Ethics of applied sciences (medical and health disciplines, engineering, architecture, business, banking, finance, insurance, food and nutrition etc).

3.4 Dissemination
Dissemination of research will be by publishing e-books as well as e-journals and distributing them online using websites, social media etc. This will be supplemented by seminars, conferences, and teaching programs. All these activities shall be out-sourced to specialized companies.

All existing publications with epistemological, thought, educational, and social content shall be converted into books-in-brief (BIB) and translated into the following European languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, Albanian, and Bosnian. Full books will be translated/published if there is a demonstrable demand.

Academic electronic journals shall be published in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, Albanian, and Bosnian and will be a medium of publication for postgraduate students who will be involved in the academic programs.

Seminars and conferences shall be planned in such a way that their proceedings will be published as books/booklets

Teaching programs shall use teaching material developed in-house with the aim of turning them eventually into textbooks.

4.1 Program directors
Academicians with substantial appointments and office facilities at their own institutions will be appointed as honorary/part-time program directors/coordinators in the following centers:
4.1.1        University of London (for the UK, Ireland, and Nordic countries),
4.1.2        University Libre de Bruxelles (for BENELUX countries, France, Switzerland, and other francophone countries),
4.1.3        Freie Universität Berlin (for Germany and Central Europe)
4.1.4        University of Stockholm (for the Nordic countries),
4.1.5        University of Sarajevo (for Eastern and Southern Europe).
4.1.6        University of Madrid (for the Iberian peninsula)
4.1.7        Moscow State University (for the Russian Caucasus)
4.1.8        Fatih University in Istanbul (for Turkey and the Turkish-speaking Central Asia). Each director can engage a part-time academic assistant and a part-time administrative assistant.

4.2 Budgeting
The following activities shall be out-sourced: 1. translation, publication, and distribution 2. Organizing seminars, conferences, and workshops 3. Management of teaching programs. 4. Setting up and maintaining websites and social media outlets.

The cost of publications shall be partially recovered from sales mainly to academic institutions.

Teaching programs should be self-supporting after 2-3 years.

Seminars and conferences shall be held at free/rented university premises and some of the cost will be recovered by charging registration fees.


[1] This is an updated version of a paper first written on January 31, 2013.


Writings of Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr

This section provides thoughts in Islamic Epistemology and Curriculum Reform.
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