AMSTERDAM, October 30 /PRNewswire/ --

- A New Scientific Discipline is Born - Contemporary Muslim Life Discussed at the Symposium 'Beyond the Stereotypes'

"Secular Muslims who embrace various aspects of their heritage are often overlooked - both as social and as intellectual actors in modern Islamic societies," said Prof. Richard C. Martin, one of the key speakers at a symposium on contemporary Islam held 26 October at De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam.

The question of who secular Muslims are and why they need to be part of future research in religious studies was the focus of discussion at the scientific meeting. The symposium, called 'Beyond the Stereotypes', was organized to help establish a new field of research - contemporary Islam. Prof. Martin: "The modern Muslim identity is far more complex and dynamic than most people are aware of."

The symposium emphasized that all aspects of Islam need to be considered. This not only includes secular Muslims, but also Muslims living in the Diaspora or so-called Islamists. The symposium 'Beyond the Stereotypes' established the urgency of bringing everyday Muslim life and the diversity of identities among Muslims out of obscurity and into broad daylight.

Dr. Gabriele Marranci, the founding editor of the new journal 'Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life' and one of the organizers of the symposium, spoke on the impact that contemporary cosmopolitanism has on young Muslims living in deprived areas in England and Scotland. For Marranci, an open discussion is crucial to analyze their social environment. "What was lacking was a forum to present the increasing amount of socio-scientific research which takes a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach. So we brought scholars from many different fields together at 'Beyond the Stereotypes'. The spirit and soul of the symposium, and also of the newly founded journal, is to cross borders."

The symposium was sponsored by Springer Science + Business Media, one of the world's leading suppliers of scientific and specialist literature. Springer's Religious Studies publishing program approaches Western and non-Western religion from the perspective of the social sciences and philosophy and features publications that are topical, globally oriented and at the forefront of research.

Contact: Renate Bayaz, renate.bayaz@springer.com, tel +49-6221-4878531

Renate Bayaz, renate.bayaz@springer.com, tel +49-6221-4878531