1. New Directions in Islamic Thought

The objective of the project is to spread knowledge of new ideas and strategies within Islamic reform thinking through the publication of books, academic articles and information.

Jameh Mosque, Yazd Iran, (Commons, Flickr user Bankoboev)


Many Muslims in the world today experience discord between their role as citizens and their religious affiliation. They lack the theological and fiqh-based references they need to respond to modern challenges. Oslo Coalition provides a forum where Muslim reform thinkers can present and discuss ideas and strategies for further development.

Project’s Achievements

In the project’s first phase (2004–2008) conferences were held in Yogyakarta, Sarajevo and Istanbul. These resulted in the publication of the book: New Directions in Islamic Thought. Exploring Reform and Muslim Tradition (2009).

In the second phase (2008–2011), the project focused on one of the key global issues: equality of women before the law. Three conferences were held, in Marrakech and Cairo, resulting in Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law. Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Tradition (2013). The book has been translated into Indonesian (2018) and Arabic (2017).

A Report from the project, Justice through Equality, contains guidelines for Equality before the Law in Islamic tradition. The report has been translated into Arabic, Farsi, French, Indonesian, and Urdu, and is available below.  

Current Focus

In the third phase the project has focused on freedom of religion and freedom of expression. The last of three workshops, Freedom of Religion and Expression in Islamic tradition, was held in Istanbul in August 2014. The third volume in the New directions in Islamic Thought and Practice project is titled Freedom of Expression in Islam. Challenging Blasphemy and Apostasy Laws (forthcoming). 

Freedom of religion and children's rights

The Oslo coalition focuses on child marriage as an issue for religious freedom. Experiences from the project indicate the need for change within Islamic thinking as a contribution in this regard. The Oslo Coalition has long experience of facilitating reform thinking and collaboration with actors promoting new approaches to Islamic thought. To this end we support the development of Islamic arguments against forced marriage and child marriage.

Publications and reports:

Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law: Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Process, red. Z. Mir-Hosseini, K. Vogt, L. Larsen og C. Moe, I. B. Tauris, 2013 has now gone to print for the second time and is available in paperback. The book is also available in Arabic ("Qanun al-usrah al-muslimah wa mua'dalat al-musawah") and Indonesian.

Justice Through Equality, Building Religious Knowledge for Legal Reform in Muslim Family Laws, A report on the Oslo Coalition’s Muslim Family Law project is now also available in French, Arabic, Farsi, and Indonesian. Authors: Z. Mir-Hosseini, K. Vogt, L. Larsen og C. Moe.


Tags: Child marriage, New Directions in Islamic Thought, FORB, Gender Equality, freedom of religion or belief, Islamic Reform, Equality before the Law
Published Aug. 17, 2017 11:28 AM - Last modified Dec. 7, 2018 2:21 PM