In an age of increasing identity politics and Islamophobia, Sufism is often used to promote a ‘progressive’ version of Islam, particularly in the West. Although this can open up a space for cross-cultural dialogue, how does this popular ‘branding’ of Sufism prevent us from a more holistic understanding of Islam? What implications does this have on the contemporary lives and experiences of Muslims? Join us for this stimulating discussion as we hear from a range of speakers sharing their personal experiences on the topic.

Dr Humaira Shahid is a Pakistani journalist, human rights activist and a former member of the Pakistani parliament where she has worked on human rights issues including violence against women. She has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. She hosts an online course called ‘Women and Power’ that strives to reclaim freedom and autonomy for modern Muslim women.

Medina Tenour Whiteman is a writer and musician born and raised in a family of Anglo-American Sufi converts to Islam. She is the author of three books, most recently the travelogue-memoir The Invisible Muslim. She lives near Granada in Spain with her husband and three children.

Alan Williams is Professor of Iranian Studies at Manchester University. His expertise lies in Classical and Modern Persian and Iranian Studies, as well as the History of Religions/Comparative Religions including Sufism and Islam. He has written many books and articles on Iranian Studies, History of Religions, Translation Studies and Comparative Literature. His latest project is an edition translation and commentary on Rumi’s Masnavi in 6 volumes for IB Tauris.

Remona Aly is a journalist and broadcaster with a passion for faith, lifestyle and identity. She writes for The Guardian, is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought and a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Something Understood. She is also a podcast host for various platforms.

Producers of the Future: From Keighley to Karachi is a ground-breaking international collaboration between Bradford Literature Festival, UK, and Adab Festival in Pakistan, with the aim of developing female talent and leadership in the arts and culture sector.

The development programme featured 10 women selected from Pakistan and Bradford who collaborated digitally to produce a series of online events.