Religion, secularism and the politics of the refugee crisis
Dr. Erin Wilson


The refugee crisis may not be making the headlines everyday this year as it did last year, but the plight of refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, amongst many other refugee producing hotspots globally, continues to pose significant challenges for governments in Europe and around the world. These challenges, however, arguably have less to do with the sheer numbers of people fleeing and are more connected with a lack of political willingness to respond to the mass displacement of people. This political unwillingness stems from assumptions about the religious identity of refugees and the supposedly secular identity of Europe. Dr Wilson will canvas some of the dominant assumptions present in political and media debates surrounding the refugee crisis particularly in relation to religion and secularism, highlighting some questions and problems that arise when we subject the assumptions to closer scrutiny, and considering what the role and responsibility of scholars is in responding to public events and incidents such as the refugee crisis.

Location: Rode Zaal