The Australian Mosque: locality, gender, and spirituality

Co-presented with the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures in the School of Languages and Cultures

31 August, 2016

This panel will consider the diverse cultural expressions of mosque design, past and present, in areas where Muslim populations are both minorities and majorities. It will explain the history and reasons behind traditional gender segregation in mosques and how this segregation plays itself out in mosque architecture and affects ultimately the spiritual experience of the community.

Panellists Dr Sam Bowker and Reem Sweid will discuss the arabisation of mosques and the extent to which contemporary Australian approaches to 'sacred space' might offer a distinctive contribution to the wider Islamic global heritage.


Reem Sweid

Reem Sweid is the President of Muslims for Progressive Values in Australia, a grassroots organisation that advocates a compassionate interpretation of Islam focussed on social dignity, equality and human rights. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. Her research focus is on developing effective alternative narrative to combat Islamism. Reem is passionate about progressive Islamic thought and currently working with Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh (Deputy Director – International of ADI) on a series of papers that explores contemporary progressive Islamic scholarship.

Dr Sam Bowker

Dr Sam Bowker is a Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Charles Sturt University. He teaches Islamic Art and Design from contemporary Australian perspectives, and curated 'Khayamiya: The Tentmakers of Cairo' for the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia. In 2015 he was a scholar-in-residence for the Doris Duke Foundation of Islamic Art in Shangri-La, Honolulu. He spent over a decade working in Education for the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of Australia and the National Library of Australia. His PhD was from the Australian National University, where he lectured in Art and Design Theory.


Dr Omid Tofighian
Dept of Philosophy

This event is part of Mashrabiya: a Glimpse into Sacred Art and Architecture, supported by the Australian Government through the Council for Australia-Arab Relations (CAAR) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
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