Muslim Minorities in a Global Context - Meet the tutor

Simon Perfect, an associate tutor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), speaks about the new online MA in Muslim Minorities
Simon Perfect, Associate Tutor at SOAS
Simon Perfect completed his master's degree at SOAS and is now an associate tutor of a new MA programme
I wanted to be a tutor for this MA because I enjoy the online learning experience, which brings together engaged students from around the world and from a great range of backgrounds

SOAS is an exciting place to be.

I am impressed by the dynamism of our students, not to mention their eagerness to use the learnt ideas to challenge orthodoxies and bring about real change.

I love being part of it all.

About the programme

The MA Muslim Minorities in a Global Context is a new online learning programme.

It draws on elements of programmes offered on campus at SOAS and transposes them to the online environment.

I wanted to be a tutor for this MA because I enjoy the online learning experience, which brings together engaged students from around the world and from a great range of backgrounds.

The students often have very varied and interesting perspectives on the issues we are discussing.

Its place in the current political climate

This course is hugely relevant and addresses some of the key issues facing our societies today.

In the post-Brexit 'Trump-y' world, issues of religion, extremism, national identity and the place and integration of minorities (especially Muslim minorities) continue to dominate public debate.

In our course we explore these issues critically, but also look to go beyond the integration and securitisation perspectives which often shape the way Muslims are framed in Western public discourses.

Students taking this course become part of our global online community.

What does the course explore?

We look at a range of topics from an interdisciplinary perspective. This includes:

  • the historical establishment of Muslim minority communities
  • contemporary government policies towards them
  • the place of Islamic law in non-Muslim majority countries
  • diversity; division and questions of authority within the Muslim communities
  • Islamophobia
  • challenges facing Muslim women.

Students who want to learn more about Islam itself from a theological perspective can take the Introduction to Islam module.

Who is the course aimed at?

It will appeal to people working in, or those who want to work in, government, NGOs, the media, law, security, and civil society institutions.

Former students have included people based in Muslim-majority countries as well as countries with significant Muslim minorities.

What are the other benefits of online courses?

Students taking this course become part of our global online community. Each week, students are set readings which they discuss in an online forum and review each other’s work.

There is also an optional opportunity for students to take part in a study tour organised by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) to New York City and Washington DC.

As well as meeting each other and the teaching staff and having time for sightseeing, students have the opportunity to network with representatives from various international organisations.

Recently students went on a tour of Geneva and connected with UN representatives. More details can be found on the study tour page.

This article was originally published on Study@SOAS and is republished with kind permission.