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The Majlis

Arts & Culture Podcasts

The Majlis is a podcast by Muslim Societies Global Perspectives (MSGP) at Queen's University. Majlis is the Arabic word for an assembly, a gathering of people sitting together and it was used for the sessions of learned scholars, philosophers, brought together to discuss and debate. Our podcast intends to accomplish the same purpose of bringing together experts and scholars for discussion and conversation about the politics, histories, cultures of the Middle East, Islamic World and Muslim diasporas.


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The Majlis is a podcast by Muslim Societies Global Perspectives (MSGP) at Queen's University. Majlis is the Arabic word for an assembly, a gathering of people sitting together and it was used for the sessions of learned scholars, philosophers, brought together to discuss and debate. Our podcast intends to accomplish the same purpose of bringing together experts and scholars for discussion and conversation about the politics, histories, cultures of the Middle East, Islamic World and Muslim diasporas.




Iraq War 20 Years Later: Reflections w/ Dr. Ariel Salzmann

On this episode, Dr. Adnan Husain invites back Dr. Arial Salzmann, Associate Professor of Islamic and World History at Queen’s University, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq by the US military and its allies. With almost 500,000 Iraqis dead, the Iraq War continues to shape the modern Middle East. Together with Dr. Husain, Dr. Salzmann offers an in-depth analysis of the devastation of the Iraq war and reflects upon the war’s history, the contemporary social and...


Ep 30: The Kafala System and Migrant Labour under Neoliberalism w/ Shahroz Khan

In this episode, Dr. Adnan Husain speaks with writer, photographer and M.A Student, Shahroz Khan, regarding his upcoming master's thesis on the Kafala system and the migrant labour regimes under neoliberalism. For the last two years, Shahroz has been working behind the scenes as the main producer of the Majlis and now Dr. Husain invites him to shed light on the Kafala system and help our audience historicize its emergence and understand how it became such a prominent part of labour system in...


Ep 29: Anarcha-Islam, towards an anti- and non-authoritarian Islam w/ Dr. Mohamed Abdou

In this special live episode commemorating Islamic History Month in Canada, Dr. Adnan Husain takes the Majlis to the live discussion panel with Dr. Mohamed Abdou, where he discusses his book Islam and Anarchism. Specifically, Dr. Abdou talks about one part of the book called "Anarcha-Islam", which is geared towards an anti- and non-authoritarian understanding of Islam, and theologically challenges the classist, sexist, racist, ageist, queerphobic, and ableist inequalities in modern...


Ep 28: The Kurdish Struggle and the Ongoing Protest in Iran w/ Dr. Djene Bajalan

In this episode, Dr. Adnan Husain speaks with the historian of the modern Middle East, Dr. Djene Bajalan, about the Kurdish struggle in Iran and its impact on the ongoing protests in country. The discussion follows Dr. Bajalan’s article in Jacobin and offers insight into the nature of the protests in Iran, particularly focusing on the centrality of the Kurdish community. For more of his work, you can follow Dr. Bajalan on Twitter and listen to his podcast “This is Revolution”. To sign up...


Ep 27: Training as a 'Mediterranean-ist' w/ Amel Bensalim

In this special episode, M.A student Shahroz Khan catches up with the Mediterranean historian and an alum of The Majlis, Amel Bensalim. She inaugurated The Majlis as a podcast during her time as an M.A student at Queen's University, where she worked with Dr. Husain and Dr. Salzmann on the Hafsid Dynasty and trained as a 'Mediterranean-ist'. As a Ph.D. student at Princeton University's history department, Amel is currently working with Dr. Marina Rustow and researching the Geniza Documents,...


Ep 26: Islam and Anarchism, in conversation w/ Dr. Mohamed Abdou

Welcome back to the Majlis! In this episode, Dr. Adnan Husain speaks with Muslim anarchist activist-scholar Dr. Mohamed Abdou, about his new book "Islam and Anarchism: Relationships and Resonances". Through this conversation and his research, Dr. Abdou seeks to disturb two commonly held notions - that Islam is necessarily authoritarian and capitalist; and that anarchism is necessarily anti-religious and anti-spiritual. Deeply rooted in key Islamic concepts and textual sources, and drawing...


Ep 25: Qissah and The Art of Indian Storytelling w/ Prof. Pasha M. Khan

On this episode of the Majlis, Dr. Adnan Husain and graduate student Shahroz Khan discuss the verbal art known as Qissah or Dastaan with Prof. Pasha M. Khan, Chair in Urdu Language and an Associate Professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. He is the author of The Broken Spell, which highlights the rise and fall of the art of Qissah in South Asia. Such storytelling techniques once flourished from Mughal India to Safavid Iran, entertaining and captivating audiences in...


Ep 24: Peace Movements in Islam w/ Prof. Juan Cole

In this episode, Dr. Adnan Husain speaks with historian and essayist Prof. Juan Cole from the University of Michigan, about a new collection of essays and studies in his latest book Peace Movements in Islam. Contrary to the distorted and mainstream view of Islam as somehow inherently or uniquely violent, Prof. Cole argues that there is a dazzling array of Muslim organizations and individuals that have worked for harmony and conciliation through history. Expanding Islam and its relationship...


Ep 23: "The Honor Crime": Transnational Politics of Gender Violence across Canada, US, Palestine and Jordan w/Dr. Dana Olwan

In this episode, Dr. Adnan Husain speaks with gender studies scholar Dr. Dana Olwan as they discuss her most recent book "Gender Violence and the Transnational Politics of the Honor Crime". Dr. Olwan's research examines how certain forms of violence become known, recognized, and contested across multiple geopolitical contexts—looking specifically at a particular form of gender-based violence known as the “honor crime” and tracing how a range of legal, political, and literary texts inform...


Ep 22: Letters for Jan. 29th's Victims: Doing Something About It w/artist @studentAsim

On Jan. 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on dozens of Muslim Canadians ending a prayer service. By the time the shooting had ended, tragically six worshippers had been killed, and 19 more injured. In this special episode, Dr. Adnan speaks to Canadian author, filmmaker, and creative producer Student Asim about his latest project in commemoration of the Quebec City mosque shooting. By going on the website, listeners can participate...


Ep 21: The War on Terror, Radicalization Theory and the Geopolitics of Islamophobia w/ Arun Kundnani

20 years on, the so-called "War on Terror" has had major consequences on geopolitics but also on domestic politics. In this episode, Dr. Adnan Husain speaks with Dr. Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror (Verso, 2014) about the intersections between imperialism and military invasion abroad, and their effect on the security and surveillance of Muslims to understand how Islamophobia underwrote both foreign and domestic...


Ep 20: In solidarity & loving memory of Soleiman Faqiri, on the 5th year of his death

On December 15th 2016, Soleiman Faqiri died at the hands of correctional officers while temporarily housed at a Lindsay, ON correctional facility. In this episode of the Majlis, Host Adnan Husain interviews Yusuf Faqiri, Soleiman Faqiri's eldest brother and founder of the movement 'Justice for Soli'. Throughout their open and candid conversation, Yusuf and Dr. Husain commemorate Soli as a brother, a son, a person with a story to tell while also demanding answers and holding the system...

Ep. 19: "A Kashmiri Fire-Pot Speaking": Poetry and Politics - In Conversation w/ Binish Ahmed

In this special episode, Binish Ahmed (she/her), an Asian Indigenous Kashmiri Muslim cis-woman, reflects on her identity and the formation of her activism and politics on Turtle Island through spoken word poetry. Currently, a Policy Studies Ph.D. candidate at X University, formerly Ryerson, her academic and community organizing work has focused on human rights, Indigenous rights, decolonizing governance, anti-imperialism, and social movement resistance at the intersections of racialization,...

Ep. 18: Discovering Sufism in South Asia and North America w/Dr. Shobhana Xavier

Dr. Shobhana Xavier, Queen’s School of Religion, reflects on the course of her explorations of contemporary Islamic mysticism transnationally and ethnographically. Beginning with her first project, Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism: Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Contemporary Shrine Cultures (2018), which connected the career and teachings of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Sufi master, from his multi-religious native Sri Lanka to an equally diverse community in Philadelphia. Dr. Adnan...


Ep 17: Mysticism and Music: Baul Sufi Spirituality and the Commercial Culture Industry in Bangladesh with Golam Rabbani

Dr. Adnan Husain discusses the fascinating dissertation research of Golam Rabbani, a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen's University. Golam sketches the unique spiritual practices of the Baul, a syncretic Sufi Muslim orientation in rural Bengal, that employ musical training and performance in an integrated mysticism and pious devotional program. These amazing traditions are being transformed in contemporary Bangladesh, especially under the global regimes of the capitalist music...

Ep 16: What now for Afghanistan?: The Cost and Crimes of US Imperial War w/Dr. Ariel Salzmann

Host Adnan Husain speaks with his colleague Dr. Ariel Salzmann (Department of History, Queen’s University) about the US defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan in historical context since the 1970’s, the implications for Afghanistan’s future under the Taliban in a regional framework, and the costs, crimes and consequences of the GWOT for the last 20 years since 9/11 and the Bush administration’s invasion of Afghanistan. Find MSGP on Facebook: On Twitter:...


Ep 15: Muslim Pioneers in Canada: Murray Hogben and an Islamic Tapestry of Canada

Dr. Adnan Husain sits down with author, journalist, and community leader Murray Hogben to discuss his exciting new book Minarets on the Horizon: Muslim Pioneers in Canada. For the first time ever, Hogben has compiled the stories and oral histories of some of the earliest Muslims in Canada. The pioneering work takes a journey across Canada and paints a portrait of stories seldom told and rarely presented in such a holistic perspective. This is especially timely given the growth of...


Ep 14: Violent Islamophobia is systemic in Canadian settler colonial state and society

Dr. Adnan Husain -Director of MSGP- is joined by co host Amel Bensalim, a Libyan-Canadian SSHRC-funded Master's student at Queen's University and Member of MSGP. Dr. Husain and Amel welcomed two guests: Azeezah Kanji, a legal academic and writer, whose has appeared in the Al Jazeera English, Haaretz, Toronto Star, TruthOut, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, OpenDemocracy, Roar Magazine, iPolitics, Policy Options, Rabble, and various academic anthologies and journals. And Dr. Yasmine Djerbal, a...


Ep 13: “Places of Mind:” The life, times, and literary mind of Edward Said

What do literary studies have to do with politics? How and why was Edward Said able to emphasize this connection, and revolutionize the way the West looked at the Middle East, and the way the Middle East looked back? Dr. Husain is joined by guest co-host Dr. David Schmid, professor of English at the University at Buffalo, for this discussion on the life and work of famed scholar and activist, Edward Said. The University of Minnesota’s Dr. Timothy Brennan, who was a student, colleague, and...


Ep 12: Saints and Slaves: The African Community of the Ottoman Empire w/ Dr. Michael Ferguson

When one thinks of African enslavement in history, the Ottoman Empire is rarely the first thing to come to mind. On this episode, Dr. Michael Ferguson (Concordia University) illuminates and discusses the facets of this little known aspect of global slavery history. Dr. Ferguson and Majlis host Dr. Adnan Husain delve into the relatively unknown social and cultural history of enslaved and emancipated Africans and their descendants in Izmir in the late Ottoman Empire. Dr. Michael Ferguson is...