On November 26-27, 2021, the first International Congress on Ihtida was held in the historic city of Konya, Turkey. It was organized by the Diyanet of Turkey (Presidency of Religious Affairs) and attended by delegates from all over Europe, Canada, USA and Russia. Canada was represented by Dr Mustafa Khattab, Br Tevfiq Aydoner and Dr Abdullah Hakim Quick.
The Congress began with a Qur’an recitation by the Imam of Konya and then opening remarks by the Governor of Konya, the Mayor of the Municipality of Konya, Dr Ali Erbas, Head of Diyanet and one of the leading religious figures in the country, and the Chairman of the High Board of Religious Affairs. This was followed by the opening Session of Delegates, represented by Dr Abdullah Hakim Quick (IIT Canada) and Shaykh Muhammad Siddiq of Germany.
The following sessions looked at the process of accepting Islam; the environmental factors; the psychological background and experiences; Islamophobia; the presentation of Islam in the media; the perception of Islam and Muslims in Cinematography and Art; the problems of integration in society and among other Muslims; problems encountered in social life, dilemmas in socio-economic life (for New Muslims); Mosques services; publications for new Muslims; and management of social media in the context of new Muslims.
Well-known Muslim personalities like Ahmad Thompson (UK), Yvonne Ridley (UK), Shaykh Chad Earl (USA), and Sister Batool al Toma (Ireland) made valuable contributions. The participants and the Turkish Authorities vowed to take the responsibility of providing more services for New Muslims, to sensitize the general population about Islam and continue the sharing ideas and programs. The city of Konya made a pledge to host an Ihtida Congress every year, and the results of the Congress will be published by the Turkish Diyanet, Inshallah.
The delegates were also given a historical tour of Konya and Istanbul and a special night at Mevlana Rumi’s complex.
Dr Abdullah Hakim Quick
Historian, Lecturer, Consultant