Ideological and Legislative Responses to Terrorism


Panel Discussion and Press Conference on “Ideological and Legislative Responses to Terrorism,” hosted by the Interfaith Unity for Tolerance (IFUT). (Symphony Space, New York, 24 June 2017).

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Professor Jawad Syed
Professor Edwina Pio
Professor Tahir Kamran

A unique combination of academic and legislative efforts, this event presented a coherent response to faith based violence and terrorism.

In the past, we have seen sweeping generalizations about Muslims, Islamists or Sunni militants and false binaries between Islam and West, Muslims and Christians or Jews, Sunni and Shia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Haves and Have Nots, etc that misrepresent the specific issue of extremism and terrorism in certain sections of Wahhabi, Salafi and Deobandi (WSD) communities, driven by the exclusivist ideology of Takfir (Othering and violence) whose victims include mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Panelists at this event unpacked this complex issue by focusing on the book “Faith Based Violence and Deobandi Militancy in Pakistan,” a primer for governments seeking an integrated and contextual approach to addressing terrorism. The event provided a nuanced and updated narrative that’s unconstrained by political correctness or by suppression from theocracies and despots.

The panel included Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who also explained her bill “Stop Arming Terrorists Act”. The bipartisan legislation (H.R.608 and S.532) would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists.

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Prof Edwina Pio appointed as University Director of Diversity at AUT


AUT was the first New Zealand university to appoint a Professor of Diversity, Dr Edwina Pio. This year, Edwina’s appointment as University Director of Diversity signals another first in AUT’s strong commitment and actions in the diversity arena. In the new role, Edwina will work to enhance effectiveness and understanding in the crucial areas of advancing diversity and inclusiveness for extensive, vibrant and dynamic relationships with stakeholders. This appointment underscores the promise for learning and discovery that promotes the wellbeing and flourishing of people and their environments.

Refugee and immigrant millennials in NZ struggling to get into high-paying jobs


Report by: Lincoln Tan, the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Tuesday Feb 14, 2017

Despite having a better work ethic, refugee and immigrant millennials (RIM) still struggle to get good jobs in New Zealand, a study has found.

A “RIM @ work” study by AUT University Professor of Diversity Edwina Pio conducted 150 conversations and interviews with high-level managers, focus groups with millennials and parents and educators.

It found that RIMs had a “different” work ethic – they tended to take fewer sickies and breaks, and were not clock-watchers.Continue reading “Refugee and immigrant millennials in NZ struggling to get into high-paying jobs”

Dr Jawad Syed shares research on intersectionality with Financial Times


Dr. Jawad Syed, Dean of Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) at LUMS was recently interviewed by the Financial Times (1 Dec 2016) about his thoughts on the notion of “intersectionality.”

Intersectionality is a relatively new concept, describing how oppressive institutions such as racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, classism, etc. are interconnected and how this overlapping or intersecting of social identities causes related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.

Dr. Syed, also a professor of organisational behaviour at SDSB, in the interview, shared findings of his recently conducted study on the experience of Pakistani women in British workplaces and spoke about the issue of multiple discriminations in the workplace.

Sharing his findings, he said that in many countries, anti-discrimination laws look at gender, race and ethnicity separately and when women of various races experience intersectional discrimination, there are no laws in their jurisdictions to protect them. He also discusses that in addition to the numerous legal hurdles, many cases of discrimination, individual or collective, are hard to prove. Dr. Syed also identifies why intersectionality is a comparatively unexplored concept because there is ‘little individual case law to show how it operates.’

The complete Financial Times article can accessed here.

NZ Herald: Prof Edwina Pio on the changing nature of Kiwi Christmas


AUT University Professor of Diversity Edwina Pio said nostalgia for home and ethnic traditions during Christmas meant a lot to immigrants.

“Traditions reminiscent of their Indo-Portuguese heritage may mean that some migrants indulge in savoury dishes made with pork such as sorpotel and vindaloo, along with delicately hued marzipan, pure white shell-cream, nankati and silver baubles and pale pink coconut sweet,” Pio said.

“Or those from the Philippines whose noche buena favourites may be sweet spaghetti and keso de bola or Edam cheese.”

She said New Zealand already offered a Christmas that was something unique.

Newcomers are greeted by Santa on a skateboard wearing short and sunnies, instead of riding on a sleigh.

“Churches organise BBQs in parks and generous families throw open their homes on Christmas day, by including those who do not have family be they Muslim, Hindu or Christian, to share in their Christmas meal with gifts for everyone,” Pio added.

“It is a fabulous opportunity to join in carol singing, swap stories of celebration from various religions and in the process of festivity garner respect, knowledge and delight in Christmas.”