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GUST Presents Research Examining Islam as a Factor in Muslim Countries’ Foreign Policies

17 April 2019 to 30 April 2019

Gulf University for Science and Technology’s (GUST) hosted a seminar on its campus on the subject of “Islam as a Factor in Muslim States’ Foreign Policies”.  The main objective of the seminar, prepared and presented by GUST Associate Professor of International Relations Dr. Mohammed Nuruzzaman, is to present research that has been conducted with particular focus on Iran and Saudi Arabia. The event was open to the public, and comes as the latest in the series of events that have recently taken place at GUST, that examine the geopolitical complexities of the region, and how many different factors interplay to create complex regional dynamics and engender current geopolitical realities.


The seminar started off with research findings, which examined the role and impact of Islam in Iranian and Saudi foreign policies before. During the Seminar, Dr. Nuruzzaman shed light on the fact that the commonly accepted political interpretation is that Islam plays no ideological role in Muslim-majority countries’ foreign policies, and that those states have accepted the rules of international relations as crafted by European powers. He then goes on to point out that although Muslim-majority states operate in a world order created by Western powers, it would be naïve to rule out the ideological impact of Islam in their foreign policy decisions. His paper therefore proposes to revisit conventional interpretations by mapping out the role of Islam in the foreign policies of two leading Islamic states – Iran and Saudi Arabia.


GUST Associate Professor of International Relations Dr. Nuruzzaman, said, “It is vital that one examines current political situations with a cultural perspective. In the case of Saudi Arabia and Iran, countries whose political systems are derived from Islamic authentic sources – the Qur’an and the Hadiths, show it is important to use Islam as one of the frames of reference to understand how their foreign policies are formulated and implemented, and also how they are used to further their interests.”


This seminar comes after similar ones were presented on campus that also investigated and analyzed geopolitical situations.  Recently, Ms. Wafa Al Sayed from the London School of Economics, held a seminar on the subject of how the discovery of oil and geopolitics shaped domestic and foreign policy in Kuwait, and Mr. Benoît Pelopidas, Junior Chair of Excellence in Security Studies at Sciences Po in Paris, headed a seminar under the headline “Scoping Future Nuclear Worlds.”