UK cultural festival focused on Muslims packed with thought-provoking events

DUBAI: “What does Sci-Fi reveal about how technology will affect the future of religion, power and politics?”

This is just one of the subjects to be tackled by a panel of artists and writers participating in the inaugural MFest in London. MFest bills itself as a festival of culture and ideas dedicated to Muslim communities.

With over 25 events running April 27 to 29 at The British Library and P21 Gallery, MFest, a not-for-profit organization, aims to provide a platform in the center of London for emerging and established writers, performers and artists to present their works and bring together Britain’s varied Muslim population.

The program includes talks, workshops, and performances with events for families, children and adults.

The sci-fi panel, curated by Sindbad Sci-Fi under the theme “Spicing Up Sci-Fi: The Dunes Strike Back,” takes place Saturday April 28, with award-winning journalist and playwright Faisal Al-Yafai chairing.

It will focus on new sci-fi perspectives and leading voices in the field; participants include Noura Al-Noman from the UAE, author of the “Ajwan” space saga; filmmaker Soren Lind, who will present the plot for a new film “In Vitro,” co-directed with Palestinian filmmaker Larissa Sansour; “Zero Point” author Nafeez Ahmed; and Naomi Foyle, author of “The Gaia Chronicles,” an eco-science fantasy quartet set in a post-fossil fuel Mesopotamia.

The panel will also use the themes raised in Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi epic novel “Dune,” as a springboard to explore the sociological impacts of today’s pressing ecological issues.

Discussion points will include the potential impact of fictional narratives on real-world environmental challenges such as water conservation, peak oil, and the repercussions of global warfare.

Participants will also discuss how sci-fi could help to explore the ethical and spiritual challenges posed by the rapid pace of technological innovation, including artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and space colonialism.


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