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Islam

New Texts Out Now: Edmund Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam

[Cover of Edmund Burke III,

Edmund Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?  Edmund Burke III (EB): Ever since my first book, Prelude to Protectorate in Morocco: Pre-colonial Protest and Resistance, 1860-1912 (1976), I had wanted to write a book about the role of French ethnography in the establishment of the Moroccan protectorate. Unfortunately my career did not go as planned, and my research interests moved on to a series of other subjects. Nonetheless, I continued to write about the French sociology of Islam over the intervening years. I have ...

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Short Skirts and Niqab Bans: On Sexuality and the Secular Body

[Non A L'islamisme. Image by Tangi Bertin]

Introduced in Québec in March 2010, Bill 94 proposed requiring women to unveil their faces if they wanted to work in the public sector or access public services, including hospitals, universities, and public transportation. The bill was eventually tabled and was followed in November 2013 with Bill 60, which demanded in more generalist language the removal of conspicuous religious signs in order to dispense or use public services in the province. These Québécois bills—which have not passed—echo the logic of the April 2011 French law targeting the niqab (face veil) and banning the “dissimulation of the face” in public spaces. Both French and Québécois proponents of these ...

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How Not To Understand ISIS

[Flag of ISIS, ronniechua / Depositphotos.com]

October 2, 2014  The group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or simply the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, or IS) has attracted much attention in the past few months with its dramatic military gains in Syria and Iraq and with the recent U.S. decision to wage war against it. As analysts are called to explain ISIS’ ambitions, its appeal, and its brutality, they often turn to an examination of what they consider to be its religious worldview—a combination of cosmological doctrines, eschatological beliefs, and civilizational notions—usually thought to be rooted in Salafi Islam. The Salafi tradition is a modern reformist movement critical of what it ...

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Muhammad Abduh: A Profile from the Archives

[Public intellectual Muhammad Abduh]

[”A Profile from the Archives“  is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Muhammad Abduh son of Hussein Khair-Allah Date of Birth: 1849 Place of Birth: Born to a prominent rural family in the village of Mahellet Nasr, Beheira Governorate, in the Nile Delta region of Upper Egypt, during a time when farmers suffered from heavy taxes and unjust laws imposed upon them by ...

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داعش: انفجار السرديات

داعش: انفجار السرديات: أرض الثورة بين أبديّتين سياسية وميتافيزيقية ربما تكون الفضيلة الوحيدة لداعش أنها استقطبت المفارقات وحملت جميع المعنيين محلياً وإقليمياً ودولياً على الخوض في نشأتها وتحليل مآلاتها. فعلى رغم ولادتها الحديثة، يمكن لداعش أن تكون بؤرة مكثفة لشرح كل تعقيدات منطقتنا وتناقضاتها الفكرية المتقابلة، فهي مع عدميتها مليئة بالمعاني، ومع عبثيتها مليئة بالرموز وقابلية الإحالات. وبما أنها وُلِدَت ذات طبيعة حدية نهائية متأزمة ونشأت كذلك في سياق مماثل فإن أغلب التفسيرات التي خاضت في شأنها اتجهت تقريباً الاتجاه نفسه. مع بروزها انفجرت مجموعة من السرديات الداخلية والخارجية في مسار أشبه بغرفة مليئة بالمرايا المقعرة والمحدبة المتناظرة، فسهلت بذلك من جهة على كثير من ...

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Quick Thoughts: Zainab Saleh on Iraq

[Iraq Mosul vector map from Shutterstock]

[The recent upsurge in fighting in Iraq has placed that country in the headlines once again. Jadaliyya asked Iraq specialist Zainab Saleh to clarify the background and implications of recent developments]: Jadaliyya (J): Recent events in Iraq have been rather dramatic. What led to these developments? Zainab Saleh (ZS): The fall of Mosul and other Iraqi cities to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) needs to be understood against the combined background of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the sectarian political system installed by the occupying powers, regional and international politics, and the conflict in Syria. The institutionalization of sectarian ...

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Muslims and the Path of Intellectual Slavery: An Interview with Wael Hallaq (Part Two)

[Image from shutterstock.com]

This is the second installment of a two-part interview with Wael Hallaq (click here for Part 1). In this second, Hallaq expounds upon the conflict he sees in the relationship between scholars in the Muslim world and the tradition of Western knowledge production. In particular, he identifies an uncritical adoption of Western intellectual categories and modes of knowledge transmission along what he terms “the path of intellectual slavery.” Such a course, Hallaq argues, has far-reaching implications, from the construction of particularly damaging historical narratives—such as the "Bayt al-Hikma phenomenon"—to the tendency to place value on maintaining rigid ...

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Knowledge as Politics by Other Means: An Interview with Wael Hallaq (Part One)

[Wael Hallaq.]

Throughout the last three decades, Wael Hallaq has emerged as one of the leading scholars of Islamic law in Western academia. He has made major contributions not only to the study of the theory and practice of Islamic law, but to the development of a methodology through which Islamic scholars have been able to confront challenges facing the Islamic legal tradition. Hallaq is thus uniquely placed to address broader questions concerning the moral and intellectual foundations of competing modern projects. With his most recent work, The Impossible State, Hallaq lays bare the power dynamics and political processes at the root of phenomena that are otherwise often ...

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Open Letter to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center

[National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center. Image by NormanB via Wikimedia Commons]

[On 12 May 2014, the Associated Press ran a wire story about a group letter regarding the September 11 Museum film, The Rise of al-Qaeda. The story was since featured in newspapers around the world. Below is the final version of the letter, which hilights the concerns with the film as well as the signatories.]   Via Electronic Mail President Joe Daniels and Director Alice Greenwald National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center 200 Liberty Street, 16th Floor New York, NY 10281 May 9, 2014 Dear President Joe Daniels and Director Alice Greenwald, As scholars in the fields of religion, political science, history, Islam, ...

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (24 April)

[Abdulnasser Gharem, a Saudi conceptual artist, poses in front of

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com by Saturday night of every week.] Art and Science Islam the opera: curtain up on Clusters of Light about life of prophet Muhammad A musical theater production on the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad has debuted in Sharjah featuring several notable Arab singers. Tours are planned for Malaysia, Turkey, and Paris. Saudi Artists Cautiously Push against ...

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Event Report-Back -- Before the Modern, After the Medieval: Egypt and the Middle East in the Eighteenth Century

[Photo of event. Image from Daniel Woodward]

On 28 and 29 March 2014 the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations at the American University in Cairo (AUC) convened its Annual History Seminar at Oriental Hall in downtown Cairo. Titled “Before the Modern, After the Medieval: Egypt and the Middle East in the 18th Century,” the seminar brought renowned scholars from across Egypt and the world together to question the narrative of the eighteenth century as a period of stagnation or decline which still dominants Egyptian and Middle Eastern history, and to try to find new frameworks through which to understand the period. Dr. Emad Abu-Ghazi of Cairo University opened the seminar by addressing the issue of whether ...

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الصراع على المساجد في مصر: بحثاً عن كنيسة الاسلام

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وسط الصراع الذي يجري الآن في مصر بين أجهزة الدولة بقيادة الحكومة المدعومة من الجيش، وبين الإخوان والتيارات الإسلامية المناصرة لهم، هناك صراع محوري جداً على المساجد ومنابرها. الخطب والدروس الدينية والأنشطة الخيرية والتنموية التي تتخذ من المساجد مركزاً لها هي إحدى ساحات نفوذ التيارات الإسلامية بتنوعاتها، وهي أيضا إحدى ساحات تأكيد شرعية النظام السياسي في مصر عبر الإدارة الحكومية المباشرة لعدد من المساجد، أو الإشراف على عدد آخر، عن طريق وزارة الأوقاف. ولطالما شهدت هذه الساحات صراعات قوى ونفوذ بين النظام ورجاله في المؤسسة الدينية الرسمية وبين التيارات الإسلامية. والآن تتخذ وزارة الأوقاف قرارات وسياسات مشددة تهدف إلى إحكام سيطرتها حصرياً على كل هذه الشعائر والأنشطة في ظل حملة ...

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Liberalizmin tasfiyesi ve Ortadogu'da alacakaranlik

Liberalizmin tasfiyesi ve Ortadoğu'da alacakaranlık Çok umutlar bağlandı Türkiye’ye. Doğu ile Batı arasındaki köprüydü o. 1950’lerde dahi Amerikalı sosyal bilimcilerin gözdesiydi. “Batı-dışı” toplumların (devrimci hayallere kalkışmadan) modernleşebileceğini gösteriyordu çünkü. 1990’lardan itibaren çerçeve bir parça değişti. Artık Türkiye’nin belirleyici özelliği, Müslüman kimliği ile liberalizmi uzlaştırabilmesiydi. Ak Parti iktidarı, bu beklentileri zirveye taşıdı. 2011 Arap ayaklanmalarından sonra da, ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (5 October)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Palestine-Israel Israel's Bloated War Machine, Uri Blau The heavy expansion of the defense ministry in Israel under the premiership of PM ...

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Propaganda, Politics, and Profiteering: Islamic Law in the Contemporary United States

The recent announcement of the establishment of a “caliphate” by the “Islamic State”—also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—has put Islamic law back in the headlines. In the ensuing, polarizing debates, images of violence and extremism are countered with defensive posturing about the “true” nature of Islamic law. This endless tug-of-war between delegitimizing and legitimizing “Islamic law” confuses and obfuscates, rather than educates ...

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Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“  is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Sayyid Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani Known As: Al-Husseini – His father is Safdar Date of Birth: August 1838 Place of Birth: ...

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The Informants: Manufacturing Terror

On the surface, the scene unfolds without any hint of intrigue. A young Muslim convert named Darren Griffin meets fellow congregants at a local mosque in northwest Ohio. In addition to sharing the same faith as his new friends, they enjoy similar interests: watching sports, playing video games, working out at the local gym, and discussing international affairs. Except the scene ends tragically with a string of arrests, a national media frenzy, and self-congratulation among federal officials claiming to ...

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Hassan Al-Banna: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“ is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic  and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.]  Name: Hassan Last Name: Al-Banna Father’s Name: Ahmed Abdul Al-Rahman Mother’s Name: Fawzieh Amin Baik Date of ...

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Turbulent Muslim Renaissance in Tunisia: Interview with Ennahda's Yusra Ghannouchi

The political transformations that occurred after the Arab Spring saw the emergence of political Islam with new force. This occurred not only in Tunisia, where the revolutions began, but more widely in the whole Middle East and North Africa region. More than three years after Ben Ali’s fall, Islamists are still part of political processes in Tunisia, whereas in some other places (like Egypt) their role in politics has been significantly restricted. This interview with Dr. Yusra Ghannouchi, the ...

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (May 12)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com by Saturday night of every week.] Art and Science Fashion’s Missed Muslim Market Opportunity Robin Mellery-Pratt writes on the emerging Muslim consumer market for international fashion ...

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Sayyed Qutb: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“ is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Sayyed Last name: Qutb Father’s name: Qutb Ibn Ibrahim Date of birth: 1906 Date of death: 1966 Nationality: ...

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Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“ is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.]  First Name: Nasr Last Name: Abu Zaid Date of birth: 10 July 1943 Date of death: 5 July 2010 Nationality: ...

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Beyond 'Tolerance' and 'Intolerance': Deconstructing the Myth of the Islamic Golden Age

Like many other concepts that shape our understanding of medieval history, the idea of a “Muslim Golden Age” is a historiographical construct. It promotes the notion that, until at least the early thirteenth century, the Muslim world experienced an era of unprecedented stability, prosperity, and cultural production. More particularly, it emphasizes that the period between roughly the ninth century and the thirteenth century (sometimes extended to the eighteenth century in order to include the Ottomans ...

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (18 March)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com by Saturday night of every week.] Muslim Minorities and Minority Muslims Germany Adds Lessons in Islam to Better Blend Its Melting Pot Alison Smale reports that for the first time, ...

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