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Five Years After the Arab Uprisings: An Interview with Asef Bayat

[Asef Bayat]

This interview was conducted on the occasion of the publication of the Turkish editions of Asef Bayat’s Making Islam Democratic and Life as Politics (Stanford University Press, 2007 and 2013 respectively), and originally appeared in Cumhuriyet Kitap 1366 (21 April 2016): 14–15. It is a follow-up of our first public correspondence, “‘Our Revolution Is Civil’: An Interview with Asef Bayat on Revolt and Change in the Arab World,” that was published in The Hedgehog Review five years ago. Özgür Gökmen (ÖG): In Life as Politics you refer to the dangers of foreign intervention more than once. Expectations were not high but there was still some hope for the region in 2011. ...

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Kamel Daoud: Sexual Demonization and the Secularist Select

(Y. Gastaut,

In a controversial NYT op-ed, the Algerian journalist and prize-winning author Kamel Daoud weighed in on the infamous events of last New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany. He wrote of the sexual harassment and rape authored by Muslim migrants and refugees as symptoms of a “sick” relationship with sex and women in general, and that this “disease” was now spreading to Western lands. This spectacular episode of sexual violence had managed to turn what had been general sympathy for refugees fleeing terrorism into anger, fear, and hatred. A large group of men had congregated at Cologne’s central train station before breaking off into smaller groups to commit robberies and sexual ...

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عن الانتصار العسكري والهزيمة الإيديولوجية

[الجامع الأزهر. المصدر: دانيل ماير]

هل تعيد السياسات المسبوقة لضبط المجال الديني فشل التسعينات؟ في يوم الأربعاء 20 مايو 2015 صرح صبري عبادة، وكيل وزارة الأوقاف، إن الوزارة مستعدة للاحتفالات بمولد الحسين ، وحذر السلفيين من أي محاولة للتصدي للممارسات الشيعية أثناء الاحتفالات، قائلًا: " أنتم لستم أصحاب الولاية على الدين، ولا يجب أن تتحدثوا باسمه؛ لأن مصر بها مؤسسة عريقة، وهي الأزهر الشريف". في يوم الخميس 22 أكتوبر 2015 قررت مديرية أوقاف القاهرة إغلاق ضريح الإمام الحسين بحجة من الأباطيل الشيعية التي تحدث يوم عاشوراء ، وما يمكن أن يحدث من طقوس شيعية لا أصل لها في الإسلام. في ليلة السابع والعشرين من شهر رمضان الماضي، وسط آلاف المصلين بمسجد عمرو بن العاص، كان محمد جبريل، الإمام والقارئ الشهير ...

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في نقد ظاهرة النسويّة الإسلامية: الأخوات المسلمات مثالاً

[مصدر الصورة آ.ب]

في نقد ظاهرة «النسويّة الإسلاميّة»: «الأخوات المسلمات» مثالاً محددات أولية في اصطلاح "النسوية" و"النسوية الإسلامية" ما زال هناك صعوبة شديدة إلى الآن تواجه الباحثين والباحثات بشأن تحديد دقيق لما يعنيه اصطلاح «النسويّة Feminism»، وبخاصة في البلاد العربية والإسلاميّة. الصعوبة لا تكمن في نقل معاني المصطلح والتأريخ له في بلاد الغرب (1) والكيفية التي انتقل بها إلى بلاد العرب، بمقدار ما تكمن أولاً في تحديد الاستحقاق المعرفي له وما يترتب عليه؛ وثانياً، في إمكانية إدراج هذا الاستحقاق داخل السياق الإسلامي، المؤسَّس بنحو جوهريّ على مقتضيات «العقل القضيبي». لا بد من الإشارة للمعاني المستبطنة داخل مصطلح "النسوية" أثناء استخدامه في هذا المقال: ...

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How Should Rationalists Deal with Dogmatism? The Case of the Birmingham Quran Pages

[Pages from the

One of the reasons I do not to write about early Islamic history is that I find it very difficult to manage the constant clash of faith claims and appeals to empirical evidence. When it comes to religion in general, Islam in particular, and the origins of Islam even more specifically, scholars find it difficult to recognize how their non-rational commitments direct their reasoning. Being able to set aside those commitments is even harder. Of course, I am talking about the dogmatic belief found among revisionist historians of early Islam. This school of thought is committed at the level of first principles to the belief that religious traditions pass through a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Beth Baron, The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood

[Cover of Beth Baron,

Beth Baron, The Orphan Scandal: Christian Missionaries and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Beth Baron (BB): This book had a modest beginning as a history of orphans and orphan care in Egypt. Orphans have been largely ignored in historical accounts, yet having often lived on the margins, have a great deal to tell us about family and society. For a variety of reasons, Christian missionaries came to have a near monopoly on orphan care in Egypt, and so my search for sources led me to missionary archives. There, in the missionary archives, I came across the story of Turkiyya ...

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Muslims in Quebec, Belonging to an Intercultural Society: An Interview with Charles Taylor

[Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor giving a lecture at the New School University in 2007. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

Hicham Tiflati (HT): In my research on identity formation and the sense of belonging of young Muslims in Quebec, I have been finding that most of my participants deny their Quebecness and insist on being only Canadians. However, some of them cannot be anything else but Québécois because of the visible Quebecness in their character. Moreover, most of them are caught between Quebecness and Canadianness. Whether it is true or not, they believe that multicultural English Canada is more compatible with their Islamic and cultural values than intercultural French Quebec. So it is hard for them to imagine living in a separate Quebec that is not a Canadian province. What is the ...

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Beyond Blame: Troubling the Semiotic Ideology of Muslim Passion

[Image by Chris Rojas via Flickr]

In the months following the tragic murders at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery in Paris, reactions to the attacks predictably gravitated toward two polar positions. Pundits and politicians in Western Europe and North America—almost entirely non-Muslim—deplored not only the murders themselves, but also the ostensible incompatibility between Islam and freedom of speech and expression in general. Although this chorus of condemnation reflected recent geopolitical events—notably the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq—its tone and substance were nearly identical to earlier denunciations of Muslim intolerance in the context of the ...

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Breaking House Rules: Hoodies, Hijabs, and Belonging in the Netherlands

[Amsterdam Public Library. Image by Gkamiya via Wikimedia Commons]

The Incident With panoramic views of both the city and its harbor, the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA), proved to be an ideal place for me to take a break from working at either my home or office at Leiden University. I visited the OBA regularly since moving to the Netherlands in 2011, when I accepted a position as an assistant professor of Modern Middle East History. Its gigantic floor to ceiling windows drowned you in the sunshine, and led you to feel as if you were amongst the clouds when it was overcast. While it had cameras throughout the building and security men “patrolling” its floors, they never seemed to do more than scold people who drank from non-spill ...

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الدولة الإسلاميّة: نزهة في كهف التنين


بنفس الحدّة التي يقول فيها وائل الحلّاق "إنّ الغالبية العظمى من مسلمي العصر الحديث تتمنّى عودة الشريعة بشكل أو بآخر"، يمكن القول إنّ الغالبية العظمى من قرّاء "الدولة المستحيلة: الإسلام والسياسة ومأزق الحداثة الأخلاقي" سيرون فيه كتابًا في غاية الاستفزاز. تنبّه مترجم الكتاب عمرو عثمان لذلك فكتب في مقدمته بأنّ القارئ "قد يرفض بعض ما يطرحه المؤلّف في هذا البحث وربّما كله". ولا عجب، فكتاب الدولة المستحيلة الذي يشتمل على خلاصات أبحاث وائل الحلّاق في الدراسات الاسلاميّة هو بمثابة "دغدغة" جديدة لتنّين الشريعة القابع في كهف تراثنا الإسلاميّ الفسيح. أطروحة كتاب الحلّاق بالغة البساطة: مفهوم "الدولة الاسلامية" مستحيل التحقق وينطوي ...

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A New Secularism?

[Cover of Mayanthi L. Fernando,

[This is the third of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Joan W. Scott’s response, “More on Laïcité in Historical Context," click here; for Naomi Davidson’s response, “The Vagaries of Laïcité,” click here.] In bringing the work of Joan Scott and Naomi Davidson together with mine, Muriam Haleh Davis demonstrates the importance of undertaking a history of the present. This history enables us to identify some of the structuring logics of French republicanism and French secularism, as well as to track both continuities and discontinuities between past and present, something that ...

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Do Muslims Belong in the West? An Interview with Talal Asad

[Architectural art from Cordoba's Islamic past. Image by charlemagne via Pixabay]

In this discussion, Talal Asad identifies the problematic ways in which the presence of Muslim communities in Western contexts has been characterized in response to outbreaks of violence such as the recent events in Paris. Asad argues that many of the critiques to which Muslims are subjected, namely their dependence on transcendent forces, also inhabit the intellectual assumptions of secular and atheist commentators.  He further expresses the need to examine Islam as a "tradition" in order to avoid precisely the types of sweeping generalizations and focus instead on the complexities and particularities of the various ways in which Islam is lived. ...

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Jeremy Corbyn Hasn’t Got an “Anti-Semitism Problem,” His Opponents Do

Labour has a “Jewish problem.” Or so it has been widely alleged. Headline after headline in recent weeks has claimed that the party, in whose last-but-one leadership election both front-runners were Jewish, has become infested with anti-Semitism. The outbreak has been blamed on the veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn and the mass influx of new members who were inspired by his leadership to join. With a long-time Palestine solidarity campaigner at the helm, the party is now said to be attracting “anti-Semites ...

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إخراج الأرنب من قبعة الساحر الإسلاموي

إخراج الأرنب من قبعة الساحر الإسلاموي: قراءة في كتاب أسئلة الهوية والتسامح وثقافة الحوار في كتاب صدر حديثاً في إطار منشورات مجلة دبي الثقافية، تحت عنوان “أسئلة الهوية والتسامح وثقافة الحوار”، للباحث والدكتور يوسف الحسن، اعتبر الكاتب أن الأزمنة التي كان فيها الحوار "مجرد زينة" ولّتْ، ولا بديل عن الحوار إلا المشروع الإقصائي للآخر، وأننا في هذا الوقت بأمس الحاجة لمؤسسات متخصصة بالحوار، يكون لديها برامج تفاعلية وقدرة على التبادل بين الداخل والخارج لتعميق عوامل المعرفة بالآخر، وإزالة سوء الفهم ...

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Intellectual Journey: On Islamic Studies - A STATUS/الوضع Conversation with Ahmad Dallal

In this interview, Ahmad Dallal traces his intellectual and personal journey from Lebanon to the United Sates and back, while addressing his research trajectory, American University in Beirut provost experience, and future research plans. Dallal’s academic training and research focus is on the intellectual, historical, and institutional contexts of the disciplines of learning in medieval and early modern Islamic societies, covering both the exact and the traditional sciences. His first book, An Islamic ...

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In Jerusalem, “Religious War” Claims Cloak Old-Fashioned Colonialism

al-shabaka policy brief Overview  The escalating clashes between Israeli settlers and Jerusalemite Palestinians are the harbingers of a major eruption with incalculable consequences. Immediately billed as a “religious war” by the media and Israeli right wingers, they are in fact the outcome of longstanding Israeli plans to Judaize the city and empty it of its Palestinian inhabitants. Al-Shabaka Policy Member Nur Arafeh analyzes the major changes that Israel has illegally imposed on Jerusalem and ...

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STATUS/الوضع: Issue 2.2 is Live!

After some months of hard work and consolidation, we are more than pleased to announce the release of Issue 2.2 of Status. This issue, like previous issues, includes a remarkable variety of interviews, programs, and reviews related to some of the more exciting and substantive issues happening in the region. From politics, to history, art, media, and panels/lectures and more, all segmented to allow maximum listening flexibility, you will be able to indulge for hours at a time! Download the podcast from ...

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Ottomanism with a Greek Face: An Interview with Vangelis Kechriotis

“Ottomanism with a Greek Face”: Vangelis Kechriotis coined this term in one of his recent articles to describe a particular cultural and political phenomenon of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, namely a vision of a future for Greek Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire embraced by a number of Greek intellectuals and politicians. In defiance of both Greek and Turkish nationalisms, this ideology developed an alternative understanding of Greek identity, one that combined cultural ...

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Bringing Our Lost Brethren Back Home: Messianic Zionism, Settler-Colonialism, and the Lost Jews of Kaifeng

The Kaifeng Jews of China–numbering at present some five hundred to one thousand in total–are one of the latest communities to garner the interest of right-wing messianic organizations connected to the settler-colonial movement in Israel. Over the last decade, messianic groups have intensified efforts to encourage the community to immigrate (aliyah) to Israel. This endeavor is making some headway. Messianic organizations, including Amichav (My People are Returning), its semi-successor Shavei Yisrael ...

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Video: Do Black Lives Matter in Israel?

In this three-minute episode, originally aired on AJ+ Labs, host Dena Takruri explains how thousands of Ethiopian Jews are protesting police brutality and racism in Israel after a video of a police officer beating up an Israeli Ethiopian went viral online.    

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موت الله والحرب على الإرهاب

ليس الإلحاد سهلاً كما يبدو عليه. ربما كان بسيطاً إلى حدٍّ واف على المستوى الفردي، لكن من الصعب، كما تبيّن، أن تُحَقِّقَ مجتمعاتٌ بأكملها هذا الوضع***. وفي الحقيقة، إن الحداثة منقّطة بحطام البدائل الفاشلة لله، من العقل والروح والفن والعلم والثقافة والإنسانية إلى الطبيعة والشعب والأمة والمجتمع والدولة ومايكل جاكسون. لا أقصد هنا الإيحاء بأن هذه الظواهر بدائل للإله فقط، لكنها أدت كلُّها هذه الوظيفة في أوقات مختلفة من عملها. وقد لعب الدين، تقليدياً، دوراً حيوياً في شَرْعَنة النُّظم السياسية بحيث أن حكامنا ...

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Beyond Authenticity: ISIS and the Islamic Legal Tradition

The Atlantic thinks ISIS is Islamic. President Obama and countless others disagree. As the debate rages on with no shortage of interlocutors, one must stop to ask, what is the utility of making such pronouncements? Is the simple binary of whether ISIS is Islamic or not an effective way to discuss and understand the various questions at stake concerning the Islamic tradition, its authenticity, continuity and change? In response to this basic question, Muslims globally have gone on the defensive, denying ...

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"شوق الدرويش" لحمّور زيادة:"احذر الإيمان يا ولدي، فمنه ما يُهلِك كالكفر"

كل شيء يفرّق بينهما: هو عبد أسود مولود في جبال السودان التحق بثورة المهدي ضد السلطة المصرية-البريطانية في نهاية القرن التاسع عشر وهي راهبة بيضاء يونانية الأصل اسكندرانية النشأة، ذهبت إلى الخرطوم في بعثة تنصيرية من أجل "خدمة الرب في بلاد البرابرة" (128)، على حد تعبيرها. كل شيء يباعد بينهما بما في ذلك أفكارهما المسبقة أحدهما على "جنس" الآخر، المطبوعة بطابع العنصرية، فثيودورا ليس لها مواقف تقدّمية سابقة لأوانها؛ هي راهبة عنصرية تمقت السود ولا تختلط بهم إلا من أجل منالة الحسنات. وبخيت ...

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More on Laïcité in Historical Context

[This is the first of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Naomi Davidson's response, "The Vagaries of Laïcité," click here.] I find Muriam Haleh Davis’ commentary on Charlie Hebdo and French secularism (by way of a review of three books, one of which is mine) to be clear and to the point. Davis insists on the importance of placing in historical context the paradoxical claim that laïcité is a universal ...

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