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How do ordinary Muslims deal with and influence the increasingly pervasive Islamic norms set by institutions of the state and religion? Becoming Better Muslims offers an innovative account of the dynamic interactions between individual Muslims, religious authorities, and the state in Aceh, Indonesia. Relying on extensive historical and ethnographic research, David Kloos offers a detailed analysis of religious life in Aceh and an investigation into today's personal processes of ethical formation. Aceh is known for its history of rebellion and its recent implementation of Islamic law. Debunking the stereotypical image of the Acehnese as inherently pious or fanatical, Kloos shows how Acehnese Muslims reflect consciously on their faith and often frame their religious lives in terms of gradual ethical improvement. Revealing that most Muslims view their lives through the prism of uncertainty, doubt, and imperfection, he argues that these senses of failure contribute strongly to how individuals try to become better Muslims. He also demonstrates that while religious authorities have encroached on believers and local communities, constraining them in their beliefs and practices, the same process has enabled ordinary Muslims to reflect on moral choices and dilemmas, and to shape the ways religious norms are enforced. Arguing that Islamic norms are carried out through daily negotiations and contestations rather than blind conformity, Becoming Better Muslims examines how ordinary people develop and exercise their religious agency.
Muslim countries experience wide variation in levels of Islamist political mobilization, including such political activities as protest, voting, and violence. Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization provides a theory of the institutional origins of Islamist politics, focusing on the development of religious common knowledge, religious entrepreneurship, and coordinating focal points as critical to the success of Islamist activism. Examining Islamist politics in more than 50 countries over four decades, the book illustrates that Islamist political activism varies a great deal, appearing in specific types of institutional contexts. Detailed case studies of Turkey, Algeria, and Senegal demonstrate how diverse contexts yield different types of Islamist politics across the Muslim world.
"Walking the Precipice "gives a succinct, readable account through a woman's eyes of the rise of the Taliban in war-torn Afghanistan. This is a personal report about a country at the heart of the "War on Terror."
In 1990, activist and grandmother Barbara Bick, age sixty-five, traveled with a women's delegation to Afghanistan for what she thought would be her last great adventure. Instead, while the Mujahideen shelled Kabul, Bick forged deep friendships with her Afghan hosts. In the ensuing years, she watched with horror as the Taliban took over Afghanistan and instituted its fiercely anti-woman policies.
In 2001, Bick returned to Afghanistan, this time to even more dangerous terrain: the region dominated by the Northern Alliance, the anti-Taliban militia. She was their guest at a compound where Ahmad Shah Massoud, their leader, was also staying, and was there on September 9 when Taliban infiltrators assassinated him prior to the al Qaeda attacks on the United States. Bick returned to Afghanistan one last time, in 2004, to see how women were faring under the new government.
"Walking the Precipice "gives new insight into the people, politics, and culture of a country that should be on everyone's "watch list."
A longtime peace and human rights activist, Barbara Bick has worked for Women Strike for Peace, NEGAR-Support of Women of Afghanistan, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Institute of Women's Policy Research, and the National Conference of State and Local Public Policies.
Examining late twentieth-century autobiographical writing by Arab women novelists, poets, and artists, this anthology explores the ways in which Arab women have portrayed and created their identities within differing social environments. Even as the collection dismantles standard notions of Arab female subservience, the works presented here go well beyond the confines of those traditional boundaries. The book explores the many routes Arab women writers have taken to speak to each other, to their readers, and to the world at large. Drawing from a rich body of literature, the essays collectively attest to the surprisingly lively and committed roles Arab women play in varied geographic regions, at home and abroad. These recent writings assess how the interplay between individual, private, ethnic identity and the collective, public, global world of politics has impacted Arab women's rights.
Consulting the work of well-known and obscure al-Qaeda theoreticians, Michael W. S. Ryan finds Jihadist terrorism has more in common with the principles of Maoist guerrilla warfare than mainstream Islam. Encouraging strategists and researchers to devote greater attention to Jihadi ideas rather than Jihadist military operations, Ryan builds a more effective framework for analyzing al-Qaeda's plans against America and constructs a more compelling counternarrative to the West's supposed war on Islam. Ryan uniquely examines the Salafist Jihadist roots of al-Qaeda ideology and the contributions of its most famous founders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a political-military context. He also reads the Arabic-language works of lesser known theoreticians who have played an instrumental role in framing al-Qaeda's so-called war of the oppressed. These authors readily cite the guerrilla strategies of Mao, Che Guevara, and the mastermind of the Vietnam War, General Giap. They also incorporate the arguments of American theorists writing on fourth generation warfare.By examining these texts, readers experience events as insiders see them, and by concentrating on the activities and pronouncements of al-Qaeda's thought leaders, especially in Yemen, they discern the direct link between al-Qaeda's tactics and trends in anti-U.S. terrorism. Ryan shows al-Qaeda's political-military strategy to be a revolutionary and largely secular departure from a classic Muslim conception of jihad, adding an invaluable dimension to the operational, psychological, and informational strategies already deployed by America's military in the region.
An examination of the place of religion, especially Islam, in political and cultural life took on a special urgency after the events of 9/11. The essays in this volume concentrate on the way that Islam impacts on the everyday lives of people who reside in societies where Islam plays a large part. The relationship between Islam and women has always been seen as problematic, and by highlighting women's negotiations with this religion, this volume seeks to understand the many and various strategies and connections that are made, and their political and cultural ramifications. By keeping an Asian focus, the authors also seek to understand the wide panorama that Islamic societies inhabit, and the manifold political and cultural expressions that ensue from this. The effort is not only to break the image of a monolithic structure and set of beliefs, but also to highlight on-the-ground negotiations, and the ways that women in particular find spaces within Islamic structures and discourses. This book was originally published as a special issue of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.
Shahrazad, the legendary fictional storyteller who spun the tales of the 1,001 Arabian Nights, has long been rendered as a silent exotic beauty by Western film and fiction adaptations. Now, she talks back to present a new image of Muslim women. In "Liberating Shahrazad," Suzanne Gauch analyzes how postcolonial writers and filmmakers from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have reclaimed the storyteller in order to portray Muslim women in ways that highlight their power to shape their own destinies. Gauch looks at Maghrebian works that incorporate Shahrazad's storytelling techniques into unexpected and unforeseen narratives. Highlighting the fluid nature of storytelling, Gauch demonstrates how these new depictions of Shahrazad--from artists such as Moufida Tlatli, Fatima Mernissi, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Assia Djebar, Leila Sebbar--navigate the demands of a global marketplace, even as they reshape the stories told about the Islamic world. In the face of both rising fundamentalism and proliferating Western media representations of Arab and Muslim women as silent, exploited, and uneducated victims, Gauch establishes how contemporary works of literature and film revive the voice of a long-silenced Shahrazad--and, ultimately, overthrow oppressive images of Muslim women. Suzanne Gauch is assistant professor of English and women's studies at Temple University.
This book traces the global, national, and local origins of the conflict between Muslims and Jews in France, challenging the belief that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the unfolding crisis in Israel and Palestine. Maud Mandel shows how the conflict in fact emerged from processes internal to French society itself even as it was shaped by affairs elsewhere, particularly in North Africa during the era of decolonization.
Mandel examines moments in which conflicts between Muslims and Jews became a matter of concern to French police, the media, and an array of self-appointed spokesmen from both communities: Israel's War of Independence in 1948, France's decolonization of North Africa, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1968 student riots, and Francois Mitterrand's experiments with multiculturalism in the 1980s. She takes an in-depth, on-the-ground look at interethnic relations in Marseille, which is home to the country's largest Muslim and Jewish populations outside of Paris. She reveals how Muslims and Jews in France have related to each other in diverse ways throughout this history--as former residents of French North Africa, as immigrants competing for limited resources, as employers and employees, as victims of racist aggression, as religious minorities in a secularizing state, and as French citizens.
In "Muslims and Jews in France," Mandel traces the way these multiple, complex interactions have been overshadowed and obscured by a reductionist narrative of Muslim-Jewish polarization."
An exploration into the ways in which ethnography can create a greater understanding of Islam in particular social contexts This comparative approach to the various uses of the ethnographic method in research about Islam in anthropology and other social sciences is particularly relevant in the current climate. Political discourses and stereotypical media portrayals of Islam as a monolithic civilisation have prevented the emergence of cultural pluralism and individual freedom. Such discourses are countered by the contributors who show the diversity and plurality of Muslim societies and promote a reflection on how the ethnographic method allows the description, representation and analysis of the social and cultural complexity of Muslim societies in the discourse of anthropology. Key Features * shows the benefit of using ethnography as a method to engage with and relate to specific empirical realities * includes case studies on rituals and symbols in Syria, Tunisia, Damascus, Algeria, Britain, Pakistan, Brazil and Lebanon * covers practices such as veiling, students' religious practices, charitable activities, law, and scholarship in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen
The world today faces numerous challenges, including the ongoing fallout from the financial crisis and varied and diverse examples of violence and conflict across the globe. Combined with the many changes affecting both the regional and global balance of power - such as the apparent decline of the United States, the growing influence of the East, and the evolving role of international organizations - these challenges have led some to question how global power will be distributed in the coming two decades. Global Strategic Developments offers an examination of these developments, providing an exploration of the future of the global system and its international powers and organizations. With analysis of military, security, financial and economic challenges that face the Gulf, the wider Middle East and beyond, this book is of vital importance to those interested in the future of both geopolitical networks and the global monetary system.
A highly influential Sudanese reformist thinker, Mahmud Muhammad Taha is regarded as a product of a dual legacy rooted in mystical Islam on the one hand and in the tradition of modernity on the other. Publicly executed in 1985 following his conviction of apostasy, Taha offered distinctly original interpretations of the Qur'an and a radical theory of Islamic prayer. In ""Quest for Divinity"", Mohamed Mahmoud presents an in-depth and balanced treatment of Taha's controversial yet significant thought. The author's ability to provide access to relevant literature in both Arabic and English offers readers a rare view of the considerable nuance Taha's thought. With rich detail Mahmoud explores Taha's theories of human freedom and his social message, referred to as ""the second message of Islam"" with its emphasis on political, economic, and social equality. Taha's embrace of modernity is further assessed relative to his position on science, law, and art - areas that have always attracted Muslim modernists. ""Quest for Divinity"" will attract attention to Taha's compelling but little-known intellectual contribution as a seminal modern reformer of Islam. Such recognition is long overdue and will enrich the current debates on Islam and modernity.
Muslims have been present in South Asia for 14 centuries. Nearly 40% of the people of this vast land mass follow the religion of Islam, and Muslim contribution to the cultural heritage of the sub-continent has been extensive. This textbook provides both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as the general reader, with a comprehensive account of the history of Islam in India, encompassing political, socio-economic, cultural and intellectual aspects. Using a chronological framework, the book discusses the main events in each period between c. 600 CE and the present day, along with the key social and cultural themes. It discusses a range of topics, including: How power was secured, and how was it exercised The crisis of confidence caused by the arrival of the West in the sub-continent How the Indo-Islamic synthesis in various facets of life and culture came about Excerpts at the end of each chapter allow for further discussion, and detailed maps alongside the text help visualise the changes through each time period. Introducing the reader to the issues concerning the Islamic past of South Asia, the book is a useful text for students and scholars of South Asian History and Religious Studies.
Among many other treasures, the Oriental Department of the Wellcome Library houses a small, but important, collection of Islamic calligraphy. Unlike many modern catalogues on Islamic calligraphy, which primarily comprises of illustrations and their physical description, this volume includes full details of each item described. The diversity of topics, languages and styles of calligraphy represented in the Wellcome collection, together with the contributions by various scholars, will make this volume an important reference on Islamic calligraphy for many years to come.
At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press's Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more. Persian is one of the great lingua francas of world history. Yet despite its recognition as a shared language across the Islamic world and beyond, its scope, impact, and mechanisms remain underexplored. A world historical inquiry into pre-modern cosmopolitanism, The Persianate World traces the reach and limits of Persian as a Eurasian language in a comprehensive survey of its geographical, literary, and social frontiers. From Siberia to Southeast Asia, and between London and Beijing, this book shows how Persian gained, maintained, and finally surrendered its status to imperial and vernacular competitors. Fourteen essays trace Persian's interactions with Bengali, Chinese, Turkic, Punjabi, and other languages to identify the forces that extended "Persographia," the domain of written Persian. Spanning the ages of expansion and contraction, The Persianate World offers a critical survey of both the supports and constraints of one of history's key languages of global exchange.
Through detailed exploration of events in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen, Sean Burns here breaks down the concept of professionalism within the armed forces into its component parts and demonstrates how variation in military structures determines their behaviour. In so doing, and by emphasising historical context and drawing on a wide range of political science theory, Burns sheds fresh light onto the ways in which military structure affects the potential for democratic transition or the course of civil war. With this book he presented a wide-ranging study of the Middle East which provides key tools to understanding the opportunities for democratisation, both during the Arab Spring and beyond, and which is therefore essential reading for anyone working on the Middle East, popular uprisings and the politics of repression.
The modern and contemporary art of Iran has often been understood, and positioned by commercial institutions, as decorative or ethnic - hence the focus on calligraphy and veiled women. While at a scholarly level it has been characterised as a comment on the socio-political context of the country: repressed inside Iran and, among artists in diaspora, as a focus for a complex identity discourse. Viewing Iranian art as neither a commodity, nor an illustration of theory, Fereshteh Daftari approaches the modern art of Iran as a democratic space where pluralism - a range of different styles and ideas - can thrive. This art historical exploration offers new insights into Iranian art, from the late 19th century Qajar period, via the Saqqakhaneh movement of the 1960s and into the contemporary world. In the process the author comments on the concept of modernism in a non-Western environment. She takes both a specific and a panoramic view of Iranian art to expose new themes like the subversive appropriation of traditional art, whilst also tackling more perennial issues like gender. With experience as an international curator, Daftari analyses the way Iranian artists have been represented outside the country and discusses the different routes by which modern Iranian art has been introduced to a Western audience, explaining the process by which Iranian art has developed and how it navigates between the individual and the political.
First published in 1983, this book traces the historical and cultural development of the Soviet Muslim population. Going back to the Mongol Empire and the Russian conquest of Muslim lands under the Tsars, it demonstrates how the present Soviet Islamic culture has emerged. It also examines how Soviet Muslims interact with the Muslim world abroad and how Soviet Muftis have been used as ambassadors of the USSR in Muslim countries.
Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East-West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford. In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West's grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse's corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations. Through the intellectual "archaeology" of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readers-Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women-and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.
This an entirely new introduction to Islam by a major American news corespondent versed in Islamic religion, culture, and politics, one who has seen the course of war and upheaval, peace and prosperity. Unmasking the tie between Islam and modern terrorism, Ed Hotaling explores the radical challenge posed by terrorists to the religion they claim to follow and their threat to the world at large. Paralleling the rise of Islam with the life of Muhammad, Hotaling describes how Muhammad created the first Islamic state. He was an innovative general and diplomat who respected women's rights. Hotaling draws the stunning conclusion that if the Prophet were alive today, he would be an American. Hotaling explains, "Just as he did in the heat of persecution, embattled leadership and war, he would have stood up today for his principles, debated and negotiated with his rivals, tolerated their ideas until he could win them over . . . and fought in the open." Here is the amazing story of how Muhammad's followers conquered half the world, exceeded early Christian Europe in the arts, sciences, and government, and won the bloody battles of the Crusades. Hotaling traces the path of Islam to modern times and the spread of Islamic Revivalism spurred by the Iranian Revolution. He reveals its connection to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. With compelling precision, he uncovers alternatives to an impending cataclysmic clash of civilizations.
The Shias of Pakistan are the world's second largest Shia community after that of Iran, but com- prise only 10-15 per cent of Pakistan's population. In recent decades Sunni extremists have increasingly targeted them with hate propaganda and terrorism, yet paradoxically Shias have always been fully integrated into all sections of political, professional and social life without suffering any discrimination. In mainstream politics, the Shia- Sunni divide has never been an issue in Pakistan. Shia politicians in Pakistan have usually downplayed their religious beliefs, but there have always been individuals and groups who emphasised their Shia identity, and who zeal- ously campaigned for equal rights for the Shias wherever and whenever they perceived these to be threatened. Shia 'ulama' have been at the forefront of communal activism in Pakistan since 1949, but Shia laymen also participated in such organisations, as they had in pre-partition India. Based mainly on Urdu sources, Rieck's book examines, first, the history of Pakistan's Shias, including their communal organisations, the growth of the Shia 'ulama' class, of religious schools and rivalry between 'orthodox' 'ulama' and popular preachers; second, the outcome of lobbying of successive Pakistan governments by Shia organisations; and third, the Shia-Sunni conflict, which is increasingly virulent due to the state's failure to combat Sunni extremism.
"What Time is it There? "is a history of worlds that encounter each other without ever meeting. The title comes from a film by Tsai Ming-liang which explores the desire to conquer the barriers of space and time by abolishing time differences and inventing substitutes for a coveted elsewhere. This preoccupation with other worlds and consciousness of the differences that separate them have become a persistent theme of our world today, shaped as it has been by the complex flows of people, images and ideas that we have come to associate with the term 'globalization'. But the dismantling of closed worlds that gradually opened cultures and peoples to one another is by no means new.
In this remarkable book, Serge Gruzinski takes us back to the early modern period and examines two testimonies that require us to navigate between America and the Islamic world long before the images of 9/11 had entered our heads. One is a chronicle of the New World compiled in Istanbul in 1580, the other is a Repertory of the Times written in Mexico in 1606, which dwells at length on the Empire of the Turks. Why and how did the Turks come to know so much about America, and what made readers in Mexico ask questions about the Ottomans?
Gruzinski conducts a dialogue between these two texts that emphasizes the singularities of the two visions, that of Islam and that of America, each already keeping a watchful eye on the other and yet irreducibly different, with this question always in the background: what did it mean to 'think the world' at the dawn of modern times?
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