Making Moderate Islam

Author: Rosemary R. Corbett
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 150360084X
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Drawing on a decade of research into the community that proposed the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," this book refutes the idea that current demands for Muslim moderation have primarily arisen in response to the events of 9/11, or to the violence often depicted in the media as unique to Muslims. Instead, it looks at a century of pressures on religious minorities to conform to dominant American frameworks for race, gender, and political economy. These include the encouraging of community groups to provide social services to the dispossessed in compensation for the government's lack of welfare provisions in an aggressively capitalist environment. Calls for Muslim moderation in particular are also colored by racist and orientalist stereotypes about the inherent pacifism of Sufis with respect to other groups. The first investigation of the assumptions behind moderate Islam in our country, Making Moderate Islam is also the first to look closely at the history, lives, and ambitions of the those involved in Manhattan's contested project for an Islamic community center.

Living Sufism in North America

Author: William Rory Dickson
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 143845757X
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Offers an overview of Sufism in North America. In this book, William Rory Dickson explores Sufism as a developing tradition in North America, one that exists in diverse and beguiling forms. Sufism’s broad-minded traditions of philosophy, poetry, and spiritual practice infused Islamic civilization for centuries and drew the attention of interested Westerners. By the early twentieth century, Sufism was being practiced in North America. Today’s North American Sufism can appear either explicitly Islamic or seemingly devoid of Islamic religiosity. Dickson provides indispensable background on Sufism’s relation to Islamic orthodoxy and to Western esoteric traditions, and its historical development in North America. The book goes on to chart the directions that North American Sufism is currently taking, directions largely chosen by Sufi leaders. The views of ten North American Sufi leaders are explored in depth and their perspectives on Islam, authority, gender, and tradition are put in conversation with one another. A more detailed picture of North American Sufism emerges, challenging previous scholarly classifications of Sufi groups, and highlighting Sufism’s fluidity, diversity, and dynamism. “Living Sufism in North America is the first book of its kind to bridge the gap between Sufi studies and the study of North American contemporary religious movements. As such, it is a comprehensive, pioneering work of potential interest to a wide array of scholars in the field of contemporary religion.” — Patrick Laude, author of Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guenon, and Schuon

Religion as Critique

Author: Irfan Ahmad
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469635100
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Irfan Ahmad makes the far-reaching argument that potent systems and modes for self-critique as well as critique of others are inherent in Islam--indeed, critique is integral to its fundamental tenets and practices. Challenging common views of Islam as hostile to critical thinking, Ahmad delineates thriving traditions of critique in Islamic culture, focusing in large part on South Asian traditions. Ahmad interrogates Greek and Enlightenment notions of reason and critique, and he notes how they are invoked in relation to "others," including Muslims. Drafting an alternative genealogy of critique in Islam, Ahmad reads religious teachings and texts, drawing on sources in Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, and English, and demonstrates how they serve as expressions of critique. Throughout, he depicts Islam as an agent, not an object, of critique. On a broader level, Ahmad expands the idea of critique itself. Drawing on his fieldwork among marketplace hawkers in Delhi and Aligarh, he construes critique anthropologically as a sociocultural activity in the everyday lives of ordinary Muslims, beyond the world of intellectuals. Religion as Critique allows space for new theoretical considerations of modernity and change, taking on such salient issues as nationhood, women's equality, the state, culture, democracy, and secularism.

Lone Star Muslims

Author: Ahmed Afzal
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479858889
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Lone Star Muslims offers an engaging and insightful look at contemporary Muslim American life in Texas. It illuminates the dynamics of the Pakistani Muslim community in Houston, a city with one of the largest Muslim populations in the south and southwestern United States. Drawing on interviews and participant observation at radio stations, festivals, and ethnic businesses, the volume explores everyday Muslim lives at the intersection of race, class, profession, gender, sexuality, and religious sectarian affiliation to demonstrate the complexity of the South Asian experience. Importantly, the volume incorporates narratives of gay Muslim American men of Pakistani descent, countering the presumed heteronormativity evident in most of the social science scholarship on Muslim Americans and revealing deeply felt affiliations to Islam through ritual and practice. It also includes narratives of members of the highly skilled Shia Ismaili Muslim labor force employed in corporate America, of Pakistani ethnic entrepreneurs, the working class and the working poor employed in Pakistani ethnic businesses, of community activists, and of radio program hosts. Decentering dominant framings that flatten understandings of transnational Islam and Muslim Americans, such as “terrorist” on the one hand, and “model minority” on the other, Lone Star Muslims offers a glimpse into a variety of lived experiences. It shows how specificities of class, Islamic sectarian affiliation, citizenship status, gender, and sexuality shape transnational identities and mediate racism, marginalities, and abjection. Instructor's Guide

Western Sufism

Author: Mark J. Sedgwick
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019997764X
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Western Sufism is sometimes dismissed as a relatively recent "new age" phenomenon, but in this book Mark Sedgwick argues that it has deep roots, both in the Muslim world and in the West. In fact, although the first significant Western Sufi organization was not established until 1915, the first Western discussion of Sufism was printed in 1480, and Western interest in Sufi thought goes back to the thirteenth century. Sedgwick starts with the earliest origins of Western Sufism in late antique Neoplatonism and early Arab philosophy, and traces later origins in repeated intercultural transfers from the Muslim world to the West, in the thought of the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, and in the intellectual and religious ferment of the nineteenth century. He then follows the development of organized Sufism in the West from 1915 until 1968, the year in which the first Western Sufi order based on purely Islamic models was founded. Western Sufism shows the influence of these origins, of thought both familiar and less familiar: Neoplatonic emanationism, perennialism, pantheism, universalism, and esotericism. Western Sufism is the product not of the new age but of Islam, the ancient world, and centuries of Western religious and intellectual history. Using sources from antiquity to the internet, Sedgwick demonstrates that the phenomenon of Western Sufism draws on centuries of intercultural transfers and is part of a long-established relationship between Western thought and Islam.

Muslim Cool

Author: Su'ad Abdul Khabeer
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479894508
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This groundbreaking study of race, religion and popular culture in the 21st century United States focuses on a new concept, “Muslim Cool.” Muslim Cool is a way of being an American Muslim—displayed in ideas, dress, social activism in the ’hood, and in complex relationships to state power. Constructed through hip hop and the performance of Blackness, Muslim Cool is a way of engaging with the Black American experience by both Black and non-Black young Muslims that challenges racist norms in the U.S. as well as dominant ethnic and religious structures within American Muslim communities. Drawing on over two years of ethnographic research, Su'ad Abdul Khabeer illuminates the ways in which young and multiethnic U.S. Muslims draw on Blackness to construct their identities as Muslims. This is a form of critical Muslim self-making that builds on interconnections and intersections, rather than divisions between “Black” and “Muslim.” Thus, by countering the notion that Blackness and the Muslim experience are fundamentally different, Muslim Cool poses a critical challenge to dominant ideas that Muslims are “foreign” to the United States and puts Blackness at the center of the study of American Islam. Yet Muslim Cool also demonstrates that connections to Blackness made through hip hop are critical and contested—critical because they push back against the pervasive phenomenon of anti-Blackness and contested because questions of race, class, gender, and nationality continue to complicate self-making in the United States.

Islamophobia Islamophilia

Author: Andrew Shryock
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253004543
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"Islamophobia" is a term that has been widely applied to anti-Muslim ideas and actions, especially since 9/11. The contributors to this provocative volume explore and critique the usefulness of the concept for understanding contexts ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Moving beyond familiar explanations such as good Muslim/bad Muslim stereotypes or the "clash of civilizations," they describe Islamophobia's counterpart, Islamophilia, which deploys similar oppositions in the interest of fostering public acceptance of Islam. Contributors address topics such as conflicts over Islam outside and within Muslim communities in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia; the cultural politics of literature, humor, and urban renewal; and religious conversion to Islam.

The New Politics of Islam

Author: Naveed S. Sheikh
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135789754
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This is a timely study of the international relations of Islamic states, dealing both with the evolving theory of pan-Islamism from classical to post-caliphal times and the foreign-policy practice of contemporary states, especially Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, from the colonial period to the global aftermath of September 11. With a concise but analytic style, the book engages one-by-one with the questions of political theory, political geography and political sociology as they relate to international Islam. Its primary empirical investigation is centred on the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a powerful pan-Islamic regime, sometimes referred to as the 'Muslim United Nations'. In its theoretical deliberations on Islam and the postmodern condition, the book reconstructs contemporary understandings of how religious ideas and identities influence international politics in the Islamic world.

Religion and Diversity in Canada

Author: Lori Gail Beaman
Publisher: BRILL
ISBN: 9004170154
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Canada officially prides itself on being a multicultural nation, welcoming people from all around the world, and enshrining that status in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as in an array of laws and policies that aim to protect citizens from discrimination on various grounds, including race, cultural origin, sexual orientation, and religion. This volume explores the intersection of these diversities, foregrounding religion as the primary focus of analysis. Taking as their point of departure the contested meaning and implications of the term diversity, the various contributions address issues such as the power relations that diversity implies, the cultural context that limits the understanding and practical acceptance of religious diversity, and how Canada compares in these matters to other countries. Taken together the essays therefore elucidate the Canadian case while also having relevance for understanding this critical issue globally.