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Joshua Parens provides an introduction to the thought of Alfarabi, a tenth-century Muslim political philosopher whose writings are particularly relevant today. Parens focuses on Alfarabi’s Attainment of Happiness, in which he envisions the kind of government and religion needed to fulfill Islam’s ambition of universal acceptance. Parens argues that Alfarabi seeks to temper the hopes of Muslims and other believers that one homogeneous religion might befit the entire world and counsels acceptance of the possibility of a multiplicity of virtuous religions. Much of Alfarabi’s approach is built upon Plato’s Republic, which Parens also examines in order to provide the necessary background for a proper understanding of Alfarabi’s thought.
The Changing Discourse in Iran
While many previous books have probed the causes of Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, few have focused on the power of religion in shaping a national identity over the decades leading up to it. Islamism and Modernism captures the metamorphosis of the Islamic movement in Iran, from encounters with Great Britain and the United States in the 1920s through twenty-first-century struggles between those seeking to reform Islam’s role and those who take a hardline defensive stance. Capturing the views of four generations of Muslim activists, Farhang Rajaee describes how the extremism of the 1960s brought more confidence to concerned Islam-minded Iranians and radicalized the Muslim world while Islamic alternatives to modernity were presented. Subsequent ideologies gave rise to the revolution, which in turn has fed a restructuring of Islam as a faith rather than as an ideology. Presenting thought-provoking discussions of religious thinkers such as Ha’eri, Burujerdi, Bazargan, and Shari‘ati, along with contemporaries such as Kadivar, Soroush, and Shabestari, the author sheds rare light on the voices fueling contemporary Islamic thinking in Iran. A comprehensive study of these interwoven aspects of politics, religion, society, and identity, Islamism and Modernism offers crucial new insight into the aftermath of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution fought one hundred years ago—and its ramifications for the newest generation to face the crossroads of modernity and Islamic discourse in modern Iran today.
Politics in the Emerging Democracy
The fall of President Soeharto in May 1998 and the introduction of multi-party democracy by President BJ Habibie have unleashed religious parties (both Islamic and Christian) in Indonesian politics. This study shows that the Islamist agenda of the Islamist parties is overshadowed by their political pragmatism. This book is a must-read account on the rise and failure of the Islamist struggle in Indonesia's emerging democracy. Platzdasch's work is without a doubt a significant and timely contribution to a better understanding of Islamic politics in contemporary Indonesia. - Professor Azyumardi Azra, Professor of History & Director, Graduate School, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta, Indonesia.
A Study in Vernacular Politics
This ethnography of contemporary Istanbul charts the success of Islamist mobilization through the eyes of ordinary people. Drawing on interviews gathered over twenty years of fieldwork, White focuses on the appeal of Islamic politics in the fabric of Turkish society and among mobilizing and mobilized elites, women, and educated populations.
The Party of Justice and Development in Morocco
Wegner traces the party’s choices through an analysis of organizational, ideological, and institutional constraints. Adopting a simple but novel perspective, Wegner distinguishes Islamist parties from other opposition parties because of their connection to a powerful social movement. The author shows how the PJD initially made major progress in electoral politics by building up a strong party organization, sustaining full support of the Islamist movement, and positioning itself as the only credible opposition party. Ultimately, the failure of the PJD to win elections was due to political concessions it made to secure its legality combined with a distancing from the Islamist movement. Based on extensive field research in Morocco in 2003 and 2007 and drawing upon personal interviews with members, candidates, and leaders of the PJD, Islamist Opposition in Authoritarian Regimes presents a meticulous and enlightening case study. Wegner enriches our understanding of electoral authoritarianism in Morocco and throughout the Arab- Islamic world.
Islamization and Activism in Malaysia examines aspects of the increasing political and social profile of Islam in Malaysia and describes how different kinds of activists in Malaysia have sought to protect fundamental liberties and to improve the state of democracy in Malaysia. In particular, focus is paid to activists who engage with electoral process, the law and the public sphere, and in particular, to movements that cut across or combine these realms of action. Spanning the period of the Prime Ministership of Abdullah Badawi, Julian C. H. Lee's grounded analysis examines the most important issues of that period including the freedom of religion case of Lina Joy, the Islamic state debate, and events surrounding the 8 March 2008 general elections.
Globalization and Identity in a Muslim Community
Led by a charismatic European-based hereditary Imam, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, global Isma'ili organizations make available an astonishing array of services--social, economic, political, and religious--to some three to five million subjects stretching from Afghanistan to England, from Pakistan to Tanzania. Steinberg argues that this intricate and highly integrated network enables a new kind of shared identity and citizenship, one that goes well beyond the sense of community maintained by other diasporic populations. Of note in this process is the rapid assimilation in the postcolonial period of once-isolated societies into the intensively centralized Isma'ili structure. Also remarkable is the Isma'ilis' self-presentation, contrary to common characterizations of Islam in the mass media, as a Muslim society that is broadly sympathetic to capitalist systems, opposed to fundamentalism, and distinctly modern in orientation. Steinberg's unique journey into remote mountain regions highlights today's rapidly shifting meanings of citizenship, faith, and identity and reveals their global scale.
Vol. 5 (2012) through current issue
The Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies (JSIS) is a refereed academic journal published quarterly by ICAS Press for the Islamic College in London. The journal provides an international forum for scholars through the publication of research articles in all fields of Shi‘a studies, from the historical to the contemporary and from the theological to the philosophical.
Pursuing Equality in Societies of Difference
Educators and policymakers who share the goal of equal opportunity in schools often hold differing notions of what entails a just school in multicultural America. Some emphasize the importance of integration and uniform treatment for all, while others point to the benefits of honoring cultural diversity in ways that make minority students feel at home. In Just Schools, noted legal scholars, educators, and social scientists examine schools with widely divergent methods of fostering equality in order to explore the possibilities and limits of equal education today.The contributors to Just Schools combine empirical research with rich ethnographic accounts to paint a vivid picture of the quest for justice in classrooms around the nation. Legal scholar Martha Minow considers the impact of school choice reforms on equal educational opportunities. Psychologist Hazel Rose Markus examines culturally sensitive programs where students exhibit superior performance on standardized tests and feel safer and more interested in school than those in color-blind programs. Anthropologist Heather Lindkvist reports on how Somali Muslims in Lewiston, Maine, invoked the American ideal of inclusiveness in winning dress-code exemptions and accommodations for Islamic rituals in the local public school. Political scientist Austin Sarat looks at a school system in which everyone endorses multiculturalism but holds conflicting views on the extent to which culturally sensitive practices should enter into the academic curriculum. Anthropologist Barnaby Riedel investigates how a private Muslim school in Chicago aspires to universalist ideals, and education scholar James Banks argues that schools have a responsibility to prepare students for citizenship in a multicultural society. Anthropologist John Bowen offers a nuanced interpretation of educational commitments in France and the headscarf controversy in French schools. Anthropologist Richard Shweder concludes the volume by connecting debates about diversity in schools with a broader conflict between national assimilation and cultural autonomy. As America’s schools strive to accommodate new students from around the world, Just Schools provides a provocative and insightful look at the different ways we define and promote justice in schools and in society at large.
Christian and Muslim Perspectives
Justice and Rights is a record of the fifth Building Bridges seminar held in Washington, DC in 2006 (an annual symposium on Muslim-Christian relations cosponsored by Georgetown University and the Church of England). This volume examines justice and rights from Christian and Muslim perspectivesùa topic of immense relevance for both faiths in the modern world, but also with deep roots in the core texts of both traditions. Leading scholars examine three topics: scriptural foundations, featuring analyses of Christian and Muslim sacred texts; evolving traditions, exploring historical issues in both faiths with an emphasis on religious and political authority; and the modern world, analyzing recent and contemporary contributions from Christianity and Islam in the area of freedom and human rights.