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A Historical Anthropology
Muslim Societies in Africa provides a concise overview of Muslim societies in Africa in light of their role in African history and the history of the Islamic world. Roman Loimeier identifies patterns and peculiarities in the historical, social, economic, and political development of Africa, and addresses the impact of Islam over the longue durée. To understand the movements of peoples and how they came into contact, Loimeier considers geography, ecology, and climate as well as religious conversion, trade, and slavery. This comprehensive history offers a balanced view of the complexities of the African Muslim past while looking toward Africa’s future role in the globalized Muslim world.
Speaking for Ourselves
In the eyes of many Westerners, Muslim women are hidden behind a veil of negative stereotypes that portray them as either oppressed, subservient wives and daughters or, more recently, as potential terrorists. Yet many Muslim women defy these stereotypes by taking active roles in their families and communities and working to create a more just society. This book introduces eighteen Muslim women activists from the United States and Canada who have worked in fields from social services, to marital counseling, to political advocacy in order to further social justice within the Muslim community and in the greater North American society. Each of the activists has written an autobiographical narrative in which she discusses such issues as her personal motivation for doing activism work, her views on the relationship between Islam and women's activism, and the challenges she has faced and overcome, such as patriarchal cultural barriers within the Muslim community or racism and discrimination within the larger society. The women activists are a heterogeneous group, including North American converts to Islam, Muslim immigrants to the United States and Canada, and the daughters of immigrants. Young women at the beginning of their activist lives as well as older women who have achieved regional or national prominence are included. Katherine Bullock's introduction highlights the contributions to society that Muslim women have made since the time of the Prophet Muhammad and sounds a call for contemporary Muslim women to become equal partners in creating and maintaining a just society within and beyond the Muslim community.
Political and Cultural Contestations in Southeast Asia
This is an excellent and rare exploration of a sensitive religious issue from many perspectives legal, cultural and political. The case studies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand portray the important and exciting, yet very difficult, negotiation of Islamic teachings in the changing realities of Southeast Asia, home to the majority of Muslims in the world. Interreligious marriage is an important indicator of good relations between communities in religiously diverse countries. This book will also be of great interest to students and scholars of religious pluralism in a Southeast Asian context, which has not been studied adequately. --Zainal Abidin Bagir, Executive Director, Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
Over the course of his distinguished career, legal scholar Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im has sought to reconcile his identity as a Muslim with his commitment to universal human rights. In Muslims and Global Justice, he advances the theme of global justice from an Islamic perspective, critically examining the role that Muslims must play in the development of a pragmatic, rights-based framework for justice.
An-Na'im opens this collection of essays with a chapter on Islamic ambivalence toward political violence, showing how Muslims began grappling with this problem long before the 9/11 attacks. Other essays highlight the need to improve the cultural legitimacy of human rights in the Muslim world. As An-Na'im argues, in order for a commitment to human rights to become truly universal, we must learn to accommodate a range of different reasons for belief in those rights. In addition, the author contends, building an effective human rights framework for global justice requires that we move toward a people-centered approach to rights. Such an approach would value foremost empowering local actors as a way of negotiating the paradox of a human rights system that relies on self-regulation by the state.
Encompassing over two decades of An-Na'im's work on these critical issues, Muslims and Global Justice provides a valuable theoretical approach to the challenge of realizing global justice in a world of profound religious and cultural difference.
Pathways to God
Although Islam is not new to West Africa, new patterns of domestic economies, the promise of political liberalization, and the proliferation of new media have led to increased scrutiny of Islam in the public sphere. Dorothea E. Schulz shows how new media have created religious communities that are far more publicly engaged than they were in the past. Muslims and New Media in West Africa expands ideas about religious life in West Africa, women's roles in religion, religion and popular culture, the meaning of religious experience in a charged environment, and how those who consume both religion and new media view their public and private selves.
Islam and National Identity in the Bangladeshi Diaspora
Muslims in Motion provides a comparative look at Bangladeshi Muslims in different global contexts-including Britain, the U.S., the Middle East, and Malaysia. Nazli Kibria examines international migrant flows from Bangladesh, and considers how such migrations continue to shape Islamization in these areas. Having conducted more than 200 in-depth interviews, she explores how, in societies as different as these, migrant Muslims, in their everyday lives, strive to achieve economic gains, sustain community and family life, and realize a sense of dignity and honor.
The State of Research
As the United States wages war on terrorism, the country's attention is riveted on the Muslim world as never before. While many cursory press accounts dealing with Muslims in the United States have been published since 9/11, few people are aware of the wealth of scholarly research already available on the American Islamic population. In Muslims in the United States: The State of Research, Karen Isaksen Leonard mines this rich vein of research to provide a fascinating overview of the history and contemporary situation of American Muslim communities. Leonard describes how Islam, never a monolithic religion, has inevitably been shaped by its experience on American soil. American Muslims are a religious minority, and arbiters of Islamic cultural values and jurisprudence must operate within the framework of America's secular social and legal codes, while coping with the ethnic differences among Muslim groups that have long divided their communities. Arab Muslims tend to dominate mosque functions and teaching Arabic and the Qur'an, whereas South Asian Muslims have often focused on the regional and national mobilization of Muslims around religious and political issues. By the end of the 20th century, however, many Muslim immigrants had become American citizens, prompting greater interchange among these groups and bridging some cultural differences. African American Muslims remain the most isolated group—a minority within a minority. Many African American men have converted to Islam while in prison, leading to a special concern among African American Muslims for civil and religious rights within the prison system. Leonard highlights the need to expand our knowledge of African American Muslim movements, which are often not regarded as legitimate by immigrant Muslims. Leonard explores the construction of contemporary American Muslim identities, examining such factors as gender, sexuality, race, class, and generational differences within the many smaller national origin and sectarian Muslim communities, including secular Muslims, Sufis, and fundamentalists. Muslims in the United States provides a thorough account of the impact of September 11th on the Muslim community. Before the terrorist attacks, Muslim leaders had been mostly optimistic, envisioning a growing role for Muslims in U.S. society. Afterward, despite a brave show of unity and support for the nation, Muslim organizations became more open in showing their own conflicts and divisions and more vocal in opposing militant Islamic ideologies. By providing a concise summary of significant historical and contemporary research on Muslims in the United States, this volume will become an essential resource for both the scholar and the general reader interested in understanding the diverse communities that constitute Muslim America.
Looking closely at relations between Muslims and their host countries, Abdulkader H. Sinno and an international group of scholars examine questions of political representation, identity politics, civil liberties, immigration, and security issues. While many have problematized Muslims in the West, this volume takes a unique stance by viewing Muslims as a normative, and even positive, influence in Western politics. Squarely political and transatlantic in scope, the essays in this collected work focus on Islam and Muslim citizens in Europe and the Americas since 9/11, the European bombings, and the recent riots in France. Main topics include Muslim political participation and activism, perceptions about Islam and politics, Western attitudes about Muslim visibility in the political arena, radicalization of Muslims in an age of apparent shrinking of civil liberties, and personal security in politically uneasy times.
The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West
From his reporting on Islamic true believers to his descriptions of the postcolonial world, V. S. Naipaul has been a controversial figure in contemporary letters. Winner of the Nobel Prize, Naipaul has traveled throughout the world, looking at its varied cultures and seeking out others' stories, recording and transforming them. His engagement with postcolonial cultures informs his novels, such as Guerrillas and A Bend in the River. However, it is his documentaries (such as Among the Believers and Beyond Belief) and his works that combine actual and fictional histories and memories (Finding the Center, The Enigma of Arrival, and A Way in the World) that best exhibit a growing awareness of the complexities of cultural difference -- and the incompleteness and uncertainty of understanding "strangers." In this book, Dagmar Barnouw explores the sophisticated strategies and experimentations that Naipaul employs in his cultural critique and in his enterprise of learning about and documenting the enduring strangeness of this world.