Friday, July 18, 2008

When islam and democracy meet

by Jocelyne Cesari

2- "there is a widespread tendency to conflate islm as an intl poll force w/ the ordinary muslims living as a minority population in the countries of the w."
-in 1994, 61% of us said "they consider islmc resurgences to b a danger"

3- "in eurp, poll interest in islmc intgration [in the w.] has existed since the 1980s"

-the term "islamophobia" "emerged as early as 1997 during the discussions in britain on the topic of ainti muslim discrimination"
4-in 1990s eurp anti muslim was only far rt.--now its "intellectual, journalists, writers, and artists"
-4/23/04 a boston radio announcer "called for all muslims to be killed"
--"smae aversion can be found at the highest levels of gov, in statements by the attorney general and by hi-ranking military officers" (SEE PAGE 41)
5-"such anti islmc discourse fails to take into account the fluid and contradictory reality of islms interpretation into w. socities"

why this work is imprtnt: 5- "Existing eurpn and Amer scholarship on muslims often amounts to little more than a description of muslim's modes of adaptation in their new context, accompanied by a critique of the general influence btwn the cultural constructs of the eurpn and muslim worlds. This mutual influence creates a transcultural space in which theories of opposition can give way to a more subtle analysis"
-says Salvatore and Hofert 00 pointed out that "both w. rel and the w. conception of modty have been deeply influenced by the transcultural space btwn eurp and the ME, even during eras in which w. pwers ruled overs the muslm world. The idea of w. culture that emerged with the birth of modty corresponds to a specific poll and cultural situation, in which the w. came to define itself in opposition tot the ottoman e."
-comparing w. idy to muslim other is freq found in 16th ce lit onward, eg in Renaissance orientalist guillaume postel, "often considered the originator of the diablogue btwn islam and xnty"
-"this transcultural moment takes place within the context of G...any understanding of the muslim minority in the w. must, therefore, take the phenomenom of global islma into account as well. onece again, the rist is of taking islm out of context, reducting it to a series of essentialized symbols and principles. in order to break thru the iron cage of stereotypical islmc images and represntations, then, one must consider discursive practices of rel in general and of islm in particular. No rel or culture can be taken as given. instead of trying to discover what constitutes the essential quality of islm, one must examine the social and historical contexts w/in which muslims create their discourse on what is importnt or unimportnt in islm, in their islm"
6-cites asad saying "trad is the conglomeration of discursive practices that allow believers to determine what it correct and meaningful for a given time"
-"avoiding essentializing descriptions means not to assume that meaning is constructed as a unified system, from the intl to the ntl and local level. islm, then, should be considered a conglomeration of discursive practices, situated within the democracies of the w. these discursive practices r not only debates about the content of islmc observance, but also about what it means to observe islm in the first place. the act of going to the mosque, the choice of whether to eat hala or drink wine, to wear the hijab or a miniskirt, all have to do with islmc discourse every bit as much as the discussions taking place in books, in conferences, and on websites. it is necessary to examine how the production of meaning and cultural symbols intersect among diff levels of communication and action--in local, ntl and intl contexts--and to refuse to define these levels a priori"

-" poll and cultural circumstances r transforming islmc practice into a individualized and less public act of well as the acceptance--by the vast silent majority--of the separation btwn public and private space respective to ea society"
-appadurai 96 pts out that "the imagination is now itself a social and cultural force"

7-"...the new context in which muslims find themselves has reulted in an unprecendeted and dramatic series of changes within islm, in terms of both ritual practice and intellectual reflection"

*-"...the situation of muslims in erup and the UUSS should be studied b/c, this evolution does not happen in isolation. it also has dramatic consequences for the ideas and concepts currently circulating in the muslim world. the muslim world's reaction, in 2004, to the fr. proposal to outlaw relus symbols, is a perfect example of the phenomenom of global islm"
-thesis: "in short, our study hopes to demonstrate how the amerztn/erupnztn of islm cannot b dissociated from the space-time of global islm, and the poll crises that go along with it"

the book goes on to give details on how muslim groups and institutions have formed int the west, giving specific facts about the connections they have here and offers theories about muslm idty in the w. and why their institutions have been diff and why they are still influenced by the global muslim world.

a few highlights

10-notes difficulty in getting accurate #s of conversions. it may b due to the fact that #s "vary depending on who's doing the reporting" (allievi les convertis a l'islam)
-a 1994 survey est. 46% of amer muslims were converts

16-5 waves of muslm immigration (not counting slaves)

21-there is a metanarrative in teh w. that descrimbes "islm as a prob or an obstacel to modztn"
-b/c dominant social and cultural environmnts have decisive influence over idy formation, "has forced all muslims from the most secularized to the most devout, to examine their beliefs and think about what it means to b muslim"

24-offers explanation why ethnic ties have proliferated in muslm w.--ghettoization, dvlpment of selfemployment there, the idea pomo that it's good to preserve ethinic idys --as a result, socioeconomic sols cannot simply look at class
42-plus ethnic loyalties have preventd the dvlpmnt of panislmc idys

44-the dvlpmnt in the w. of pols centering on indv rts (as opposed to apols fouced oon the common good), "mark the triumph of a lib prostnt vision of the self (the kantian moral agent) situatied w/in a secularized public arena (seligman 99)--"no similar evolution has taken place int ehmuslim world"--some ppl take this to mean islm is resistant to seculariztn in toto.
-the poltcztn of relus thot is seen as inherent in islm but "has only emerged int the last quarter of the 20th ce as a deliberate policy of post colonial ntns" (khaled abou el fadl 01)
-also, becauz the muslim state has always had a monopoly on interp, it has stunted intllctual growth

45-w. culture has influencd how indvs practice islm in 2 ways 1) indviztn 2) the handling of sharia in crt systems

46-muslims can be divided into 3 types: private praciticionners (w/ a range of ways), non practicing muslims who nonetheless idfy on an ethical or emotional basis, and funds

96-10/20/01 nytimes article est. less than 25% of all mer muslims follw wahabbi doctirne--tho most muslims see wahabbism as "orthodx" b/c of of its proliferation

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