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ISIS and the Islamic Legal Tradition

The Atlantic thinks ISIS is Islamic. President Obama and countless others disagree. As the debate rages on with no shortage of interlocutors, one must stop to ask, what is the utility of making such pronouncements? Is the simple binary of whether ISIS is Islamic or not an effective way to discuss and understand the various questions at stake concerning the Islamic tradition, its authenticity, continuity and change? In response to this basic question, Muslims globally have ...

[Wael Hallaq.]

Wael Hallaq: Knowledge as Politics

Throughout the last three decades, Wael Hallaq has emerged as one of the leading scholars of Islamic law in Western academia. He has made major contributions not only to the study of the theory and practice of Islamic law, but to the development of a methodology through which ...

[Wael Hallaq.]

The Perils of American Muslim Politics

This Ramadan, many American Muslim leaders are anxiously awaiting to hear whether they have made the cut for the annual White House Iftar. An invitation to this iftar, as with similar events the State Department and the Pentagon hold, serves to symbolize recognition in the halls ...

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (March 6 - March 19)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Karine Walther, Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821-1921

Karine Walther, Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821-1921. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.   Jadliyya (J): What made you write this book? Karine Walther (KW): As my parents were both French immigrants to the United States, I have always been interested ...  Read More »

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (January 23- March 5)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup ...  Read More »

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Islam, Muslims, and the Trump World Order

As Muslim communities in the United States and around the world confront the terrifying prospects that a Donald Trump presidency holds for their lives and liberties, a long-simmering conflict within the American political establishment has reached its boiling point. Recent policy debates surrounding the ban on Muslim ...  Read More »

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (December 19 – January 22)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup ...  Read More »

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Beyond Convivencia and Conflict? Reflections on the History and Memory of Andalusian and Ottoman Religious Belonging

The myth of Europa is, at basis, a parable of partition and estrangement. Zeus, camouflaged as a docile white bull, kidnaps the maiden Europa from her homeland in Phoenicia and whisks her away to Crete, where he offers her gifts and succor. Europa enters legend, and then history, by turning her back on her Levantine ...  Read More »

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (December 12-18)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com ...  Read More »

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (December 5-11)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Madawi Al-Rasheed, Muted Modernists: The Struggle Over Divine Politics in Saudi Arabia

Madawi Al-Rasheed, Muted Modernists: The Struggle over Divine Politics in Saudi Arabia (Hurst and Oxford University Press, 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Madawi Al-Rasheed (MA): My interest in Islam and politics in Saudi Arabia has been ongoing for a couple of decades. The project ...  Read More »

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Caliphate, An Idea Throughout History: An Interview with Hugh Kennedy

What is a caliphate? Who can be caliph? What is the history of the idea? How can we interpret and use it today? These are the themes discussed in Hugh Kennedy’s new book, The Caliphate (Pelican Books), which aims to find the long-term historical context for the idea of caliphate. Tracing the history from the choosing ...  Read More »

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Neo-Ottoman Architecture and the Transnational Mosque: An Interview with Kishwar Rizvi

Mosques are enduring architectural and institutional features of Muslim communities throughout the world, and thus it is natural to encounter large mosque complexes that occupy prominent positions within the cityscapes of the Middle East and beyond. Yet among the many historical mosques and buildings in the region’s ...  Read More »

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (May 2016)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com ...  Read More »

Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (March–April 2016)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com ...  Read More »

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Five Years After the Arab Uprisings: An Interview with Asef Bayat

This interview was conducted on the occasion of the publication of the Turkish editions of Asef Bayat’s Making Islam Democratic and Life as Politics (Stanford University Press, 2007 and 2013 respectively), and originally appeared in Cumhuriyet Kitap 1366 (21 April 2016): 14–15. It is a follow-up of our first public ...  Read More »

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The Caliphate Beyond ISIS: An Interview with Salman Sayyid (Part Two)

Contemporary discussions about the concept of the caliphate almost invariably turn to its application at the hands of the Islamic State. Challenging this trend in his recent book, Recalling the Caliphate, Salman Sayyid examines the historical conception of the caliphate and its meaning for Muslim polities. In this ...  Read More »

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Muslims and the Challenge of Historiography: An Interview with Salman Sayyid (Part One)

From the perspective of an increasing number of Muslim intellectuals, discussions around the prospects of Islamic societies charting their own political futures are fraught with pressures to engage in the application of Western liberal (and neo-liberal) values as a means of validating such intellectual projects. Thus, ...  Read More »

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Islamic Reformation?

We keep hearing calls for an “Islamic Reformation,” assumed to be the remedy for a fundamentalist Islam behind the conservative Salafi brand as well as the Jihadist. Islam, under these assumptions, generates problems because it had not been “reformed.” The assumed model is the Christian Reformation of the sixteenth ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Kishwar Rizvi (KR): The idea for this book emerged through my research travels in Europe and the Middle East, where I ...  Read More »

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Hasan al-Turabi and Contemporary Islam

The passing of Dr. Hasan al-Turabi on 5 March 2016 marks the ending of important eras in Muslim political and ideological history. He is hailed by some as a significant articulator of necessary Muslim intellectual renewal and vigorously opposed by others who see him as important in shaping authoritarian dimensions of ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Ward Vloeberghs, Architecture, Power, and Religion in Lebanon

Ward Vloeberghs, Architecture, Power, and Religion in Lebanon: Rafiq Hariri and the Politics of Sacred Space in Beirut. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Ward Vloeberghs (WV): While studying in Beirut in the early 2000s, I witnessed a construction site on the ...  Read More »

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Phoenix Rising from the Ashes? The Internal State of Affairs of the Muslim Brotherhood at the Start of 2016

Today, Egyptians are commemorating the fifth anniversary of the revolution of 2011. It is not yet clear what the outcome of these events will be, but the high level of repression against civil society indicates that the regime is nervous. And this is with good reason: after all, its old rival, the Muslim Brotherhood, ...  Read More »

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ISIS: The 'Islamic State' between Orientalism and the Interiority of MENA’s Intellectuals

Is ISIS all about Islam, or about geopolitics? This dualism has framed the debate about ISIS among Western analysts, especially American ones. They have formed two camps, one sees in ISIS and its practices an irrefutable evidence of the “true face of Islam”; another insists that ISIS has nothing to do with “real ...  Read More »

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Islamophobia Is An American Tradition

When Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson made news recently by questioning whether a Muslim American could (or should) ever become president of the United States, his assertions recalled similar concerns raised by a political supporter of John McCain’s presidency at a rally seven years earlier. “I can’t trust ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Jeanette S. Jouili, Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe

Jeanette S. Jouili, Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Jeanette Jouili (JJ): I began research for this book in 2002, the year after 9/11. The global impact of that event was made ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Moustafa Bayoumi, This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror

Moustafa Bayoumi, This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror. New York: New York University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Moustafa Bayoumi (MB): The War on Terror made me write This Muslim American Life. I believe that the people of the United States aren’t taking ...  Read More »

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (Aug-Sept)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating about Islam and reflects a wide variety of opinions and approaches. It does not reflect the views of the Critical Currents in Islam page or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to cci@jadaliyya.com ...  Read More »

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How Should Rationalists Deal with Dogmatism? The Case of the Birmingham Quran Pages

One of the reasons I do not to write about early Islamic history is that I find it very difficult to manage the constant clash of faith claims and appeals to empirical evidence. When it comes to religion in general, Islam in particular, and the origins of Islam even more specifically, scholars find it difficult ...  Read More »

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Muslims in Quebec, Belonging to an Intercultural Society: An Interview with Charles Taylor

Hicham Tiflati (HT): In my research on identity formation and the sense of belonging of young Muslims in Quebec, I have been finding that most of my participants deny their Quebecness and insist on being only Canadians. However, some of them cannot be anything else but Québécois because of the visible Quebecness in ...  Read More »

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Bringing Our Lost Brethren Back Home: Messianic Zionism, Settler-Colonialism, and the Lost Jews of Kaifeng

The Kaifeng Jews of China–numbering at present some five hundred to one thousand in total–are one of the latest communities to garner the interest of right-wing messianic organizations connected to the settler-colonial movement in Israel. Over the last decade, messianic groups have intensified efforts to encourage the ...  Read More »

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Ramadan 2015 for Uyghurs: Another Crackdown on Islam in China’s Xinjiang

In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), another Ramadan inevitably ushers in an intensified campaign to crack down on the Uyghurs’ religious beliefs, practices, and identity, alongside year-round social, political, and religious restrictions. As in previous years, local Xinjiang authorities have instituted a ...  Read More »

About the Critical Currents in Islam

The Critical Currents in Islam (CCI) Page poses important questions about what makes movements and practices “Islamic,” and critically deconstructs the notion of an eternal, unchanging religion. With this in mind, we also seek to highlight the variation and nuances of these Islamic movements and practices as they occur within communities across the globe. Our goal in designating a space for the study of Islam within Jadaliyya is to examine the ways in which Islam is but one of a multiplicity of factors that interact in the cultivation of political, economic, and sociocultural arrangements, often yielding varied outcomes across the breadth of Islamic societies.

Contact Critical Currents in Islam Page Editors via 
cci@jadaliyya.com

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