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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 »

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Beyond Blame: Troubling the Semiotic Ideology of Muslim Passion

In the months following the tragic murders at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery in Paris, reactions to the attacks predictably gravitated toward two polar positions. Pundits and politicians in Western Europe and North America—almost entirely non-Muslim—deplored not only the ...  Read More »

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ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (March-April 2015)

[Editorial Note: This is not a "Best of," only a roundup of significant pieces. See here for an introduction to this roundup series]  English Articles        ISIS Threatens Twitter Founder And Employees Over Blocked Accounts (1 March 2015) David Mack reports ...  Read More »

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Olivier Roy on Laicite as Ideology, the Myth of 'National Identity' and Racism in the French Republic

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Professor Olivier Roy, Head of the Mediterranean Program at the European University Institute discusses the development of the concept of laicite in France, from its emergence as a tool for the management of diversity, to its rebranding as an ideology of exclusion. In this ...  Read More »

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Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat's Egypt: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Abdullah Al-Arian and Anthony Alessandrini

Abdullah Al-Arian, a founding editor of Jadaliyya's Critical Currents in Islam page, discusses his new book, Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat's Egypt, and how it speaks to popular Islamic activism in Egypt today. The interview below includes three parts that you can click on separately. Abdullah ...  Read More »

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Event--ISIS: Origins and Illusions (14 April, Princeton University)

Princeton Middle East Society invites you to a panel discussion: ISIS: Origins and Illusions Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 4:30 p.m. Computer Science Building (Room 104) Princeton University, Princeton, NJ Co-sponsored by The Mamdouha S. Bobst center for Peace and Justice Distinguished Panelists Chris Hedges: ...  Read More »

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ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (January-February 2015)

[Editorial Note: This is not a "Best of," only a roundup of significant pieces. See here for an introduction to this roundup series]    English Articles        2014: The Year ISIS Won the Propaganda Battle (31 December 2014) Markham Nolan writes about the ...  Read More »

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NEWTON in Focus: Critical Studies of Islam

Since September 2001, the term “Islam” has proliferated throughout Western media and popular culture. In recent months, there has been a particular level of hysteria to media and cultural discourses surrounding “Islam” in the West. Reports on ISIS, including debates about whether ISIS is “really” Islamic or not really ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Joseph A. Massad, Islam in Liberalism

Joseph A. Massad, Islam in Liberalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Joseph Massad (JM): I had been thinking for a while about a different book, namely one that traces genealogically the transformation in the semantic uses of the term “Islam” since the ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy

Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Jonathan A.C. Brown (JB): Through my teaching and public speaking, I got the sense that there was a need for a book that ...  Read More »

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Beyond Authenticity: 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 ...  Read More »

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Do Muslims Belong in the West? An Interview with Talal Asad

In this discussion, Talal Asad identifies the problematic ways in which the presence of Muslim communities in Western contexts has been characterized in response to outbreaks of violence such as the recent events in Paris. Asad argues that many of the critiques to which Muslims are subjected, namely their dependence ...  Read More »

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ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (November-December 2014)

[Editorial Note: This is not a "Best of," only a roundup of significant pieces. See here for an introduction to this roundup series] English Articles        ISIS threatens the Islmaili capital of Syria (30 October 2014) The fear of ISIS continues to haunt the local ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Isabelle Werenfels, Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics

Isabelle Werenfels, "Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics." The Journal of North African Studies 19.3 (2014). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Isabelle Werenfels (IW): It is a mélange of reasons. First and foremost, I was struck by how little ...  Read More »

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The Islamic State: The Fear of Decline?

Following a series of military setbacks, Dabiq—the propaganda magazine of the Islamic State (IS)—is issuing calls for the unity of followers to compensate for the dwindling number of its fighters. Through its powerful media apparatus, IS states its ambitions. The Islamic State has shown great capabilities on the ...  Read More »

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From Raqqa to Derna: Exceptionalism in Expansionism

In early November, militants affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took full control of the Libyan city of Derna, festooning government buildings with the familiar flag bearing the shahada and celebrating their victory over their opponents within the city. A coastal settlement of around 100,000, less ...  Read More »

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The Poverty of Moral Answers to Political Questions: On Perceptions of Islam in the Wake of ISIS

Recent weeks and months have witnessed a frustrated sense of déjà vu on the part of many Islamic Studies scholars in North America and  Western Europe. In the wake of 11 September 2001, scholars of Islam were frequently called upon to explain the marginality of al-Qa'ida’s bellicose interpretation of the sources ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Edmund Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam

Edmund Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?  Edmund Burke III (EB): Ever since my first book, Prelude to Protectorate in Morocco: Pre-colonial Protest and ...  Read More »

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Critical Currents in Islam Media Roundup (October)

[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 »

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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