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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 »

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How Not To Understand ISIS

October 2, 2014  The group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or simply the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, or IS) has attracted much attention in the past few months with its dramatic military gains in Syria and Iraq and with the recent U.S. decision to wage war against it. As analysts are called ...  Read More »

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New Texts Out Now: Abdullah Al-Arian, Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt

Abdullah Al-Arian, Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Abdullah Al-Arian (AA): I began the intellectual journey toward this book over a decade ago. As an undergraduate student, I witnessed how ...  Read More »

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Propaganda, Politics, and Profiteering: Islamic Law in the Contemporary United States

The recent announcement of the establishment of a “caliphate” by the “Islamic State”—also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—has put Islamic law back in the headlines. In the ensuing, polarizing debates, images of violence and extremism are ...  Read More »

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Muhammad Abduh: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“  is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally ...  Read More »

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Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“  is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally ...  Read More »

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ملف من الأرشيف: محمد عبده

"ملف من الأرشيف" هي سلسة تقوم "جدلية" بنشرها بالعربية والإنجليزية بالتعاون مع جريدة ”السفير“ اللبنانية. الملفات لشخصيات أيقونية تركت أثراً عميقاً في الحقل السياسي والثقافي في العالم العربي.]         الإسم: محمد عبده بن حسين خير الله. تاريخ الولادة: ولد محمد ...  Read More »

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The Un-Islamic State

Since the Islamic State (IS) movement seized control of Iraq’s second city of Mosul in early June 2014 it has achieved unprecedented levels of success in Iraq and Syria, seized territory in Lebanon, and expanded to the border regions of most surrounding states. As a result the international community, which had ...  Read More »

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ملف من الأرشيف: محمد جمال الدين الأفغاني

["ملف من الأرشيف" هي سلسة تقوم "جدلية" بنشرها بالعربية والإنجليزية بالتعاون مع جريدة ”السفير“ اللبنانية. الملفات لشخصيات أيقونية تركت أثراً عميقاً في الحقل السياسي والثقافي في العالم العربي.]         الإسم: سيد محمد جمال الدين الأفغاني الشهرة: الحسيني - والده صفدر ...  Read More »

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The Terror Metanarrative and the Rabaa Massacre

Just after dawn prayers on the morning of 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces raided a large sit-in based at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiyya Square and another at al-Nahda Square. Six weeks earlier, military leader and Minister of Defense Abdel Fattah al-Sisi staged a coup to remove Egypt’s first democratically elected ...  Read More »

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Zionism, BDS, and American Muslim Leadership

American Muslims are among the most diverse and heterogeneous national populations of Muslims in the world, made up of many different communities with different histories and priorities, yet American Muslim community leaders regularly refer to American Muslims as a singular community with a shared political agenda. ...  Read More »

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The Informants: Manufacturing Terror

On the surface, the scene unfolds without any hint of intrigue. A young Muslim convert named Darren Griffin meets fellow congregants at a local mosque in northwest Ohio. In addition to sharing the same faith as his new friends, they enjoy similar interests: watching sports, playing video games, working out at the ...  Read More »

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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 of American power and a degree of ...  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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