Closing the week 17 – Featuring Politics, Religion and the Public Sphere

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  1. Re-inventing Islamic law practices in the Netherlands
  2. BBC Heart and Soul – Muslims in Amsterdam
  3. De toelaatbaarheid van zelfmoordaanslagen
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Featuring Politics, Religion and the Public Sphere
For and against proselytism Jose Casanova« The Immanent Frame

I would like to argue for and against proselytism simultaneously, not because of indecisive avoidance, wanting to both have my cake and eat it too, but because of a recognition of the tension between two goods.

I would like to divide the rationales for and against proselytism into three groups—theological, legal-juridical, and socio-cultural—and to argue both for and against proselytism on each of these grounds.

Proselytism and religious freedom « The Immanent Frame

The distinguishing feature of proselytizing is an aim that typically supervenes upon “ordinary” religious expression. It is an accompanying mental state, or maybe just the unintended effect of bearing witness to the truth of one’s faith. Proselytizing is not an observable form of distinct behavior, and so anti-proselytizing laws are quixotic and notional, or they are certain to sweep up more elemental religious expressions—teaching, preaching, worship—which are eminently deserving of protection. This is enough to establish that these laws are unjust, and no additional evaluative premises would be needed to establish that they would be deemed unconstitutional in any American court.

Muslims in European public spheres and the limits of liberal theories of citizenship Jocelyne Cesari« The Immanent Frame

According to many liberal theories, expressions of religious citizens are acceptable in the public sphere so long as they do not influence formal law-making and are expressed in an appropriate public venue. But the political reality is actually more complex and reveals a narrowing or even complete disappearance of public spaces in which religious expression is possible. Talal Asad explains this contradiction by engaging in a Foucauldian deconstruction of public space. Asad’s approach to secularism is particularly helpful for explaining the current debate on Islam in Europe, though it nonetheless requires some additional nuance and further contextualization.

General election: the politics of God | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian

The demands of different faith groups will be a challenge for the next PM, the more pressing is constitutional renewal is as high on the agenda as we hope

StewartHoover’s Blog

think that these kinds of threats and the impulses behind them are reprehensible and incompatible with modern, enlightened life and culture, and certainly incompatible with American (including all of the Americas, actually) values and the philosophy behind the U.S. Constitution. What is threatened is a crime and should it be attempted or carried out, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and any defense based on religion or religious offense should be inadmissible on its face (need I mention the Scott Roeder case here?). I also think the fundamental rights of the media are essential to a free democracy. OK?

Now, to the nuance. It seems to me that to understand the struggle over the depiction of the Prophet in U.S. media, we have to think about a number of dimensions and contexts. These will be the themes of my essay, and you can expect them to be developed in more depth there.

Black Omission » Blog Archive » Race, Religion, Anthropology and The World

I’m always curious about issues of race and religion. Heck, add politics and you’ve got the trifecta of “what not to discuss in mixed company.” My desire to understand goes deeper than that, so with that in mind I contacted an old professor of mine in order to take another step toward understanding or a certain inner peace, I haven’t decided yet.

The Legality of Intellectual Property Rights under Islamic Law | Digital Islam

Intellectual property rights are not regulated by Islamic law and jurisprudence per se. The issue is whether the principles of Islamic law can be constructed in a way to provide support for such protection. This paper assesses the extent to which Islamic law and its sophisticated tools have an impact on the protection of intellectual property. First it presents Shar?’a’s main sources; the Qur’an, the Sunna, Ijma and Qiyas and explains how many principles derived therefrom can accommodate intellectual property protection. It also sets out hurdles that have the potential to circumscribe such protection. Then it moves on to consider the effect of secondary sources. The following section examines the dynamics of interpretation of Islamic law over history and explores the impact that Shar?’a has on the enactment of legislation of modern governments. The concluding section briefly considers some tensions between the Western and the Islamic view on intellectual property and the role of economics within Islamic law and society. The arguments presented in this paper reveal that a Shar?’a based system is flexible and adaptable and that this flexibility is to be used in order to face economic reality.

European Courts’ Authority Contested? The Case of Marriage and Divorce Fatwas On-line | Digital Islam

This article explores Islamic websites providing normative content for European Muslim minorities. It focuses on four distinct Sunni websites and analyzes their fatwas, i.e. legal and religious recommendations issued in matters related to family law. Drawing from a broader research of more than 450 fatwas, this article presents the various ways, in which Muslim authorities associated with these sites deal with the conflicting areas between Islamic law and European legal systems. Essentially, it argues that the Internet and information and communication technology create new public spheres where different, and oftentimes conflicting, concepts of coexistence between Islam and the State are negotiated. Moreover this article demonstrates how these concepts are later incorporated into existing legal frameworks through the institutions of arbitration and marriage contracts. At the same time it explores the underlying rationale behind the fatwa-issuing websites, which emphasize the role of the individual and promote voluntarily adherence to Islamic law. On a more general level, this article aims to provide case studies on how technology redefines the politics of religious authority.

The Edge of Violence: A Radical Approach to Extremism : Euro-Islam: News and Analysis on Islam in Europe and the United States

The path into terrorism in the name of Islam is often described as a process of radicalization. But to be radical is not necessarily to be violent. Violent radicals are clearly enemies of liberal democracies, but non-violent radicals might sometimes be powerful allies.

This report is a summary of two years of research examining the difference between violent and non-violent radicals in Europe and Canada. It represents a step towards a more nuanced understanding of behavior across radicalized individuals, the appeal of the al-Qaeda narrative, and the role of governments and communities in responding.

Re-imagining European Identity Politics and the Social Integration of Muslims : Euro-Islam: News and Analysis on Islam in Europe and the United States

In this timely work, Alexander Castilla deconstructs the myth of the so-called clash of Islam and democracy, and examines the forces involving the social integration and religious accommodation of Muslims in Catalonia, Spain during the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and the March 11, 2004 terrorist attacks in Spain. In adapting to the pressures of globalization and to their own religiously plural, yet increasingly secular society, the Catalans sought to strike a delicate balance between the accommodation and integration of Muslims, while building on Catalonia’s nation building project which focused on the historical continuity of Catalan language and culture.

Re-imagining European Identity Politics and the Social Integration of Muslims defines how the claims of immigrant Muslims influence the ongoing construction of a Catalan national identity. It also explores the primary demands for religious accommodation which Muslims sought in the beginning of the 21st century and why it is necessary to separate political and religious powers. Looking at the role of Muslim religious leaders in the context of secular society is of particular significance because the contemporary issues surrounding the separation of politics and religion is far from being resolved not only in Catalonia, but also in greater Spain and in other European countries with significant Muslim communities such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and France.

Re-imagining European Identity Politics and the Social Integration of Muslims represents the first comprehensive study in English about the social integration of Muslims living in Catalonia and combines an historical, socio-political and philosophical analysis about Islam and democracy and contributes to the literature on peace and security studies, as well as to studies of migration, citizenship and nationalism.

Al Jazeera English – Europe – Belgian politicians pass veil ban

Belgian politicians have voted overwhelmingly to ban the wearing of full face veils in public.

Traffic Stop Fuels French Debate Over The Burqa : NPR

What started as a simple traffic ticket has now escalated into a national political drama in France. At issue are individual liberties, Islamic dress and polygamy — and it’s a combination that could prove helpful to President Nicolas Sarkozy and his efforts to pass a law that would ban the full Islamic veil in all public places.

Özkan’s crucifix ban call stirs uproar in Germany – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

The oath-taking ceremony of Germany’s first minister of Turkish heritage was clouded by a controversy over her call for a ban on Christian crucifixes in state schools.

Aygül Özkan, the 38-year-old daughter of a Turkish immigrant family, is expected to be sworn in as Social Affairs Minister in Lower-Saxony on Tuesday. However, she now finds herself subject to criticism even within her own party ranks after calling for a ban on religious symbols in schools.

French Muslim communities torn over potential veil ban –

Muslims in the Arab world are incensed and Muslims in France are walking a delicate line after President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed for an all-out ban on full Islamic veils.

“Ridiculous” and “misplaced,” said a Muslim vendor Thursday at an outdoor market in a working class, ethnically mixed Paris suburb. “Racist,” said a Sunni Muslim cleric in Lebanon.

The rector of the Muslim Institute of the Paris Mosque, however, held off on harsh criticism, saying only that any ban should be properly explained, and noting that the Qur’an does not require women to cover their bodies and faces.

Most French want burqa law, but not total ban

Two-thirds of French people want a law limiting the use of face-covering Islamic veils such as the niqab and the burqa, with only a minority backing the government’s plan for a complete ban, a poll showed Saturday.

Respect candidate spearheads quiet revolution to get Muslim women involved in politics | Politics |

Not afraid to speak her mind, Salma Yaqoob is well aware that she is a challenge to traditional Muslim political culture

‘South Park’ Mohammed issue sparks debate among Muslims – This Just In – Blogs

Blogger Bilal el-Houri is agnostic but he grew up in a Muslim family in the mostly Muslim region of the Middle East. He said, “My first thoughts on the episode were “haha!”, but then I realized how deep and complicated this issue is.” – “Full Equality before the Law for All Religions”

French political scientist Olivier Roy is one of the foremost European experts on Islam. His new book, “Holy Ignorance. When Religion and Culture Diverge”, will soon be published in English. Eren Güvercin spoke with Roy about the current Islam debate in Europe

Discrimination Against Muslims | Threat to South Park Creators

Infidels of the world, lend me your ears! We the Coburg Jihad, representing every Muslim in the galaxy, wish to warn The Footy Show against depicting the prophet Muhammad as having any involvement in the Melbourne Storm salary cap affair.

Arts and Fashion
The Infidel – (Via ‘Religion with a comic touch‘)
New Novelist G. Willow Wilson Takes Flight with ‘Butterfly Mosque’ – elan: The Guide to Global Muslim Culture

G. Willow Wilson is a comic book author, a novelist, an essayist, and a former journalist. And if that wasn’t enough, she is also the author of the soon-to-be-released autobiography, Butterfly Mosque, story of a young North American’s conversion to Islam and her ensuing romance with an Egyptian man. Willow recently took some time out of her schedule to speak to elan about her passion for comic books (check out Willow’sAir series and Vixen!) and her upcoming memoir.

Muslim swimsuits bare little on Turkish catwalks –

This is not your typical fashion show. The show is highlighting Islamic women’s clothing — even though very few of the models working here are Muslim.

“Listen, I’m coming from Venezuela [where] we are always walking in shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops. Not afraid to show it. But here it’s totally different,” said Cristina Buderacky, a model who stood more then six feet tall in a peach-colored lycra outfit that resembled a pair of long-sleeved pyjamas with blousy trousers.

In Istanbul, Islamic clothing for women combines modesty with high fashion –

At an Istanbul fashion show befitting Paris or Milan, Islamic clothing designers show off apparel for women that combines modesty with high fashion.

Coffee as it was Served A Thousand Years Ago « Comestibles

The Oromo ethnic group of Ethiopia are thought to be among the first humans to consume coffee. However, they did so in a very different way than we do now. In nature, the coffee tree produces a reddish-purple fruit called a coffee cherry or berry. At its center is found a seed. Modern processing strips away the fruit and then ferments and roasts the remaining seed, which becomes the coffee beans you buy at your local shop.

Consider » Blog Archive » Should Anthropologists be a Part of Military Operations?

S enators, I appreciate your letting me, an anthropologist, relate my views on the U.S. government’s strategy and efforts to counter violent extremism and radicalization and the military’s role in these efforts. I’ve been with would-be martyrs and holy warriors from Morocco’s Atlantic shore to Indonesia’s outer islands, and from Gaza to Kashmir. My field experience and studies in diverse cultural settings inform my views.

Jewish-Muslim Relations: Using Qur’anic Narratives in Pursuit of Peace : Euro-Islam: News and Analysis on Islam in Europe and the United States

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf maintains that religion holds one of the keys to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While religion is not the primary problem in Israel-Palestine, Rauf says, it is a primary part of the solution

An ideological split at the heart of Islam | Mahmoud Delkhasteh | Comment is free |

The current situation in Iran is both a result of and response to a complex combination of socio-political repression and economic corruption. But it is expressed through a range of different discourses – nationalist and leftist, to be sure – but most significantly by different Islamic discourses that read the uprising as a struggle between an Islam of power, represented by Iran’s ruling regime, and an Islam of freedom, represented by many Muslim thinkers who oppose it.

This tension has theological and philosophical roots that can be traced back centuries, particularly through debates over the meaning of tawhid. The interpretation of this theological concept is a critical distinction between the systems of “power-based” and “freedom-based” Islam. In power-based Islam, tawhid signifies a monotheistic belief in which God is regarded as an omnipotent being who cultivates a master-slave relationship with believers. Fear is the defining characteristic of this belief, which links the most powerful to the most powerless in a relationship of obedience. People have no “rights” in this system; all that exists is their “duty”. In this version of tawhid, believers are thus understood to be duty-oriented beings who can touch the gates of heaven only by obeying religious authorities, the only ones deemed capable of deciphering God’s word, and by fulfilling duties as defined by these authorities.

The struggle of being a woman journalist in Saudi Arabia | Menassat

The difficulties women journalists face in reporting an event in Saudi Arabia illustrates the wider difficulties experienced by women in the Kingdom. It starts with the press release. They arrive in abundance announcing outside events, seminars or conferences.

Middle East News | Egypt mufti sanctions mingling of the sexes

A simmering controversy among religious scholars in Saudi Arabia on whether sex segregation is permissible in Islam spilled over into Egypt, where the country’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa has thrust his voice behind moderates sanctioning mixed gender environments.

Vragen die je moslims niet moet stellen – Wij Blijven Hier!: Het schrijversplatform van moslims

Wie zegt dat er geen domme vragen zijn? Gisteren vroegen wij op onze facebookpagina welke vragen/opmerkingen richting moslims echt niet meer kunnen anno 2010. Gewoon, om te zien hoe het ervoor staat in NL. De reacties waren veelzeggend. Conclusie: Het blijft nog steeds hangen bij hoofddoeken, uithuwelijken, vasten, bekeren, bier, varkens en Joden. Blijkbaar is het weer tijd om de oude vertrouwde reeks ‘Islam voor dummies’ te hervatten.

Amnesty buigt mee | De Dagelijkse Standaard

Thomas van der Dunk schreef in de Volkskrant: « Het is de kern van de westerse samenleving dat wij mensen als zelfstandige individuen beschouwen die niets te verbergen hebben en dus ook als zodanig met hun gezicht herkenbaar moeten zijn”. Inderdaad. Vrije burgers moeten in onze samenleving elkaar recht in het gezicht kunnen kijken. Boerka’s en nikaab’s zijn in hun aard dus onverenigbaar met onze liberale, westerse samenleving. De boerka als voorportaal van maatschappelijke uitsluiting moet wat mij betreft resoluut de pas worden afgesneden. En orthodoxe mannen die dat voor (hun) vrouwen voorstaan eveneens. Een boerkaverbod maakt duidelijk : tot hier en niet verder. Het maakt duidelijk dat dergelijk ingrijpend en vergaand onaangepast gedrag in ons land niet thuis hoort. En niet wordt getolereerd.

Maar al deze argumenten zijn aan Amnesty kennelijk niet besteed. Ik betreur dat zeer.

Weblog Anja Meulenbelt » Acht vooraanstaande moslims op de tv

Het wordt zo vaak beweerd: er is geen ‘verlichting’ onder de moslims, er is geen Voltaire in de islam, islam en vrouwenemancipatie zijn met elkaar in strijd, de islam vernieuwt zich niet, kan zich niet aanpassen. Luister eens naar een aantal vooraanstaande moslims. De Nederlandse Islamitische Omroep presenteert een serie met een aantal interessante mensen, Asma Barlas en Nasr Abu Zayd heb ik al eens ontmoet en horen spreken (hier en hier), van Reza Aslan heb ik het boek gelezen Geen god dan God, (hier) en naar de anderen kijk ik uit.

Stereotypen over Islam en Moslims « Pure Islam

Maar wanneer een Moslim een fout begaat of mensen op een slechte manier behandelt, zeggen mensen ”Islam is de reden”!

Zonder naar de Islam zelf te kijken geloven mensen wat de media zeggen.

Maar vraag wat de Heilige Koran zegt!

Spoeddebat over Islamconferentie –

De Tweede Kamer wil een spoeddebat met minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin (Justitie) over een conferentie eind mei in Amsterdam over de toekomst van de islam in Nederland.

Moslims boos over Belgisch boerkabesluit | al-Iemaan

Moslims in België hekelen het aankomende boerkaverbod in het land. Ze geloven niet in het argument dat het verbod nodig is om veiligheidsredenen. Ze stellen dat het bedoeld is om moslims aan te pakken.

Hoezo geen hoofddoek? – Opinie – de Volkskrant

Een waarlijk vrij burger eist zijn rechten, dus moslims ook

De focus van het neopaternalistische integratiedebat, lijkt de laatste tijd te verschuiven van de vermeende radicalisering van jongeren, naar de zichtbare islam. Met name de hoofddoek (niet te verwarren met hijab) is hierin onderwerp van gesprek. Dit debat kent helaas een aantal uitgangspunten die vooral berusten op onwetendheid, Herrenmentaliteit en slavenmentaliteit.

Plaatsvervanger van God – Opinie – de Volkskrant

Fijn, die mannen die precies weten wat God heeft bedoeld voor vrouwen
Wanneer mannen zich beginnen te bemoeien met het hoofddoekendebat kun je als vrouw net zo goed je biezen pakken. Neem nou student politicologie Izz ad-Din Ruhulessins kolderiek aandoende bijdrage van 22 april: ‘Hoezo geen hoofddoek?’

Loop naar de hel met je integratie – Opinie – de Volkskrant

Jonge moslims zijn staatsburgers van Nederland. Het is ons land, we zijn mede-eigenaars. Wij bepalen zelf wat we een positieve bijdrage vinden

Strengholt: Graag ook boerkaverbod in Nederland

Maar het hoort bij normale omgangsvormen in Nederland dat je met zichtbaar gezicht in het openbaar verschijnt. Dat schept in de omgang een vorm van gelijkwaardigheid waar de samenleving recht op heeft.

In een samenleving mag je eisen aan elkaar stellen die nodig zijn om de samenleving in stand te houden. Beleefdheidsvormen bijvoorbeeld. De boerka is een felle overtreding van onze norm dat je elkaar in het gezicht kunt kijken als je elkaar ontmoet of spreekt. Een masker met carnaval is een ander verhaal. In die sociale context vindt iedereen een masker normaal. De burqa binnen de moskee, ook prima, in die sociale context wordt het normaal gevonden. Waar het om gaat, is de publieke ruimte.

Bismillaahi Ar-Rahmaani ar-Raheem: Betreffende het zeggen van: Allaah de Almachtige, heeft de Waarheid gesproken ‘Sadaqa Allaahoe l-‘Adiem’


“Als ik eindig met het lezen van een gedeelte van de Qor’aan, mag ik dan het volgende zeggen: “Allaah de Almachtige, heeft de Waarheid gesproken (Sadaqallaahoel-Adhiem)”?”

GREENNEWS » Blog Archive » – Groene Moslims

Halal is niet voor iedereen halal genoeg. De nieuw opgerichte stichting Groene Moslims presenteert voor het eerst in Nederland: Biologisch Halal Vlees. De gedachte erachter? De Islam heeft niet alleen voorschriften voor het moment van slachten, maar vanaf het begin van het leven van het dier wat terecht zal komen op uw bord. Een beetje overdreven of van essentieel belang? Het is in ieder geval een nieuwe stap voor moslims in Nederland en uiteraard was erbij.

’Bangheid kan tot stemmen aanzetten’ – Trouw

Bange kiezers stemmen eerder op de PVV dan kiezers zonder vrees. „Het is de vraag of die gevoelens terecht zijn en of een stem op Wilders helpt”, zegt filosofe Mariëtte Willemsen.

The Max Pam Globe » Het merk “kerk”

“De rooms-katholieke kerk heeft dringend een betere communicatiestrategie nodig”, las ik in het dagblad Trouw. Waarna een lang artikel volgt over de angstige politiek van het Vaticaan om het kindermisbruik zoveel onder de zwarte rok te houden. De kerk zou opener moeten worden en de paus is de enige die “het merk kerk” zou kunnen redden.

Het is de vraag of dat wel juist is. Jan Cremer placht altijd te zeggen: “Het geeft wat ze over me schrijven, als ze maar over me schrijven”. Soms zei hij erbij: “Als ze mijn naam maar goed spellen”.

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