Most popular on Closer this week:
- Cartoonesque 17: That is (not) funny!
- Nu Online: Zoeken naar een ‘zuivere’ Islam
- Handboek en symposium over jongeren en religie
- I’m honored that my blog Closer is nominated for the Annual Brass Crescent Awards. You can see the full list of nominees and vote at Brasscrescent.org
- If you want to stay updated and did not subscribe yet, you can do so HERE
- If you want to stay updated about the ISIM Review pages I suggest you do subscribe
- You can follow me on Twitter: Martijn5155
Featuring Performing Islam
Performing Islam is the first peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal about Islam and performance and their related aesthetics. It focuses on socio-cultural as well as historical and political contexts of artistic practices in the Muslim world. The journal covers dance, ritual, theatre, performing arts, visual arts and cultures, and popular entertainment in Islam influenced societies and their diasporas. It promotes insightful research of performative expressions of Islam by performers and publics, and encompasses theoretical debates, empirical studies, postgraduate research, interviews with performers, research notes and queries, and reviews of books, events and performances.
BEIJING // When dozens of flights recently took off from China carrying Muslims on the Haj pilgrimage, Zhang Kebao remained at home in Ningxia province, reflecting on the financial impossibility of travelling himself.
Muslim pilgrims dressed in white robes descended in their hundreds of thousands on Mecca for weekly prayers on Friday, two days ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
All streets leading to the grand mosque were crammed with praying pilgrims, with lines stretching back about a kilometre (0.6 mile).
Plazas and corridors of surrounding malls were also crowded with devotees spreading their prayer mats, as were grocery stores which stopped selling for the prayers.
As the departure date neared, Abdellah Hammoudi became increasingly aware that his study of the hajj — the pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca — was also going to confront him with many questions about himself.
A professor of anthropology, Hammoudi was preparing to study the rituals of the hajj from the closest possible viewpoint — as one of the approximately 2 million Muslims who annually travel to Mecca during a set time period in the Islamic calendar.
But he could not visit the spiritual home of Islam without also taking into account his own responses as someone who was raised in Islamic culture in Morocco, but who was not a practicing Muslim.
At least 2.5 million Muslims began the annual haj pilgrimage on Sunday, heading to an encampment near the holy city of Mecca to retrace the route taken by the Prophet Mohammad 14 centuries ago.
Traveling on foot, by public transport and in private cars, the pilgrims will stream through a mountain pass to a valley at Mina, some three km (two miles) outside Mecca. The path is the same as the Prophet himself took on his last pilgrimage.
Writer and performer Sabina England doesn’t let adversity stand in her way. The fiercely feminist creative spoke with Katrina Fox.
14 November 2010
Sabina England is a Deaf, Muslim, feminist playwright who grew up in England and the US.
When she was 21, she landed her first playwrighting opportunity with Kali Theatre, which read her one-act play Chess for Asian Punks, Greek Losers and Dorks at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London.
Her first professional theatrical production was How the Rapist was Born which was produced by Theatre Waah! and Talawa Theatre Company, in association with the Arts Council of England.
In addition to her stage plays, Sabina also writes short stories and screenplays. Her first film Wedding Night will be released in 2011. Sabina has a Youtube channel, on which she performs as VelmaSabina in short videos, such as the controversial Allah Save the Punk, and also makes short experimental feminist videos.
Princess Hijab daubs Muslim veils on half-naked fashion ads on the metro. Why does she do it? Is she a religious fundamentalist? And is she really a woman? Angelique Chrisafis meets the elusive street artist
For over five years, a small group of young Muslim women have been hard at work in Saudi Arabia helping to fight climate change. Naqa’a, the environmental enterprise, was setup with the aim of introducing environmental practices to organizations and spreading Islam’s green message to the masses. The founders of the group were even selected by the White House to participate in the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. Arwa caught up with Norah Magraby, a full-time nurse who manages the organisation in her spare time, to find out more about their work, the biggest issues facing Saudi Arabia and the role that all Muslims must play in protecting the environment.
In an effort to inform the Stanford community about the hijab, the headscarf Muslim women use to cover their hair, students will perform a rendition of “Hijabi Monologues” tonight at 7 in Cubberley Auditorium on campus.
“I’ll be right down,” I yelled into the door buzzer. Racing to the closet and rummaging through my colorful collection of hijabs, I impulsively selected a pink one. “Pink it is!” I said to myself, waving the scarf around in the air as I ran over to the mirror and wrapped it around my hair and tied it up in the back. I slid my feet into my flip flops, grabbed my purse and keys and turned out the light. “IKEA here we come,” I said to Emily as I bounced down the stairs outside my apartment building. “Can we grab some coffee for the bus ride?” I asked her. “Yea, sure. Espresso 77?” she asked. “Is there any other place?”
The next place I found myself was in aisle 20 searching for chairs to match Emily’s kitchen table. Throughout the day I was feeling a growing need to reach up and rip off my hijab. Just like that. Take it off and continue with my day.
The Multiculti Debate
Respecting Muslim Patients’ Needs – NYTimes.com
A woman in her mid-30s wearing a hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering, comes to an urgent care center complaining of leg pain. The first thing she asks: “Are there any woman doctors around?”
In a SPIEGEL interview, Dutch Islam-opponent Geert Wilders discusses his fight for a Koran ban, why German Chancellor Angela Merkel is running scared on the immigration issue and his belief that the Netherlands’ debate over Muslims has now crossed the border into Germany.
The State of Oklahoma overwhelmingly supported Measure 755 in last week’s elections, forbidding the use of international and shari’ah law in state courts. A week earlier, literary theorist Stanley Fish penned a piece for the New York Times exploring the conflicts that emerge when Muslim immigrants to Western nations “evidence a desire to order their affairs, especially domestic affairs, by Shari’ah law rather than by the supposedly neutral law of a godless liberalism.”
Associate Professor of International Affairs Berna Turam, the author of “Between Islam and the State: the Politics of Engagement,” offers insight into the tensions that exist between secular states like Germany and their Muslim populations. Turam teaches in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern University.
What are the political implications of these negative viewpoints toward immigrants, especially Muslims, proliferating throughout Germany?
How a fresh debate on multiculturalism in Germany clashes with the country’s need for more immigrants
Social Media, connections and activism
Anthropology in Practice: Follow Friday and The No Free Lunch Theory
So my former colleague wasn’t too far off in her assessment. According to Mauss’ cycle of reciprocation, gifts come riddled with obligations. Think this is a bit far fetched? We really only need to turn to Twitter on any given Friday to see this played out.
Maclom Gladwell searches for an activist Facebook in his recent New Yorker piece. Guess what? He doesn’t find it. Gladwell isnot the first person to make the observation that Facebook and other social networking platforms are of limited effectiveness in promoting activism. Evegny Morozov makes the important observation that the ease with which Facebook users can express support for a cause and feel they have taken action on that cause inhibits, rather than promotes, social activism.
Talking to the Enemy by Scott Atran – review
Rather than being brainwashed by militant recruiters, terrorists tend to be ordinary people driven by their peer group, argues anthropologist Scott Atran
The essays in “Facts Are Subversive” cover roughly the short first decade of the new century, between the attacks of 9/11 and the election of Barack Obama. The volume begins with what appears to be a new wave of velvet revolutions, in Belgrade and Kiev. Garton Ash was there for each of them, taking in the brief euphoria alongside Serbs and Ukrainians, but these latter-day cases of regime change from within achieved less conclusive and happy outcomes than the earlier ones did. Garton Ash also traveled beyond Europe, to Myanmar, formerly Burma, and Iran, drawn by their impressive opposition movements. In each case, within a few years, non-Western versions of velvet revolution were put down with considerable bloodshed.
The discouraging facts of the past decade don’t lead him to abandon the idea, but they complicate it.
The Tenth Parallel does not consist of dispatches, or of edited versions of already published pieces, but is a collection of anecdotal encounters loosely organized around the idea that the “fault line” between two culture zones is at or near the tenth parallel of latitude. This is really a travel book, rich in local color and authorial presence, poor in its command of sources and as a guide to the history and cultures of the countries it surveys.
Formations and Not a Secularist both approach secularism indirectly by sounding out the oblique tendencies, layered sensibilities, and obscured histories that together incline discourses, communities, and individuals toward or away from certain forms of secularism, which in turn appears as an unstable and mutable formation. To draw questions from this: To what extent is secularism itself an essentially contested concept that is constantly open to reconfiguration? In what ways has the operative significance of secularism shifted in the last ten years? To what extent has it become important to contest or defend new aspects of the secular and new turns of secularism in line with these changes?
Our Brother | Umar Lee
The arrest of Mohamud Abdi Yusuf for alleged financing of a grassroots Somali organization is another trumped up case against an immigrant Muslim for sending money to relatives. Immigrants sending money to less fortunate relatives in their home countries is a long tradition in this country and has not become an issue in our nation’s history until recent times. It should be noted that this comes at a time of heightened Islamophobia in America from opposition to a Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, to the building of a mosque in Tennessee, to the rise of the bigoted Tea Party Movement. Just a short time ago a Muslim cab driver was stabbed in New York City for simply being a Muslim and today a Muslim cab driver in St. Louis is being stabbed by state-sanctioned judicial violence for the alleged crime of being a patriotic Somali.
Video by Fadel Soliman. Read the comments!
A WOMAN, COVERED head-to-toe in a black veil, appeared on Egyptian television this summer to drop a bombshell: two policemen, she said, had raped her.
It’s unclear if she normally wears the niqab, the face veil, or if it served to protect her anonymity. But there was no doubt that her allegation served as a sledgehammer to strike two of Egypt’s sorest spots of late: sexual assault and police brutality.
Today marks the end of the third year of publication of UnderstandingSociety. This is the 481st posting, with prior posts covering a range of themes from “social ontology” to “foundations of the social sciences” to “globalization and economic development.” In beginning this effort in 2007 I had envisioned something different from the kinds of blogs that were in circulation at the time — something more like a dynamic, open-ended book manuscript than a topical series of observations. And now, approaching 500,000 words, I feel that this is exactly what the blog has become — a dynamic web-based monograph on the philosophy of society. It is possible to navigate the document in a variety of ways — following key words, choosing themes and “chapters”, or reading chronologically. And it is also possible to download a full PDF copy of the document up through July, 2010; this will be updated in January 2011.
David Randall and Andrew Johnson in the Independent open their feature article “the axis of terror got bigger yesterday.” Well, not quite. Yemen has been a potential source of terrorist attacks on the West for a large portion of the last decade. The rest of the article is quite good in explaining the dire conditions within Yemen fuelling conflict, but there’s a problem with this:
From the AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science), a holiday t-shirt:
Het politiek debat biedt moslims onvoldoende bescherming tegen discriminerende uitlatingen van Geert Wilders. Wie minderheden wil beschermen, moet naar alle democratische middelen kunnen grijpen, waaronder een gang naar de rechter.
Het COC pleit voor een verbod op het optreden van de Jedi Mind Tricks omdat dat beledigend voor homo’s zou zijn. Ditmaal schaart de stad Amsterdam, in de persoon van de burgemeester, zich achter dit pleidooi voor waarschijnlijk onwettige en zeer zeker onwenselijke censuur.
Wanneer je goed naar Rauw & Puur kijkt, zie je ook dat de meisjes best weten wat er mis is. Dit zijn de interessante momenten voor mensen die werken met deze meiden (leraren, ouders, jeugdzorg): waarom toch dit gedrag vertonen als je weet dat het niet goed is?
De generale synode van de Protestantse Kerk in Nederland (PKN) moet de zogenoemde islamnota nog niet aanvaarden. Eerst moeten kerkelijke partners en moslimsorganisaties worden gevraagd op de nota te reageren.
Vanuit een veiligheidsperspectief is de conclusie dat de streng orthodoxe islam in Nederland geen betrouwbare voorspeller is van extremistische opvattingen: orthodoxie leidt niet automatisch tot extremisme. Het overgrote deel van de Nederlandse moslims past uitstekend in onze democratische samenleving. De streng orthodoxen hebben weliswaar opvattingen die vanuit vele perspectieven onwenselijk zijn en de sociale integratie belemmeren (mannen schudden vrouwen niet de hand, een theocratie is beter dan een democratie en men betreedt geen ruimten waar mannen en vrouwen samen zijn). Deze opvattingen vormen echter op zichzelf geen bedreiging voor de democratische rechtstaat en zijn te vergelijken met de staatsopvatting van de SGP. Wie de streng orthodoxe moslim wil tekenen komt al snel terecht bij een oudere Marokkaanse man die vasthoudt aan zijn streng religieuze denkbeelden, geweld begrijpt, maar het nooit zelf zal toepassen. Een man die door zijn opleiding en inkomenspositie een marginale positie in de Nederlandse samenleving inneemt. Iets geheel anders dan de vaak beschreven jongeren die klaar zouden staan om de Nederlandse democratie en rechtsstaat te ondermijnen.
Stel je bent jong en moslim. Wat betekent het aantreden van het kabinet-Rutte dan voor
jou? Is het een opluchting dat er nadrukkelijk aandacht komt voor thema’s als werk en
veiligheid en dat jongeren die het verpesten voor de rest eindelijk worden aangepakt?
Het klopt – de islam hoort bij Duitsland, maar op een andere manier dan menigeen denkt. Zolang de islam de traditie van de Verlichting ontkent, is er moeilijk onderscheid te maken tussen hem en het islamisme. De dankrede van de sociologe en strijdster voor vrouwenrechten Necla Kelek bij het in ontvangst nemen van de Vrijheidsprijs van de Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung.