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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 in what constitutes “American identity” and the history of how religious, ethnic and “racial” differences have been dealt with in the United States. After I finished my BA at the University of Texas, Austin, I pursued a Masters in France, where I studied the experiences of second and third generation French Muslim women. In the process, I learned quite a ...

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Interview with Taraneh Hemami

[Source: Bulletin, a Theory of Survival Publication, by Taraneh Hemami, 2015.]

Taraneh Hemami is a San Francisco-based artist and arts educator whose work is known internationally. Born in Tehran, Hemami emigrated to the the United States to attend college in 1978. Roula Seikaly spoke with the artist about the publication entitled Bulletin, its relationship to Hemami’s ongoing collaborative project Theory of Survival, and the potential for archives to influence past, present, and future narratives. Roula Seikaly (RS): Let's talk about Bulletin. It’s form is fascinating. The two essays, the body of the publication itself, is a beautifully visualized timeline of Iranian history set within a larger context of world history, particularly twentieth ...

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

[Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara. Image by 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 oldest cities, there are also buildings of surprisingly recent provenance and many old sites with newly renovated interiors and facades, such as the Blue Mosque in downtown Beirut or the Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara. These buildings are examples of what Kishwar Rizvi calls “the transnational mosque,” a particular place of worship constructed by nation states of ...

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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 by Saturday night of every week.] Islam in the Americas Muslim Student Association Hosts Islam Awareness Week The MSA at San Francisco State University hosted an Islam Awareness Week on campus in order to increase the level of literacy around issues of Islamophobia and Muslim beliefs and practices. The event provided a safe environment for individuals to ...

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Hasan al-Turabi and Contemporary Islam

[Hassan Al-Turab. Image via Wikipedia]

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 what many identify as Political Islam. His long career as both a political activist and a modernist religious intellectual reflected and shaped major trends in the Muslim world for more than half a century. Both the intellectual and the political dimensions of his work are important in remembering his life. Much of the attention that Hasan al-Turabi ...

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

[Cover of Ward Vloeberghs,

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 corner of Martyrs’ Square. Back then, contrasting rumors circulated as to what exactly was emerging on this central location, and who was in charge of the project. I became intrigued by this saga, and decided to trace the origins of the construction process once I received funding for my PhD project. By then, the Muhammad al-Amin Mosque had been almost ...

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A Muslim Future to Come?

[This article was first published on Public Books.]  Michel Houellebecq, Submission. Translated from the French by Lorin Stein. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015. The devastating attacks of 13 November on Paris’s tenth and eleventh arrondissements viciously targeted the “progressive” heart of the city. When I am there, that is where I live. Like many other inhabitants and observers, I find it difficult to comprehend why the militants assaulted this historically working-class, vibrant, multicultural, and youthful neighborhood—admittedly often characterized as gentrifying and “bobo”—and not the manicured and touristy “beaux quartiers” to the ...

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كُلفة العنف: المُكوّن الاجتماعيّ للحركات الإسلامية في مصر

شهدت مصر في الآونة الأخيرة  تصاعداً غير مسبوق في أحداث العنف المادي المتبادل، فمجازر الدولة تجاه الإسلاميين بشكل خاص والاعتقالات العشوائية لما يزيد عن أربعين ألف شخص حسب التقارير، والممارسات السلطوية ضد كافة خصوم النظام المصري الحالي، والحملات الأمنية الشرسة التي بلغت ذروتها بتهجير مئات الأسر وتدمير آلاف المنازل في شرق رفح ومدينة الشيخ زويد، هذا من ناحية ، ومن ناحية أخرى، القدرات العسكرية الصادمة وغير المسبوقة لتنظيم "ولاية سيناء " والتي مكّنت التنظيم "الداعشي" من مهاجمة خمسة عشر موقعاً عسكريًا مصرياً في سيناء في توقيت واحد، في الأول من يوليو 2015، وهو أمر غير مسبوق في تاريخ العسكرية المصرية. ومن جانب ثالث، تتزامن هذه الأحداث مع عمليات عنف ...

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Can Total War in the Middle East Be Prevented?

[Aleppo after aerial bombardments in 2012. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

Three weeks ago, Russia started to directly intervene in Syria. The proxy war between Russia and Iran on the one hand, and the United States and Saudi Arabia on the other, threatens to turn into an actual war. Having lost control over its “victories” in the last fourteen years, the United States would rather keep this a proxy war. Nevertheless, it is not clear how long it can permit Russian galloping in what was once simply and only America’s backyard. Russia, long denied a major role in the Middle East, aggressively inserts itself in the equation. A crony capitalism that has no hope of catching up with the West through peaceful means chooses to raise the stakes. It is ...

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Syria Media Roundup (August 5)

[Image of a Syrian Kurdish sniper looking at the rubble in the city of Kobani. Image by AP Photo]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Syria and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Syria Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Monday night of every week.] Inside Syria  Coalition must seek a common goal in Syria As the anti-ISIS coalition now turns attention to Syria, Hassan Hassan claims that the way to defeat the them starts in Aleppo.  Displaced refused entry to Lattakia, regime orders return to fight Civilians that have fled al-Ghab are prohibited from entering the coastal region ...

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Daoud’s Camus Fanfiction Is More of the Same

Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation. Translated by John Cullen. New York: Other Press 2015. Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud’s debut novel The Meursault Investigation, recently translated into English, retells the story of Albert Camus’s The Stranger from the point of view of Harun, the brother of the unnamed Arab that Camus's hero, Meursault, murders. The Meursault Investigation has garnered great praise in American media, sparking multiple articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and New Yorker. The portrait we are left with in all of these profiles is the same: Daoud is a brave writer, taking Camus to task for his blind spots (while still paying ...

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The Rise and Fall of Abu ‘Iyadh: Reported Death Leaves Questions Unanswered

[Sayfallah ‘Omer bin Hussayn’s first public appearance as Abū ‘Iyāḍ, at Manouba University, December 2011. Image from Ansar al-Sharia's former Youtube channel]

On 2 July 2015, Mosaïque FM, the largest radio station in Tunisia, reported that Sayfallah ‘Omer bin Hussayn al-Tunisi (al-Tunisi), also known as Abu ‘Iyadh, had been killed in a US led airstrike targeting former Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) commander Mokhtar al-Mokhtar. No sources were attributed to this announcement. But two days later, the New York Times confirmed the information, this time with unnamed sources. Mosaïque FM promptly published the news that the New York Times had confirmed its report. As with al-Mokthar, whom the Algeria

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أسئلة الاستشراق الجديد ودوره في صناعة كراهية الإسلام في كتاب جديد لفخري صالح

أسئلة «الاستشراق الجديد» ودوره في صناعة «كراهية الإسلام» في كتاب جديد لفخري صالح صدر حديثًا عن "الدار العربية للعلوم" في بيروت، كتاب «كراهية الإسلام: كيف يصور الاستشراق الجديد العرب والمسلمين» للناقد والمترجم الفلسطيني/ الأردني فخري صالح، والذي يتناول في محتواه (المقدّمة، وفصوله الثلاثة الأساسية، والملاحق)، كيفية تقديم الخطاب الغربي للإسلام، من خلال ثلاثة نماذج تتمثّل بما كتبه ثلاثة من المفكرين الغربيين عن العالم الإسلامي وخطر المسلمين وديانتهم على الغرب، وهم المستشرق البريطاني - الأميركي ...

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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 of the first caliph, Abu Bakr, in the immediate aftermath of the Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, through the orthodox (Rashidun) caliphs (632-661), the Umayyads (661-750), the Abbasids ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (June 22)

  [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Turkey and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Turkey Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Sunday night of every week.] English Prime Minister Davutoglu’s Resignation What is Happening in Turkey? Writing for Daily Sabah, Fahrettin Altun explains that soon-to-be-former-Prime Minister Davutoğlu ...

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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 century, the Protestant reformers, Luther, Calvin, and their followers. Informed writers on religion and history have pointed out the problematic nature of these suppositions, with regard to ...

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New York Event--The Fall of the Turkish Model: How the Arab Uprisings Brought Down Islamic Liberalism (March 1 @ 12.30pm)

The Fall of the Turkish Model: How the Arab Uprisings Brought Down Islamic Liberalism New Book by Cihan Tuğal (Verso, 2016) Date and Time: Tuesday, March 1, 12:30 pm - 1:30pm Location: The Hagop Kevorkian Center, 255 Sullivan Street, New York University Tuğal's masterful explication of the demise of Islamic liberalism brings in Egypt and Tunisia, once seen as the most likely followers of the Turkish model, and provides a path-breaking examination of their regimes and Islamist movements, as well as ...

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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 [President Barack] Obama,” Gayle Quinnell told McCain, “I’ve read about him . . . and he’s an Arab.” Whether she meant Arab or Muslim, two identities often conflated in American ...

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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 evident in Europe as the media and European scholars increasingly scrutinized the activities and affiliations of young European-born Muslims, many of whom were adopting more visible and orthodox ...

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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 sufficient notice of how much the War on Terror is structuring contemporary life, both in this country and abroad. Muslim Americans will feel differently. We have been subjected to sweep arrests ...

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حزن مستيقظ إلى الأبد

[تنشر هذه المادة ضمن ملف " الموجة الجديدة في الشعر السوري  ( أثر الحرب )" انقر/يهنا لمواد الملف الكاملة]              -1- سنعتادُ الأمر؛ /اعذر وقاحتي / المصافحة حركةٌ تافهة؛ ودمي مازال قلقاً مذ ذهب آخر جنديّ الى الحرب ولم يعد . البرودة ليست من شيمي، أسلّي نفسي بتربية الشتائم في غياب العاطفة، والرسالة الثالثة، قد مزقتها . سأندم؛ الندم أمرٌ ضروريّ، أمرٌ مسلٍّ أيضاً، ولكن-هذ

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Three Theses on ISIS: The Universal, the Millenarian, and the Philistine

The ruthless brutality of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) unfolds before our eyes on the screens. As commentators struggle to explain and understand it, it becomes convenient to revive old Orientalist tropes. Beyond the spectacular brutality, the reason that ISIS invites attention (both fascination and fear) is that it seems easy to fit in confrontational narratives of Islam (us v. them, anti-American, etc.). Muslims are clearly angry at something. In his infamous article “The ...

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تدمر، واحة للظلام

تعرضت تدمر منذ مدة لغزوة بربرية في وقت قياسي، وتردد صدى الخبر في أنحاء سوريا والعالم لأن تدمر تتمتع بشهرة خاصة كونها رمزاً ثقافياً وحضارياً، ونظراً لموقعها الجغرافي الذي جعل منها في الأزمنة القديمة محطة لطرق القوافل بين سوريا وبلاد ما بين النهرين، ولتاريخها العريق المتداخل مع تواريخ متجاوزة للحدود المحلية، ونظراً لثرواتها المعدنية والنفطية ولموقعها الحساس في الصراع الحالي. إلا أننا يجب ألا نركز على تدمر وننسى غيرها، فهي لا تختلف كثيراً عن المدن السورية الأخرى، ومسكونة بالبشر كالرقة ودير الزور ...

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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 ban on Ramadan fasting this year for Uyghur civil servants and students, prohibited mosque attendance for Uyghurs under eighteen years of age, monitored mosque sermons and staff, and forced ...

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