This category contains 62 posts

The Problem of the “Religious Minority”

In the first part of his article, “Religious Freedom, the Minority Question, and Geopolitics in the Middle East,” Saba Mahmood addresses the history of the concept of “religious minority,” and specifically how it developed in the Middle East. Mahmood makes the purpose of this section clear when he states: “My intention in this section of … Continue reading

Negotiating Ideas of Religious Freedom and Religious Parties in the Arab Spring

Western ideals of freedom and democracy live under the umbrella of secularism. It is hard for Westerners to fathom a democratic government that includes religious political parties. For the West, the idea of religion in politics seems to be at odds with ideas about religious freedom. This is why the United States is uneasy about … Continue reading

Historically Unaware and Demonized After

Saba Mahmood, in “Religious Freedom, the Minority Question, and Geopolitics in the Middle East,” problematizes notions of religious freedom, pointing to a history of usage marred with Western colonial interests.  This critique of the usage of such terms of “religious freedom” and “minority” points to the shifting definitions which end up as discursive tools to … Continue reading

The Garden of the Arab Spring: What will it bloom into?

The Arab Spring has been a hot topic in not only the media in the United States, but around the world. This idea of the Arab Spring has permeated throughout the Arab world and has also had great influence on the rest of the world. It has become an emblem that signifies “The people want … Continue reading

Representing the Minority to Strengthen the Majority

The concept of religious freedom is often interpreted as a fundamental component of a healthy democracy since most autocratic governments enforce their particular agendas without concern for the masses. Yet, the assumption that a democratic government embraces principles of freedom as part of a genuine effort to uphold justice and equality can be misleading. Saba … Continue reading

Citizenship: What’s In A Name? More Than Just A Title

In preparing for my article on the state of the field of Islamic education, questions about citizenship abound. What does it mean to be a Muslim? How do state curriculums attempt to create a national and religious identity for Muslim students? And, of late, Can a Muslim be a citizen of both a democratic or … Continue reading

Problematization and Deconstruction as Tools for Legitimacy

It seems that contemporary scholarly discourse has reached a point where legitimacy is gained not through some appeal to Truth (or claim to privileged access to it), but through the deconstruction of others’ arguments such that the audience will be less likely to perceive the flaws of the author’s claims. In other words: In order … Continue reading

“Progressive Muslims” Take Responsibility

People around the world are struggling with the traditions of their faith and the changes in society. Many religious people are asking themselves, “How can I be both progressive and pious in this age?” A resounding answer, among religious progressives and liberation theologians, is that believers must recognize the injustices done in the name of … Continue reading

Pleading the Fifth: Violence and Terrorism in Islamic Scholarship

In his article “The Modern Ugly and the Ugly Modern: Reclaiming the Beautiful in Islam” Khaled Abou El Fadl discusses violent and oppressive acts committed in the name of Islam, and the response of the Muslim community and scholars when these types of acts occur. Abou El Fadl, unlike many scholars, is not attempting to … Continue reading

Homogenizing Islam

The building of a mosque near Ground Zero grounds is a sensitive and controversial issue for many Americans. Understandably so, many perceive the building of an Islamic center of worship two blocks away from where the Twin Towers stood before 9/11 as an insensitive and arrogant project by the Muslim community. Yet, highly polemical issues … Continue reading

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