Current Islam

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Muslims often say – with a twinge of pride, I’ve noticed – that there is no clergy in Islam. Well, there is no pope and each mosque is fairly independent; that said, the more conservative ones in this country do their best to import a good imam from Egypt or elsewhere. Also, Iran’s constitution calls for the supremacy of the…
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As human beings we are constantly navigating the multiple layers of our (fluid) identity. I am still a son, though my parents have been gone for a while. I am a husband and father, a teacher in several contexts, a former pastor in Algeria. For sixteen years I lived as a Christian in three different Muslim-majority countries. I’m a white…
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  In the previous blog reviewing Leila Ahmed’s book The Quiet Revolution we covered the role of colonialism in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and how these islamists succeeded in reversing a two-generations trend of women unveiling. Only this time, the veil (hijab) adopted by university students in the 1970s and 1980s (and then by women generally) was different…
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  This is the last blog (1 of 2) on one of the books discussed in our public library within the “Muslim Journeys: American Stories” series: Leila Ahmed’s A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America. First it was the Christian and Jewish women of Egypt and the Levant who cast aside their traditional head coverings…
21 January 2014

Willow Wilson's Egypt

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I have now finished leading the five (well attended) public library discussions in the series “Muslim Journeys: American Stories” sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. I devoted blogs to the first two books (Prince Among Slaves and Eboo Patel’s Acts of Faith) I now turn to the last two, and here, The Butterfly…
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  My first blog dealt with the interpretive assumptions and methods of the Salafis (the “Neo-Traditionalists” in Adis Duderija’s book, Constructing a Religiously Ideal “Believer” and “Woman” in Islam). So who are these “progressive Muslims” who stand in such contrast to the ultraconservative Salafis? In his Introduction, Duderija announces that for the second half of the book he will be…
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