Resources

 

Shadi Hamid is senior fellow a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and regularly contributes to The Atlantic. The book I review here was named a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2014:

Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

This review will appear in the next issue of Sociology of Islam (Brill) 4, 3-4, 2016. This text is a bit longer than the published version.

 

 

This was one of my earliest articles, published in the The Maghreb Review:

“The Fuzzy boundaries between Reformism and Islamism: Malik Bennabi and Rashid al-Ghannushi on Civilization.” The Maghreb Review 29, 1-2 (2004):123-52.

If you want to go into Bennabi's thought in greater depth and discover how he influenced a whole generation of thinkers, including Rachid Ghannouchi and his Ennahda Movement, this will be worth your time! In particular, long before the 1990s theory of the "Clash of Civilizations" (Samuel Huntington), Bennabi was theorizing about the rise and fall of civilizations, about the pathology and diagnosis of civilizations. His thought also falls within the postcolonial thought of French Caribbean thinker Aimé Césaire. In the end, Ghannouchi borrows much of his mentor's framework but adapts it adroitely to his particularly aims in Tunisia.

A coalition of Muslims and Christians have come together to address the rising tide of discrimination, intolerance, and at times downright hatred against Muslims in the United States. This is what is called today Islamophobia (see my 2011 blog on the 138-page report by the Center for American Progress entitled, "Fear, Inc.: Exposing the Islamophobia Network in America"; also my blog examining Robert Spencer's work).

Among these are the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) based in Washington, DC, Peace Catalyst International (PCI) headquartered in Denver and the Dialogue Institute (DI) at Temple University in Philadelphia.

In January 2014, ICRD convened 19 U.S. and Pakistani religious leaders for a week in Nepal to establish an Interfaith Leadership Network (ILN) that will develop and jointly pursue capacity-enhancing initiatives to ease the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan and to arrest the spread and impact of Islamophobia in the United States. Among other goals, this Network proposes to bring together American religious leaders, predominantly from the Evangelical movement, to educate, discuss and ultimately limit the impact of Islamophobia in the United States.

The next step was for Douglas Johnston of the ICRD, Rick Love of PCI, and Leonard Swidler of Temple University's DI to convene a conference on Religious Freedom and Islamophobia (October 6-8, 2015), which sought to help evangelicals and others understand the consequences of and develop thoughtful responses to Islamophobia in the United States.

This was the paper I presented -- a look at the historical roots of American evangelical Islamophobia. My thesis was that from the late seventeen century to now there has been a sad continuity in evangelical polemics against Islam and Muslims, but that there were nevertheless signs of hope today as well. We should continue to vigorously build on those!

 

The core of the human rights paradigm is that all human beings by virtue of simply being human are bearers of inalienable rights. The intrinsic dignity of the human person, moreover, is the guarantee of the universality of the international human rights standard. Human dignity also includes human solidarity, as evidenced in international law by the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ratified in 1966. This paper argues from a comparative perspective, therefore, that human rights discourse is reinforced by the central tenets of both Islam and Christianity in two areas, its universality and its application to the economic sphere.

 

“A Muslim and Christian Orientation to Human Rights: Human Dignity and Solidarity,” Indiana International and Comparative Review 24, 4 (2014): 899-920.

 

 

 

This is a chapter I contributed to a book that just came out, Maqasid al-Shari'a and Contemporary Muslim Reformist Thought: An Examination, edited by Adis Duderija. My piece is entitled, "Yusuf al-Qaradawi's Purposive Fiqh: Promoting or Demoting the Future Role of the Ulama?" The best (extended) abstract I can offer you are the two first paragraphs:

"This chapter is about a high-profile Muslim scholar who rather late in his career has turned to the now popular legal methodology of "the sharï'a's higher objectives," or maqasid al-sharï'a. Though I delve into some of the details of his legal theory, I am also interested in probing what is behind this strategy. A media figure of global proportions, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has consistently seen himself as a leader of mainstream Sunni Islam with the God-given mission to lead it on the "middle" path (read "moderate," or wasatï), away from the ultra-conservatives, whether the literalists or Salafis on one side, or the liberal Muslims enamoured with Western values on the other. Yet Muslims cannot find this middle path and stay on it, Qaradawi holds, without strengthening the authority of Islam's legal experts, the ulama.

This essay argues that, besides his gradual intellectual attraction to this "purposive" methodology, Qaradawi's use of it in the 1990s and 2000s dovetailed nicely with his political posturing as an ϊlim of international standing both within the Muslim community and beyond it. Further, I contend that his adoption of this approach to legal theory did not in the least affect his long-held views expressed in his fatwas and other writings. So in light of the evident stirrings of change and even turmoil within Islamic legal circles today, I ask one important question in my last section: isn't this focus on the higher purposes of God's law more likely to undermine the authority of the traditional ulama class in the long run, and especially in a twenty-first century marked by a radically democratized public sphere?"

This is a short paper I delivered at the annual meeting of the Society of Vineyard Scholars (part of the Association of Vineyard Churches), held in Columbus, Ohio, in April 2014.

Herein I examine some of theologian Stanley Hauerwas' views in light of a wider discussion about the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom of God. Though I find much to sympathize with his positions, I conclude that, surprisingly perhaps, he ends up with a position similar to Calvin's "Two Kingdoms" theology. The Kingdom of God seems to merge with the Church and the kingdoms of human society seem depraved beyond any possible redemption.

Yale law professor Steven Carter addresses some of my concerns in an article he wrote on Hauerwas. For Carter, who published a book on war the same year as did Hauerwas (2011), Hauerwas' pacifism distorts the reality of violence in the liberal democratic state. Furthermore, his critique undercuts any meaningful role for social justice activism.

As I argued in my blog about Pope Francis, the new pope's discourse about Jesus and the Kingdom of God offers a more biblical view of the work of God's Spirit on the world. The notion of human rights, anathema to Hauerwas, connects organically to both creation and redemption in Christian theology, and it opens the way for Christians and people of all faiths (and no faith) to come together in a brave fight for human dignity wherever people are oppressed and beaten down.

 

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