Violence and Islam
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Adonisï¿1⁄2 influence on Arabic literature has been likened to that of T. S. Eliot in the English-speaking world. Yet alongside this spearheading of a modernist literary revolution, the secular Syrian-born poet is also renowned for his persistent and staunch attacks on despotism across the Arab world. In these conversations with the psychoanalyst Houria Abdelouahed, Adonis brings into sharp relief the latest wave of violence and war to engulf Arabic countries, tracing the cause of ongoing tensions back to the beginnings of Islam itself. Since the death of the prophet Muhammad, Islam has been used as a political and economic weapon, exploiting and reinforcing tribal divisions to aid the pursuit of power. Adonis argues that recent events in the Middle East ï¿1⁄2 from the failures of the Arab Spring to the rise of ISIS and the bloody war in his native Syria ï¿1⁄2 attest to the destructive effects of an Islamic worldview that prohibits any notion of plurality and breeds violence. If there is to be any hope of peace or progress in the Arab world, it is therefore imperative that these mentalities are overcome. In their place, Adonis urges a new spirit of enquiry, embodied in the freedoms to interrogate the past and to question cultural norms. Adonisï¿1⁄2 penetrating analysis comes at a critical time, offering an alternative path to the cycle of violence that plagues the Arab world today.
‘Ideologies need enemies to thrive, religion does not’. Using the Sahel as a source of five comparative case studies, this volume aims to engage in the painstaking task of disentangling Islam from the political ideologies that have issued from its theologies to fight for governmental power and the transformation of society. While these ideologies tap into sources of religious legitimacy, the author shows that they are fundamentally secular or temporal enterprises, defined by confrontation with other political ideologies–both progressive and liberal–within the arena of nation states. Their objectives are the same as these other ideologies, i.e., to harness political power for changing national societies, and they resort to various methods of persuasion, until they break down into violence. The two driving questions of the book are, whence come these ideologies, and why do they–sometimes–result in violence? Ideologies of Salafi radicalism are at work in the five countries of the Sahel region, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, (Northern) Nigeria and Senegal, but violence has broken out only in Mali and Northern Nigeria. Using a theoretical framework of ideological development and methods of historical analysis, Idrissa traces the emergence of Salafi radicalism in each of these countries as a spark ignited by the shock between concurrent processes of Islamization and colonization in the 1940s. However, while the spark eventually ignited a blaze in Mali and Nigeria, it has only led to milder political heat in Niger and Senegal and has had no burning effect at all in Burkina Faso. By meticulously examining the development of Salafi radicalism ideologies over time in connection with developments in national politics in each of the countries, Idrissa arrives at compelling conclusions about these divergent outcomes. Given the many similarities between the countries studied, these divergences show, in particular, that history, the behaviour of state leaders and national sociologies matter–against assumptions of ‘natural’ contradictions between religion (Islam) and secularism or democracy. This volume offers a new perspective in discussions on ideology, which remains–as is shown here–the independent variable of many key contemporary political processes, either hidden in plain sight or disguised in a religious garb.
Chaos, Violence, Dynasty
Author: Eric McGlinchey
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Pre
In the post-Soviet era, democracy has made little progress in Central Asia. In Chaos, Violence, Dynasty, Eric McGlinchey presents a compelling comparative study of the divergent political courses taken by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan in the wake of Soviet rule. McGlinchey examines economics, religion, political legacies, foreign investment, and the ethnicity of these countries to evaluate the relative success of political structures in each nation. McGlinchey explains the impact of Soviet policy on the region, from Lenin to Gorbachev. Ruling from a distance, a minimally invasive system of patronage proved the most successful over time, but planted the seeds for current “neo-patrimonial” governments. The level of direct Soviet involvement during perestroika was the major determinant in the stability of ensuing governments. Soviet manipulations of the politics of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in the late 1980s solidified the role of elites, while in Kyrgyzstan the Soviets looked away as leadership crumbled during the ethnic riots of 1990. Today, Kyrgyzstan is the poorest and most politically unstable country in the region, thanks to a small, corrupt, and fractured political elite. In Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov maintains power through the brutal suppression of disaffected Muslims, who are nevertheless rising in numbers and influence. In Kazakhstan, a political machine fueled by oil wealth and patronage underlies the greatest economic equity in the region, and far less political violence. McGlinchey’s timely study calls for a more realistic and flexible view of the successful aspects of authoritarian systems in the region that will be needed if there is to be any potential benefit from foreign engagement with the nations of Central Asia, and similar political systems globally.
Why are honour killings and honour-related violence (HRV) so important to understand? What do such crimes represent? And how does HRV fit in with Western views and perceptions of Islam? This distinctively comparative collection examines the concept of HRV against women in general and Muslim women in particular. The issue of HRV has become a sensitive subject in many South Asian and Middle Eastern countries and it has received the growing attention of the media, human rights groups and academics around the globe. However, the issue has yet to receive detailed academic study in the United Kingdom, particularly in terms of both legal and sociological research. This collection sets out the theoretical and ethical parameters of the study of HRV in order to address this intellectual vacuum in a socio-legal context. The key objectives of this book are: to construct, and to develop further, a theory of HRV; to rationalise and characterise the different forms of HRV; to investigate the role of religion, race and class in society within this context, in particular, the role of Islam; to scrutinise the role of the civil/criminal law/justice systems in preventing these crimes; and to inform public policy-makers of the potential policies that may be employed in combating HRV.
Religious political violence is by no means a new phenomenon, yet there are critical differences between the various historical instances of such violence and its more current permutations. Since the mid-1970s, religious fundamentalist movements have been seeking to influence world order by participating in local political systems. For example, Islamic fundamentalism is at the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Christian fundamental right wing has seen a resurgence in Europe, and Jewish fundamentalism is behind the actions of Meir Kahane’s Kach movement and the settler movement. The shift in recent years from secular to religious political violence necessitates a reevaluation of contemporary political violence and of the concept of religious violence. This text analyzes the evolution of religious political violence, in both historical and contemporary perspectives. Since religious political violent events are usually associated with the term “terrorism,” the book first analyzes the origins of this controversial term and its religious manifestations. It then outlines and highlights the differences between secular and religious political violence, on ideological, strategic, and tactical levels before comparing the concept of Holy War in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Lastly, it shows how modern radical monotheistic religious groups interpret and manipulate their religious sources and ideas to advocate their political agendas, including the practice of violence. A unique comparative study of religious political violence across Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, this text features many international case studies from the Crusades to the Arab Spring.
Shattering the Myth
Author: Bruce Lawrence
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Islam is often portrayed, especially in Western media, as an alien, violent, hostile, and monolithic religion, whose adherents are intent upon battling nonbelievers throughout the world. Shattering the Myth demonstrates that these conceptions more accurately reflect the bias of Western reporters than they do the realities of contemporary Islam. Westerners are barraged by images of violence that usually originate from armed confrontations in one small corner of the world. Islam, Bruce Lawrence argues, is a complex, international religious system that cannot be reduced to stereotypes. As Lawrence demonstrates, Islam is a religion shaped as much by its own postulates and ethical demands as by the specific circumstances of Muslim people in the modern world. The last two hundred years have brought many challenges for Muslims, from colonial subjugation through sporadic revivalism to elitist reform movements and, most recently, pervasive struggles with fundamentalism. During each period, Muslims have had to address internal tensions, as well as external threats. Today Muslims in the post-colonial era, only some of whom are Arab and living in the Middle East, are playing ever greater roles in economic changes, both regional and international. As the impact of these changes has become evident in societies around the globe, new leaders have come into public view. The most remarkable emerging presence is that of Muslim women. Lawrence argues that it is the experience of Muslim women in particular that calls for a more nuanced understanding of Islam today. It is time, Lawrence believes, to replace inaccurate images of Islam with a recognition of the multifaceted character of this global religion and of its widely diverse adherents. Here he describes changes that are taking place throughout the world, particularly in Southeast Asia, enacted by governments and nongovernmental organizations alike. In a time of rapid international change, Lawrence suggests that it is time for our images of Islam to reflect more clearly the realities of Islam as it is lived. Shattering the Myth provides significant insights into the history of Islam and a greater understanding of the varied experiences of Muslims today. "An informed interpretation of the contemporary Muslim experience . . . Lawrence's explanations for the particular states of affairs in Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia, among other cases, are compelling . . . [A] distinguished contribution."--From the foreword by James Piscatori and Dale F. Eickelman
How did the medieval Middle East transform from a majority-Christian world to a majority-Muslim world, and what role did violence play in this process? Christian Martyrs under Islam explains how Christians across the early Islamic caliphate slowly converted to the faith of the Arab conquerors and how small groups of individuals rejected this faith through dramatic acts of resistance, including apostasy and blasphemy. Using previously untapped sources in a range of Middle Eastern languages, Christian Sahner introduces an unknown group of martyrs who were executed at the hands of Muslim officials between the seventh and ninth centuries CE. Found in places as diverse as Syria, Spain, Egypt, and Armenia, they include an alleged descendant of Muhammad who converted to Christianity, high-ranking Christian secretaries of the Muslim state who viciously insulted the Prophet, and the children of mixed marriages between Muslims and Christians. Sahner argues that Christians never experienced systematic persecution under the early caliphs, and indeed, they remained the largest portion of the population in the greater Middle East for centuries after the Arab conquest. Still, episodes of ferocious violence contributed to the spread of Islam within Christian societies, and memories of this bloodshed played a key role in shaping Christian identity in the new Islamic empire. Christian Martyrs under Islam examines how violence against Christians ended the age of porous religious boundaries and laid the foundations for more antagonistic Muslim-Christian relations in the centuries to come.
Select chapters from the controversial 4-volume set examining the influence of sacred texts shaping human nature, society, politics and military strategy across the last 3,000 years.
In Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity, Thomas Sizgorich seeks to understand why and how violent expressions of religious devotion became central to the self-understandings of both Christian and Muslim communities between the fourth and ninth centuries. Sizgorich argues that the cultivation of violent martyrdom as a path to holiness was in no way particular to Islam; rather, it emerged from a matrix put into place by the Christians of late antiquity. Paying close attention to the role of memory and narrative in the formation of individual and communal selves, Sizgorich identifies a common pool of late ancient narrative forms upon which both Christian and Muslim communities drew. In the process of recollecting the past, Sizgorich explains, Christian and Muslim communities alike elaborated iterations of Christianity or Islam that demanded of each believer a willingness to endure or inflict violence on God's behalf and thereby created militant local pieties that claimed to represent the one "real" Christianity or the only "pure" form of Islam. These militant communities used a shared system of signs, symbols, and stories, stories in which the faithful manifested their purity in conflict with the imperial powers of the world.
Weber contributes to the ongoing scholarly discussion about Islam in the West, demonstrating how current thinking about gender violence prohibits the intellectual inquiry necessary to act against such violence, and analyzes ways in which Muslim women participate in the public sphere by thematizing violence in literature, art, and media.
Political Islam and Violence in Indonesia presents a penetrating new investigation of religious radicalism in the largest Muslim country in the world. Indonesia is a country long known for its diversity and tolerant brand of Islam. However, since the fall of Suharto, a more intolerant form of Islam has been growing, one whose adherents have carried out terrorist attacks, waged sectarian war, and voiced strident anti-Western rhetoric. Zachary Abuza’s unique analysis of radical Islam draws upon primary documents such as Jemaah Islamiyah’s operations manual, interviews, and recorded testimonies of politicians, religious figures, and known militants, as well as personal interviews with numerous security and intelligence experts in Indonesia and elsewhere, to paint a picture at once guardedly optimistic about the future of Indonesian democracy and concerned about the increasing role of conservative and radical Islam in Indonesian society. This book will be of great interest to students of Indonesian politics, Asian studies, political violence and security studies in general.
Author: Robert Spencer
Publisher: Encounter Books
In "Islam Unveiled," Robert Spencer dares to face the hard questions about what the Islamic religion actually teaches--and the potentially ominous implications of those teachings for the future of both the Muslim world and the West. Going beyond the shallow distinction between a "true" peaceful Islam and the "hijacked" Islam of terrorist groups, Spencer probes the Koran and Islamic traditions (as well as the history and present-day situation of the Muslim world) as part of his inquiry into why the world's fastest growing faith tends to arouse fanaticism. "Islam Unveiled" evaluates the relationship between Islamic fundamentalism and "mainstream" Islam; the fixation with violence and jihad; the reasons for Muslims' disturbing treatment of women; and devastating effects of Muslim polygamy and Islamic divorce laws. Spencer explores other daunting questions--why the human rights record of Islamic countries is so unrelievedly grim and how the root causes of this record exist in basic Muslim beliefs; why science and high culture died out in the Muslim world--and why this is a root cause of modern Muslim resentment. He evaluates what Muslims learn from the life of Muhammad, the man that Islam hails as the supreme model of human behavior. Above all, this provocative work grapples with the question that most preoccupies us today: can Islam create successful secularized societies that will coexist peacefully with the West's multicultural mosaic?
Author: Bruce Chilton
"When they arrived at the place which God had indicated to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son..." --The Book of Genesis The story of Abraham's acceptance of God's command to sacrifice his son Isaac is one of the most disturbing of all biblical stories. Isaac is spared only at the last moment, when an angel stops Abraham's hand. Theologians and scholars have wrestled with the question of why God asked Abraham to kill his beloved son, why Abraham acquiesced, and why in some interpretations he actually killed his son. In Abraham's Curse, Bruce Chilton traces the impact of the story of Abraham and Isaac on the beliefs and teachings of Judaism (where Abraham is regarded as the forefather of Israel), Islam (where he provides the role model for Muhammad), and Christianity (where he is the ancestor of King David, whose lineage culminates in Jesus). As Chilton examines the story's significance, he makes the case that, far from only reflecting the violence of an ancient, unenlightened time, the sacrifice of children in the name of religion is still a fundamental part of our lives and culture -- from Islamist suicide bombings to militant Zionism and graphic glorifications of the Crucifixion of Christ.
Among the unsettling social shifts in the wake of 9/11 was the global attention paid to Islam. Here in the United States, we became divided, often sadly along partisan lines, between those who believed every Muslim was a potential threat and those who believed no Muslim could do wrong. For conservative Wisconsin native and former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, these radical times meant facing a new reality as a devout Muslim and a patriot—a certain betrayal within his faith, and a need to answer a question that crossed the minds of even the most sensitive and politically correct: “Can a good Muslim be a good American as well?” Jasser founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) to instill in young American Muslims an appreciation for the distinctively positive impact that this nation’s ideals of liberty have had upon the world. As a nationally recognized expert on Muslim radicalization, he offers non-Muslims a definitive comprehension of the difference between Islam and the spiritual cancer known as Islamism, or political Islam, and how violence and extremism run counter to Islam’s true teachings. As he persuasively argues, until we acknowledge the threat of Islamism in all its forms, the majority of Americans will be gulled into recognizing only the most obvious: terrorism. In A Battle for the Soul of Islam, Jasser embraces both his faith and his country while asking hard questions: * Are American Muslim children learning entitlement as victims, or are they being taught individual responsibility and critical thinking? * Are poisonous conspiracy theories dividing their American identity, or are they gaining exposure to reason, nationalism, and patriotism? * Are Muslims publicly critical of the Islamist movements of the Middle East, or do they remain silent on aspects of religious doctrine that conflict with modernity and universal equality? * Is the American press downplaying the seditious threat of homegrown Islamist radicalism and the influence of Islamists’ propaganda arm on our governmental policies? * Is our culture of political correctness a major obstacle toward long-overdue Muslim reform against Islamism? All these years after 9/11, it’s time for us to understand the true threat of Islamism. It is a Muslim problem that needs a Muslim solution, and A Battle for the Soul of Islam builds a solid, balanced, and imperative must-read foundation for the fight.
Nyla Ali Khan, the granddaughter of the first Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, gives an insider's analysis on the political and social turmoil that has eroded the ethos and fabric of Kasmiri culture. She monitors the effects of nationalist, militant, and religious discourses and praxes on a gender-based hierarchy.