Recently in the UK the debate, started by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on the so-called Shari‘a Law, has seen a new wave of discussion following the publication of Sharia Law or ‘One Law For All by the controversy-seeking conservative think tank Civitas. The author of the report, Dr Denis MacEoin, is not new to readers of my blog and also quite well known for his questionable (if not creative) social scientific skills and methodologies in a previous publication byPolicy Exchange.However, Dr Denis MacEoin has this time honestly admitted that his methodology has been based on what I can only call ‘analogical induction’. Continue reading
I am pleased to inform my friends and readers that my latest book Understanding Muslim Identity Rethinking Fundamentalism, is finally on the bookshelf of (more or less virtual) book shops.
Another book on Islamic fundamentalism?’ I can hear the question echoing among friends, colleagues and readers. Since 2001, more than 100 books and 5,600 articles have been published on Islamic fundamentalism. Broadening the research to agnate labels – such as Islamism (about 200 books and 243 articles), political Islam (345 books and 4,670 articles) and Islamic extremism (only 16 books and 1610 articles) – we can appreciate the amount of scholarly publication pressed into the past seven years.
So, why write another book? I have tried to explain the reasons in the Introduction, which you can read for free. The book provides a very different analysis of what has been labeled ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, and what I prefer to call ’emotional Islam’. Continue reading
Muslims in the UK, as in another countries both in the geographical west or east, have to reflect carefully on the issue of child abuse within their heterogeneous communities as well as religious organisations, instead of wrapping themselves in a cloak of embarrassment, silence, and unacceptable complicity reinforced by the shared idea that, as in an interview one person told me, ‘these things do not happen in our community and do not happen among Muslims’. In reality they happen as often as in other communities, regardless of ethnic and religious background. Continue reading
Sarah Maple defines herself as an artist To use my definition of identity she feels to be an artist. Some would recognize her as such and invite her to expose her works Other, as often is the case for contemporary at, would consider her ‘art’ as another pice of junk. Sarah Maple was born in 1985 and grew up in Sussex. The daughter of a mixed religious and cultural couple, she was brought up as Muslim by her mother.Let me say that I do not find Sarah Maple’s work interesting or original at all. For somebody born in Florence, tolerance for contemporary art tends to end with Kandinsky.
I tend to find Miss Maple’s artistic expression too childish and simplistic, when not overtly vulgar or distasteful without being even too original. Her work it seems often more the production of a school girl with too many hormones in her blood. Indeed it does not reach the artistic power of an unique scandalous artist affected by genitalphilia such as Francis Bacon. I have also the impression that as other artists and writers today, she is trying to find an easy route to fast success by playing with controversy surrounding Islam and Muslims. Continue reading
Yesterday, Germaine Tillion has died at the age of the age of one-hundred. Few students of anthropology probably can tell you who Germaine is despite the fact that she has been one of the anthropologists who have contributed not only to the understanding of the Mediterranean region, particularly North Africa, but also to the freedom of Europe from the nightmare of fascism and Nazism. She has been a ‘partigiani’ and also a prisoner at Ravensbrueck; a personal experience which would mark her life and her future commitment against torture and oppression.
Germanie Tillion’s fieldwork took place in the Aures region of Algeria from 1934 to 1940. The material she collected has been at the centre of her two most famous works The Republic of Cousins: Women’s Oppression in Mediterranean Society and Il etait une fois l’ethnographie.
After the end of the Second World War, Germaine Tillion, despite wishing to study the ideology and reasons behind the Nazi crimes and the use of the camps, accepted professor Louis Massignon’s pressing suggestions and decided to go back to Algeria in 1954. She observed, and was the first to do so among ethnographers, that one of the main issues which Algeria was facing, and that would have affected its future, was the migration from the countryside to the cities, which caused a severe impoverishment of the migrants. Continue reading
Finally my second book, The Anthropology of Islam, will be available at the end of this month. I wish to share with you a short excerpt from the beginning of the Introduction. This is an Elenchos (from the ancient Greek ’έλεγχος) which refers to question–answer dialogue that aims to clarify a topic through deconstructing other arguments; in this case, how‘Islam’ may be understood within the field of anthropology: Continue reading
Today we can add another top news headline to the long list of what I call ‘the veil idiosyncrasy’. Ian Murray, a judge, refused to deal with the case of Zoobia Hussain, a entirely veiled defendant. He argued that he could not have been sure of the defendant’s identity, and left the court in a perfect primadonna style. Well, unfortunately fingerprints tell more about your identity than your smiling face. Mr Murray is now facing investigation and possible dismissal, leaving him with his main job; driving taxis.