anthropology, Australia, BBC, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Fashion, Freedom, Gender, Immigration, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslim family, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, Uk government

Anti-liberal attempts: between burqa and criticism demonization

Yesterday, the British Parliament debated the ban of a garment, something that the British Parliament had not discussed since Victorian times. This time it was not the length of skirts or sleeves that the honorable parliamentarians addressed, but rather the well known (but rarely seen in western cities) burqa; banned in France, threatened in the rest of Europe, and now also under threat in the UK.

As other attempts, however, yesterday’s debate failed in imposing a burqa ban in the UK, and as the minister confirmed, Great Britain will not follow France.

The burqa is not an Islamic fashion per-se, but rather a tradition not opposed by Islamic teaching, which is probably the best way to present it. Covering the face, and in particular the mouth, has a geographical and environmental genealogy (such as the protection of skin and eyes from the dust and sand of, for instance, the Afghan desert). If such a garment is anything in Islam, it is a scholarly theological diatribe, with some sheikhs ready to wrap a baby in it, and others stating that it is not Islamic dress per-seContinue reading

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America, anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, jihad, Muslim family, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, War, War on Terror

Not all children are the same – some are collateral damage

President Barack Obama, looked terribly distressed at the vigil to commemorate the victims, twenty of whom were children. Obama’s words, as well as his emotions, were sincere. He said

 The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old..They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.

The Newtown shooting has been a terrible tragedy, so shocking that it has reopened the debate about gun crime in a country with  300 million of them among a population of 311 million.  Could the massacre have been avoided? In the current situation, probably not. That school could have been anywhere, and the killer apparently acted out of his mind rather than out of a plan. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Ethnic Minorities, Gender, Islam, Muslim family, Muslims, Politics, Singapore, sociology, Southeast Asia

Singaporean Malay teen girls from disadvantaged backgrounds: between feelings of unfulfillable responsibility and self-stereotypes?

During my 3 years of research in Singapore, as part of a wider research on Malay youth in Singapore, I studied the social identity formation of Malay teen Muslim girls from socially and economically disadvantaged families. Methodologically, not only have I conducted in-depth interviews but also, thanks to organizations such as Clubilya, 4PM and Petrapis, had the opportunity to engage in participant observation of several group activities involving these girls. Facebook has furthermore provided a level of access that years before would have been imaginable to an anthropologist studying youth. Continue reading

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anthropology, Apocalypse, bin-Laden, Bush, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Freedom, Iraq, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, jihad, Journalism, Misteries, Muslim family, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War, War on Terror

9/11 commemorations: ritualizing and celebrating civilization rhetoric

Yesterday the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was commemorated in New York. Yet the commemorations started more than one week in advance with newspapers, TVs and magazine building up the momentum. There is little need to summarize the incredible amount of special dossiers, reports, commentaries and documentaries which have been written during these days for a tragedy that happened ten years ago. The commemoration of 9/11 is becoming increasingly interactive with questions like: “do you remember 9/11?” or “share your 9/11” and similar collective archiving of personal memories, often shared every year for the past decade. Continue reading

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anthropology, Gender, Islam, Muslim family, Muslims, Politics, Research, sociology, South Asia, Sunni

When piety kills: power, religious performance and inhumanity, the case of Hena Akhter

That body is of 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl, Hena Akhter. Her story has distracted the western mass media from the still very confused situation in Libya. Hena Akhter was sentenced to receive 101 lashes to be delivered with extreme force after a village court implemented the fatwa of the local imam, whom decided that she had committed fornication with her much older married cousin. She died a week later from the injuries. The story is a script seen too many times in rural Bangladesh, at least since 1991 when Bangladeshi villages increased these extra-juridical sentences (Riaz 2005). Continue reading

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anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Immigration, Islam, Malaysia, Muslim family, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, Research, Singapore, sociology, Southeast Asia, Terrorism

Rohingyas: not solely a political problem

Burma (i.e. Myanmar) has had its first “democratic” elections in twenty years, although few, other than the ruling military junta, would have considered them free and fair. Yet some political moves, aimed to reduce the economic and political isolation of the military junta, have marked the past few months, such as the release of the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from from her long detention.However, about 2,200 remain prisoners of conscience in the oppressed country.

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Censorship, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Immigration, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, jihad, Muslim family, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, War on Terror

Geert Wilders and the freedom of hypocrisy

"For national pride"

Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, set to become a shadow partner of the next coalition government, goes on trial in Amsterdam on Monday for inciting hatred against Muslims. Wilders’ Freedom Party together with other parties forming the next coalition have agreed to ban the burqa. Yet this is surely the least controversial move since it has already been implemented by other European states, such as France. The peroxide blonde Wilders sees his own trial as an attack on freedom of speech in the Netherlands. His lawyer reported that Wilders thinks that “in the Netherlands, one must be able to say whatever one wants, barring incitement to violence.” Continue reading

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