Academia, anthropology, Australia, CyberOrient, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Gender, Immigration, India, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, Israel, Israel/Palestine, jihad, Lebanon, Malaysia, marranci, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, South Asia, Southeast Asia, University

Announcing the Study Contemporary Muslim Lives Research Hub at Macquarie University

As director, I am pleased to inform you that today the website for the Study Contemporary Muslim Lives Research Hub at Macquarie University was officially launched.
Study Contemporary Muslim Lives (SCML) is a research hub based within the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University. It undertakes research on social, cultural and political aspects of contemporary Muslim communities and societies and is committed to the advancement of social scientific understandings of Muslim lives in different social and geographical contexts through excellent empirical research, scholarly publications, and active postgraduate programs.
SCML also has, among other activities, a Visiting Scholar Program. SCML welcomes applications from academics who want to carry out research as visiting scholars at Macquarie University. Visitors participate in and enrich the research-intensive and vibrant communal life of the Research Hub, which is part of the Department of Anthropology. Continue reading

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anthropology, Censorship, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Genocide, Islam, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, Riots, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Sunni

Burma, ethno-Buddhism, racism and religious persecution

I have written before about Burma (Myanmar) and its persecuted Rohingya population as well as the lack of interest both in the ASEAN countries as well as in the western mass media (see The other, invisible suffering of Burma, Rohingya Odyssey: a silent cultural genocide?, Rohingya Muslims and injustice: a security issue, Rohingyas: not solely a political problem, Selling lives: Rohingyas face deportation from Bangladesh). Since June, Burma and its Rohingya Muslim population have attracted a wider mass media presence. On May 28, in a village in the central part of Rakhine State, three Muslim members of the Rohingya ethnic group allegedly raped and killed a Buddhist woman. Retaliation did not take long and on June 3, a group of Arakan attacked a bus carrying Rohingya in southern Rakhine and 10 people were killed. Continue reading

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anthropology, Islam, Islam in Europe, Politics, Religion, Research, South Asia, Sunni

An Islam lost in transition? Emotions, piousness and lack of intellectual genealogy

Today I have have found several messages in my email referring to a youtube video that is going viral among Muslims. The video  shows a Muslim student  praying  publicly during his graduation ceremony at WSU (Washington State University). The public appeared oblivious to what may be perceived as a  ‘strange’ performance by anyone unfamiliar with the Islamic style of prayer. By contrast, many Muslims have praised this action as being a courageous display of faith. Also, in the messages,  you can read the list of “miracles’  that accompany such act of devotion: ‘he was not noticed, he may have been invisible’;  ‘the people did not clap their hands until the end of the prayer’; ‘the  direction of the Qiblah and the stage were the same’ (but was it?). Continue reading

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Afghanistan, anthropology, Ethnic Minorities, Iraq, Islam, jihad, Lebanon, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Sunni, Terrorism, War, War on Terror

Shi’a Muslims: halal meat?

Recently, those who have been following the news may have noticed an increase of terrorist attacks and the general persecution of Shi’a Muslims, particularly within Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and recently Palestine together with less reported, but still significant, events in Indonesia and Malaysia, among other Sunni majority countries. In the case of Pakistan, 3,700 civilians, mostly Shi’as, have been killed and another 7,700 wounded in sectarian violence since 1989. In Afghanistan, Bahrain, and Iraq, several thousand Shi’as have been ruthlessly murdered in sectarian violence (see South Asia Terrorism Portal). There is no doubt that, in the last decade alone, Shi’a civilians have been massacred within Sunni majority countries. Hence it is legitimate to ask whether Shi’a Muslims may have become, in a sense, ‘halal meat’. 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, Apocalypse, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, South Asia, Terrorism, War on Terror

Suicide bombing: the martyr machine

girl watches her mother dying

Imagine that your country suffered an average of 71 suicide attacks per-year. Imagine that these suicide actions killed an average of 1,140 civilians per year, all among the most poor and in need. If you cannot imagine such an Armageddon then you can have it for real: it is called Pakistan. Today, as many other days, a suicide bomber (this time a woman, but children have also been employed previously) killed more than 40 people at a food distribution centre. It is the most poor who have paid the highest price – often simply because they are easy targets: queuing for food, shopping at the market or praying to a saint for hope that ended up drowned in their own blood. It is becoming easier to die in Pakistan, particularly in the North-West frontier, than to live. About three people die daily, yet there are no candlelight vigils, no minutes of silence and no ceremonies. The dead are mere numbers in your morning newspaper, seemingly unworthy of the fanfare that often accompanies European deaths.

Continue reading

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Afghanistan, anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Europe, Freedom, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Politics, Religion, sociology, South Asia, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War, War on Terror

Plutocracy of blood? Afghanistan post-election

How much blood has been spilled in Afghanistan? It is very difficult to say; official estimates speak of an improbable 12,000 to a more probable, but still conservative, 32,000 casualties. Of these deaths, the “insurgents” of various affiliations (so not only the Taliban) would have been responsible, according to very conservative statistics, for almost a sixth. Certainly, as repugnant as they may be, the suicide bombers and road-side bombs as well as the Taliban’s punitive and revenge killings cannot be compared to the 30000lb air-bombs dropped by NATO.   Continue reading

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