anthropology, bin-Laden, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Genocide, Immigration, India, Islam, Islam in Europe, jihad, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, Research, sociology, South Asia, Terrorism, War on Terror

Rohingya Muslims and injustice: a security issue?

 

Rohingya children studying the Quran at the Madrassa

Rohingya children studying the Qu'ran at the Madrassa

Today another 200 Rohingya refugees have been rescued while drifting away in a wooden boat near the coast of Indonesia. It is pretty clear that the Rohingya are becoming the ‘Roma gypsy‘ of Southeast Asia, and similar to the case of Roma in Europe, the discussion is not about them, as human beings or to address their issues, but rather about how to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Degrading camps, expulsions and even ridiculous statements that these refugees, who bear the physical scars of their oppression, are actually economic migrants seem at this stage to be the only solutions offered. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Genocide, Immigration, Islam, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Research, sociology, South Asia

Rohingya Odyssey: a silent cultural genocide?

I have discussed and provided some information about the quite unknown tragedy of Rohingya Muslims elsewhere in this blog. Normally, Rohingya Muslims make news only when there is a dearth of other stories. Today, more people know who the Rohingya are because of shocking reports in which some tourists in Thailand have  witnessed and documented the severe mistreatment of refugees by the Thai army on Thai beaches. The UN has asked access to the refugees, some of whom have been expelled, and an investigation into the alleged mistreatment.  Rohingya Muslims are virtually stateless, and to define them as ‘economic migrants’, as the new Thai government has attempted to, is unrealistic no less than the full probe they have promised, which however is to be conducted by the same Thai army involved in the international scandal. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Arab-Israeli conflict, bin-Laden, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Gender, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, Israel/Palestine, jihad, marranci, Middle East, Muslims, Prison, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Robert Spencer, sociology, South Asia, Sunni, Terrorism, The UK, University, War on Terror

Understanding Muslim Identity, Rethinking Fundamentalism

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

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anthropology, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Humor, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Journalism, Politics, Religion, Research, Singapore, South Asia

Malaysian Muslim? Sorry, no yoga for you!

Yesterday the Malaysian National Fatwa Council has issued another of its many fatwas, which have seen an increase in numbers during this time of political turmoil. “Yoga is forbidden for Muslims. The practice will erode their faith in the religion,” said Abdul Shukor Husin, the council’s chairman.This time the target was one of the most (also among Muslims) anti-stress activities: Yoga. As mental and physical discipline, Yoga has been appreciated by many Muslim scholars, who have even suggested that the practice could be ‘Islamicized’. Continue reading

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anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Islam, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, South Asia, Terrorism, War on Terror

Not only freedom: the dark ethnic side of the Tibetan Buddhist revolt

No stereotype seems harder to die than the idea that Buddhists are peaceful and non-violent by default, as if they possessed a kind of genetic resistance to an illness affecting the majority of humanity: hate. Since the revolt in Tibet, the majority of the mass media (with few exceptions) have based their reports of the Tibetan uprising through the lens of such a stereotype and their myopia of the reality of Tibet. The stories report the revolt principally as a struggle for independence from the oppressive power of China which started in October 1950. Surely, there is some truth in this. But the mass media, as unfortunately academics, and even anthropologists specialised in Tibetan Buddhism, have hidden what I call the ‘dark ethnic side’ of the revolt. The reasons are multiple and I will not discuss them here, as I will not discuss here the figure of the Dalai Lama, who surely emanates lots of ‘enlightening wisdom’, but also many, often totally unreported and answered, shadows. Continue reading

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anthropology, Gender, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, jihad, marranci, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, sociology, South Asia, Sunni, Uncategorized, University, War on Terror

The Anthropology of Islam

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

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Afghanistan, America, anthropology, Bush, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Europe, Freedom, Journalism, Politics, South Asia, War on Terror

From the Taliban to the Taliban: the case of Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh

Why did our European and US governments invade Afghanistan? How many of us can recall the general rhetoric of a Just War fought in the name of an ‘Enduring Freedom’ to liberate Afghan women from their burqa and Afghan men from their long beards, as well as bringing to justice bin-Laden? The Afghan campaign has been a half military success, with US and Nato generals blaming each other for the other half failure, while bin-Laden, if not dead by natural cause, can celebrate Bush’s most evident flop. The Afghan war, while facilitating a new form of old corruption in the cities and capital, has increased the suffering of the rural population, often caught in battles of which they are only the victims. Yet some say that Afghanistan is now a better place since it is on the route toward democracy, though a fictional and corrupted one. Continue reading

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