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, Bush, David Horowitz, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Robert Spencer, sociology, Terrorism, War on Terror

American Muslims, Muslimphobia, and dangerous chemerias

The debate concerning Islam and Muslims in the US is a very heated one – sometimes beyond metaphors. The fear that Sharia will rule in the land of the free is a strong one, so much so that there has been more than one attempt to legally ban ‘sharia’.  Newt Gingrich, former House speaker who led the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, exclaimed

Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools as a way to “replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia

The list of American anti-Muslim politicians, commentators and pundits is long and often all linked to the Christian Republican right. The most quoted are  Ann Coulter, whom invited a Muslim student to take a camel instead of a plane, Fox News personality Sean Hannity, whom drew a parallel between Islam and Nazism, Glenn Beck,  Daniel Pipes , as well as showbiz personalities such as the well known “Jihad watcher” and the “femme fatal” of  fear mongering, author of “Stop the Islamization of America“. 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, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Europe, Genocide, Immigration, Islam, Islam in Europe, Italy, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, The UK, Uk government, War on Terror

The Libyan massacre: or rather protesters killed for Italian and European interests?

Libyan protesters are facing one of the most violent repressions that the wave of Arab revolts have witnessed to date. Yesterday reports of Libyan aircraft and Apache helicopters bombing and shooting the protesters started to circulate. This was just after Gaddafi’s son proclaimed to the world that Libya was not witnessing a revolt against one of the most oppressive and inhuman regimes in North Africa and the Middle East, but rather a civil war. In reality this is a regime that has declared, as many other times before, war on its own population. The question that we may ask, however, is why Gaddafi has preferred the bloodbath to an easy, and wealthy, exit. Many were the options open to him before he started the massacre. Now, of course, few are left. Is Gaddafi just defending his own interests? Is there something more than just a struggle to maintain power? 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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Academia, anthropology, Democracy and Justice, Freedom, Islam, Islam in Europe, jihad, marranci, Muslims, Politics, Prison, Research, Scotland, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War on Terror

British Prisons and terrorism: the foretold failure

A few days ago, the head of MI5 Jonathan Evans has undertaken the unusual step of revealing, among other aspects linked to the security of the UK, his own concerns that a number of soon-to-be-freed inmates are still ‘committed extremists and likely to return to terrorist activities.’ As an anthropologist who has conducted one of the most in-depth research projects on Muslims in prison in the UK, his quite alarmist announcement did not take me by surprise. I am pretty sure that Mr Evans has every right to be concerned. Yet the British public needs to also know why today we find ourselves in such situation and where the political responsibility lies. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, jihad, marranci, Muslim family, Muslims, Politics, Prison, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Scotland, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, War on Terror

New book: Faith, Ideology and Fear-Muslim Identities Within and Beyond Prisons

I am pleased to inform you that my book ‘Faith, Ideology, and Fear: Muslim Identities Within and Beyond Prisons‘, published by Continuum, is now available. This book is based on my 4-year-research both within UK prisons as well as outside them. I have written about the research itself before. You can find the book both in bookstores as well as Internet sellers such as Amazon.com. Unfortunately, as many academic books today, the publisher has decided to issue first the hardback and consider a paperback only in the case that, after one year, the book has sold enough. So, if you are interested in reading it, and you cannot afford the price, ask the librarian at your university or public library to acquire it (there is also an electronic copy which is cheeper). Below I shall offer a summary of the chapters. If you wish, you can read the full Introduction on my personal website. Continue reading

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