Ideology of mixing? Should tolerance be acceptance?

Recently a piece of news from an otherwise internationally unknown college attracted the attention of social media, news, and created a huge twitter and blog response. The object of such (probably unwanted) attention  is the  South Puget Sound Community College where  staff members decided to hold a ‘happy hour’ to ‘build support and community’ for ‘people of color’ (interesting how this terminology is back by the way) as long as the color was not White. The  exclusion of White people provoked the expected reaction of the ‘happy hour’ being canceled and the activity labelled racist in itself. Yet the organisers — after apologies — insisted that their request to exclude Whites originated from a rational and not racist fact: members of an in-group communicate and understand each other better. Continue reading

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

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