In 1999, the European Council for Fatwa and Research issued a fatwa that legitimized mortgages for Muslims in Europe who are not homeowners. While this groundbreaking text gained some academic attention, little has been written about its reception and impact. Through a field study in three Islamic centers in Stockholm, this article examines the conflicting opinions about this religious decision among imams and mosque attendees and demonstrates that both the most ardent supporters of the European Council and its staunchest critics engage with the legitimization of mortgages in ways that are independent and original and correspond with their personal understanding of the situation of local Muslims.
Against the backdrop of rising Islamophobia and a deficit in the literature of Muslim experiences of resistance to discrimination through the legal action, in this article, I employ an auto-ethnographic methodological approach to critically reflect on my journey from classroom to courtroom, as a British Muslim woman of colour and litigant-in-person. While threading in excerpts of legal documents from the case, I highlight that: (a) as Muslims we must resist in ways acceptable to gate-keepers of the law, who are largely white and middle-class and unaware of the embodied realities of the inequality that minorities in Britain experience; (b) the law fails to take account of the “context” in which discrimination(s) takes place, as a result of which legal logic(s) and methodologies in cases of religious discrimination are flawed; (c) a religio-social capital operates against Muslims, negating positive social capital(s) such as education, and which, in the social penalties Muslims experience, accumulates greater weight than other intersecting subjectivity markers such as race, class, ethnicity, and gender. I contrast King’s theory of “multiple jeopardy” with my embodied experience of discrimination and inequality, which I demonstrate using the model of the glass Rubik’s cube.
Nella van den Brandt
In this article, I draw on critical investigations of gendered, racialised and sexualised discourses on Islam and Muslim minorities in Western Europe to explore two recent instances of Muslim female intellectuals and artists responding to what has been dubbed “the Muslim question”. I shall show that Muslim women’s counter-voices are multilayered, conveyed through various means, and context-dependent, as well as dependent on intersectional marginalised positionalities. My goal is to theoretically rethink the feminist methodology of ‘talking back’ on the basis of the complex ways in which Muslim women establish modes of critique.
Throughout 230-year long history, from Russian Empire, through Soviet Union to present day Russia the institution of muftiate has continuously served as an instrument of state religious policy in relation to Muslims. Guided by various considerations, the authorities have kept the institution itself but did not allow individual muftiates to create a united all-Russian Muslim centre. The article discusses such a phenomenon of 2010s as “parallel” muftiates, designed to become an alternative, “third force” to the existing federal muftiates. The article hypothesizes that one of the main tasks of “parallel” muftiates is to prevent federal muftiates from uniting.
Public Marginality or Spiritual Privatisation?
This work analyses the case of Sufi revival in post-socialist Albania, where the religious field has been fragmented by the competing actions of different actors (local, regional and foreign) and by the critical and individualised religiosity of the faithful. Sufi public life is substantially marginalised by the monopoly of the esoteric Baktashis and Sunni political strategies. Thus, many Sufi faithful prefer to live their religious experience and express their practice in inner, private and virtual spaces. This dynamics has transformed the Sufi path and the charismatic authority of the Shaykhs.
a Case Study of Selected Muslims in North East England
W.A. Amir Zal
This article explores how social capital acts as a lubricant to create good interactions and relationships to help Muslim communities exercise their rights, buttressed by support systems. An exploratory case study involving 24 participants is conducted in North East England. Findings reveal that good social capital assists participants in communicating beyond their communities, and creates mutual understanding and acceptance within Muslim communities and with other locals. Muslim community organisations and support systems help them exercise their rights and practise religious obligations. Thus, social capital is a lubricant that helps the Muslim community exercise their rights and be accepted as locals.
David Perez-Des Rosiers
Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (prc), Beijing’s position in the Middle East has undergone important changes. Its influence in the region has grown in recent years in relation to its Belt-Road Initiative (bri). The instability of the region represents a constant challenge for China as some countries have to deal with sectarian divisions and complex political situations. Lebanon and Syria are also two countries constituted of complex domestic situations. This paper covers the evolution of China’s relations with both countries since 1949 with a comparative analysis. It demonstrates the similar approach of Beijing in its relations with Syria and Lebanon. Its relations with both countries have been punctuated by ups and downs, but mutual collaboration have increased recently due to their geostrategic position for the bri and their needs regarding infrastructures. The role of influential states in the region is taken into consideration for a better understanding of China’s position. It describes the non-intervention policy of Beijing. This paper analyzes that even if China’s relations and investments with Syria and Lebanon are set to increase in the upcoming years, Beijing will most likely remain patient and prudent regarding both countries.