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Reading Islam

Life and Politics of Brotherhood in Modern Turkey


Fabio Vicini

In Reading Islam Fabio Vicini offers a journey within the intimate relations, reading practices, and forms of intellectual engagement that regulate Muslim life in two enclosed religious communities in Istanbul. Combining anthropological observation with textual and genealogical analysis, he illustrates how the modes of thought and social engagement promoted by these two communities are the outcome of complex intellectual entanglements with modern discourses about science, education, the self, and Muslims’ place and responsibility in society. In this way, Reading Islam sheds light on the formation of new generations of faithful and socially active Muslims over the last thirty years and on their impact on the turn of Turkey from an assertive secularist Republic to an Islamic-oriented form of governance.

Muslims at the Margins of Europe

Finland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal


Edited by Tuomas Martikainen, José Mapril and Adil Hussain Khan

This volume focuses on Muslims in Finland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal, representing the four corners of the European Union today. It highlights how Muslim experiences can be understood in relation to a country’s particular historical routes, political economies, colonial and post-colonial legacies, as well as other factors, such as church-state relations, the role of secularism(s), and urbanisation. This volume also reveals the incongruous nature of the fact that national particularities shaping European Muslim experiences cannot be understood independently of European and indeed global dynamics. This makes it even more important to consider every national context when analysing patterns in European Islam, especially those that have yet to be fully elaborated. The chapters in this volume demonstrate the contradictory dynamics of European Muslim contexts that are simultaneously distinct yet similar to the now familiar ones of Western Europe’s most populous countries.

Uriya Shavit


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.

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.

Mohamed-Ali Adraoui

This article reports the results of an ethnographic study of migration patterns (al‐Hijra) in French Salafist communities. The study reveals the break that Salafist believers attempt to achieve with their social and cultural environment after they embrace this puritanical, hard‐line form of Islam. For Salafists, migration represents a physical and above all moral exile that begins before converts depart for predominantly Muslim countries. Indeed, the migration process begins gradually as believers seek to distance themselves from ‘sources of perversion’ in France that Salafists oppose.

Muhammad Qasim Sodhar

Pakistan’s population growth is the highest in Asia, yet savings is the lowest. By looking at the concept and meaning of development, this paper analyzes how population growth, along with problems of bad governance, inter-provincial and intra-provincial economic disparities, and poor–rich divides have affected Pakistan’s economic development. The study focuses on the relationship between population growth and economic development by looking at the Malthusian population trap theory, taking Pakistan as a contemporary case study. Also discussed is whether population growth is an actual problem behind poverty and underdevelopment, or whether the problem is caused by something else, such as unequal distribution of wealth between developed and developing nations or poor–rich divides. The paper addresses the political Left’s point of view and looks at inter-provincial economic disparity in Pakistan. Having discussed the problems of population growth and inter-provincial economic disparity in Pakistan through comparative study of Punjab, the most populated and highly developed province, with other provinces of Pakistan, specifically Balochistan, through analyzing the merger of Balochistan with Pakistan to the emergence of the Baloch separatist movement, this paper shows possible ways to resolve these issues in light of social, political, and religious issues prevailing in Pakistani society today.

Jan A. Ali

Muslims believe that shari’a is God’s law or a divinely revealed law. In Islamic tradition shari’a covers the physical, intellectual, and spiritual needs of human life and comprises a composite of rules of conduct and forms a source of complete guidance towards the right path – siraat al mustaqeem – for the entire humanity. Islam as a complete way of life demands its adherents to follow and carry out the injunctions of the shari’a in all aspects of life. However, Muslims in Australia are a part of a modern secular nation-state which operates under common law system and its constitution demands a separation of church and state. It is in this context this paper sociologically examines the understanding and application of shari’a in Muslim everyday living. It posits that despite the secular nature of Australian state, Muslims are able to implement shari’a in their everyday-living as it is an essential source of guidance for them and forms the basis of being a “good” Muslim. Muslims don’t demand the constitutionalization of shari’a but a wider recognition of it in Australia as it continues to be important and the foundation of their religion, their mode of existence, and ethico-moral structure.

Abdul-Azim Ahmed


There are nearly 2000 mosques in Britain by some estimates, however there is yet to develop a vocabulary to describe their diversity, akin to the common terms used to describe Christian places of worship (chapel, church, cathedral). I outline here the typology of the interspatial mosque to provide a coherent theorisation of how mosques operate, their priorities, and the ways in which they situate themselves as what are sometimes called “multipurpose” or “multifunctional mosques”. In order to pin the abstract typology to the empirical, I use several case studies, but contend that the findings can be generalised across Britain, with implications for research on mosques in other locations. The article argues mosques can be divided into three tiers, the fard, which focuses on the daily prayers, the fard kifaya, which hosts communal activities, and the sunna, which aims to recreate the prophetic example in the modern period in various ways.