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This article focuses on how the digital age has affected the Crimean Tatar religious authorities in the emerging cyber-Islamic environment. I argue that despite government restrictions, the internet remains a safe space for public debate and for challenging Muslim authorities in Crimea. I also argue that although online media have allowed traditional Muslim authorities in Crimea to improve communication within their organization and expand their audiences, they have become a platform for challenging their hierarchies, structures, ideologies, and texts. First, the structure of the Crimean Muslim community is outlined. I then describe the Crimean cyber-Islamic environment, before using social-media analysis and interviews with Muslim leaders to analyze the situation in the Crimean Tatars’ cyber-Islamic environment, with a focus on their religious authorities.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

While the prominence of neuroscience and neurotechnologies has generated intensive debates about the normative analysis of the ethical-legal challenges in public opinion and academia, these debates are relatively scarce among law and religion experts. To overcome the shortfall, this contribution describes the impact of the main neuroscientific applications on the right of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. Considering how neurosciences techniques can alter the mind, decode thoughts, and enhance cognitive functions, particularly individual thought and conscience, I suggest revising the traditional dichotomy of forum internum and forum externum of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and rethinking the protection of the forum internum, which is at risk in the Age of Neuroscience.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

This article discusses how the visual and embodied storytelling methods of the theater may be used in the formation of Islamic knowledge. Examining productions staged by young women in Oslo in the tradition of the Twelver Shia theater, taʿziyeh/shabih, during commemorative rituals, I ask: How did producers and actors perceive theater to generate knowledge? How were visual and embodied storytelling methods used in conveying religious knowledge? What kind of knowledge was generated? Inspired by theater theory and post-structuralist semiotics, the analysis shows that the theater had transformative qualities that could contribute to cultural transmission, education, and moral and spiritual development. Knowledge was produced through sensorial communication, thinking, and understanding, and was held to emerge from the spectators’ and actors’ aesthetic and affective experiences, in addition to their abilities to create emotional relations with holy protagonists and the divine. The learning outcome was therefore presented as open-ended and invited young spectators and actors to take responsibility and reflect on how to act and respond in our time.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
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In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
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Abstract

Looking back at the articles collected in this issue, I want to propose that Asia is a privileged space for Islamic studies for addressing three questions in particular that are relevant for the wider discipline and demand a radical rethinking of familiar understandings of Islam as it has come to be represented in contemporary scholarship. First, the highly heterogeneous landscapes of Islamic Asia invite us to consider the significance of cultural, linguistic, and religious complexity in Islam more broadly. Second, while exhibiting the fundamental changes that Asian Muslims have navigated against the background of the increasing reach of colonialism and globalization, the preceding articles simultaneously resist easy dichotomizations between tradition and modernity. And third, a focus on Islam in Asia allows us to reassess established paradigms of transmission with its various infrastructures, as well as understandings of centers and peripheries undergirding such processes of transmission.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
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Abstract

This article examines the intersections of gender, consumption, and Muslim cosmopolitanism in the emerging bridal fashions of the Hui Muslims in Xi’an, China. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Xi’an during 2015 and 2016, I analyze the visual and textual discourses surrounding urban Hui Muslims’ pursuit of a globalized Muslim lifestyle, with a particular emphasis on fashion and representations of women. I explore how the image of the modern Muslim is produced and constructed in Hui-owned bridal salons, which offer bridal makeovers and stage wedding portraiture. By focusing on the perspectives of entrepreneurs within the bridal fashion and portraiture industry, I examine the production of ideal bridal aesthetics and a cosmopolitan female piety that are intertwined with universal Muslim values. This affinity for the universal fosters a sense of superiority among the Hui in their predominantly Han context. Engaging with scholarship on Muslim fashion and vernacular cosmopolitanisms, I argue that the Hui’s adoption of cosmopolitan Muslim-ness embodies both globally circulated lifestyles and local interpretations of modesty and piety. This study of Hui Muslim fashion choices showcases a locally embedded transnational Muslim modernity and underscores the diverse ways in which individuals position themselves within their imagined Muslim ummah.

In: International Journal of Islam in Asia
Free access
In: International Journal of Islam in Asia

Abstract

This special issue explores historical and contemporary Asian Islamic traditions to offer an intentional grounding of Islamic studies in and as Asian Studies. Utilizing data from South, Southeast, and East Asian materials, the articles examine Islamic languages and literatures, socio-political institutions, legal practices, miracle workers and pilgrimage networks, and contemporary popular cultures. We build upon scholarship that represents global Islam as a civilizational process, a discursive tradition, a hermeneutic engagement, or as a cosmopolis. In drawing on Asian practices we reassess key categories, conclusions, and questions in the study of Islam such as the nature of Muslim centers and peripheries, the role of ambiguity in religious expression, the importance of the visual arts to identity formation, the gendered dimensions of legal authority and practice, the role of languages other than Arabic in constructing the Muslim community, and how modern Muslim welfare organizations and women’s pious fashion serve the aspirational goals of individuals and communities. Rectifying the legacies of colonialism and Orientalism in the marginalization of Asia in the study of Islam, we argue Islamic studies has much to learn from Asian perspectives and that Asia is an exceptional place from which the field can conceptualize Islamic traditions in broader terms.

Free access
In: International Journal of Islam in Asia