Normativity of Migration Studies Ethics and Epistemic Community

In: Migration and Islamic Ethics
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Sari Hanafi
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Abstract

Much scholarship highlights the importance of using indigenous paradigms for social science and of stripping social science from some hegemonic trends influenced by Western materialistic and colonial ethos. While several schools of thought have pushed in this direction, this approach has some excesses, including positing antagonistic binary categories. In this article, I will raise three questions to echo this debate: first, can one talk about an epistemic social science community that possesses certain normative positions? If yes, what would these positions be? Would binary categories generated by the above-mentioned perspectives inform us about the way social science should head to reach a context where Muslims live in the world? I have chosen the topic of migration as a particularly salient topic, rife with major waves of forced and voluntary migration, racism, Islamophobia and ethnic diversity. Empirically, I conducted a content analysis of 74 recent academic articles in Arabic, English and French. The results demonstrate that when migration studies scholars are normative, they combine Weberian ethics of conviction and of responsibility in order to make often sound social/political judgments. This combination makes them refuse a position that is too permissive in the sense any means are justifiable to secure particular ends (refuting overemphasis on security approach in relation to migration for instance). This combination often puts social scientists in a dilemma that sometime encodes paradoxes: protecting local employment v/s open borders for refugees/migrants; multiculturalism v/s some migrant cultural habits that contradict some basic principles of human rights, etc. This cannot be discussed in famous dichotomies of scholars of Islamization of social science or post-colonial studies (community v/s individual, tradition v/s. modernity, revelation v/s reason, history v/s present time, central v/s periphery etc.).

Human rights must by definition be universal because they are the rights of every human being, but I also see their universality as possible only through an overlapping cross-cultural consensus, and not by univer­salizing relativist liberal values.

An-Naʿim 2013

1 Introduction

Much scholarship highlights the importance of using indigenous paradigms for social science and of stripping social science from some hegemonic trends influenced by “Western materialistic and colonial ethos.” While several schools of thought have pushed in this direction, this approach has some excesses, including positing antagonistic binary categories (tradition/modernity, East/West, immanent nature/transcendent supernatural, reason/faith, rational/irrational, English language/vernacular language, universalism/contextualism, etc.). In previous work, I have criticized the outcome of the Islamization of social science (Hanafi 2016a) and its use of post-colonialism as the only perspective (Hanafi 2016b). In this article, I argue about the conceits of such trends harbored within the intellectual, spiritual, and political configurations of today’s debate about social science and ethics.

In the concept paper for the seminar “Migration and Islamic Ethics: Issues of Residence, Naturalisation and Citizenship,” organized by the Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics, the organizers point out the following: “Since the postcolonial era, much of the contemporary literature on the compatibility of Islamic values and “modernization” processes, such as globalization, demo­cracy and citizenship have focused upon Muslims residing in Europe and the US. The compatibility is often studied under a secularist framework, implying that many aspects of modernization are incompatible with religious frameworks” (emphasis added). I do not think talking about compatibility under secularist framework helps us to understand the difference between current knowledge production in migration studies and what would be a social science of migration informed by Islamic ethics. In addition, this is very different from the series of questions that were raised in the concept paper, such as, “What are the basic criteria upon which an individual can be considered a “citizen” of a certain country from an Islamic ethical perspective? How similar/different are these criteria from the contemporary legal frameworks adopted by Western countries? Which frameworks seem closer to the Islamic ethical perspective” These questions are well formulated, as they are not juxtaposed in antagonistic polar opposites.

In this article, I will raise three questions to echo this debate: first, can one talk about an epistemic social science community that possesses certain normative stances? If yes, what would these stances be? Would binary categories generated by the two above-mentioned perspectives inform us about the way social science should head to reach a context where Muslims live in the world? I chose the topic of migration as a particularly salient topic in the twenty-first century, which is rife with major waves of forced and voluntary migration, racism, Islamophobia and ethnic diversity. I conducted a content analysis of 74 recent academic articles: 24 articles in English, selected from the library database of the American University of Beirut and 26 in Arabic, selected from Al Manhal database, and 24 in French, mainly from the French journal Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales. I chose two keywords: “migration” and “religion,” to locate how religion is viewed in migration studies, and how Islam in Western society becomes an immigrant religion. However, for the articles in Arabic and French, I was obliged to drop the word religion to yield and select more recent articles. It is not assumed that academic journals are singularly important, but they do impact public and policy debates on migration.

In the following section, I will start by defining two moments in social science: the global/universalistic moment and the normative moment. Then I will explain the empirical sample and its “sociological markers” which include some quantitative measures of variables such as discipline, language and institutional affiliation. Finally, I will show the outcome of my content analysis.

1.1 Two Moments in Social Science

I distinguish between the global/universalistic moment and the local/norma­tive moment in knowledge production of the social sciences. First, within the global/universalistic moment, this Aristotelian moment of Reason insists that social science is like any science and hence needs techniques of conducting research. This requires a nomothetic approach to produce data that will allow for comparability with studies in other contexts. This comparability is the equivalent of laboratory experimentation in the “hard” sciences. The second moment is the local/normative moment where the notion of consciousness, in the words of Hawari Al-Adi (2014), became impor­tant. The subjectivity of actors and the influence of culture/religion became compelling, requiring a more idiographic approach that seeks to fully understand the causes of social events, while taking into account the local culture. Of course, normativity can also come from the global and we can draw a more complex matrix that will not be tackled here. For some time, there has been a positivist debate about the social research that hides its normative moment of consciousness. However, since the 1960s it was developed more openly. For instance, the Presi­dent of the International Sociological Association, Georges Friedmann (1961) insisted on the normative moment, suggesting that true sociologists share fundamental values, and the new sociologist has become “the moralist of industrial society.” As we will see in the analysis below, social scientists, at least in migration studies, combine a Weberian ethic of conviction (defined here as liberal, multiculturalist and with a neo-enlighten­ment framework) and an ethic of responsibility.

2 Sociological Markers of the Articles under Review

This section introduces some of the main characteristics of the sample articles by quantifying the sociological markers of each of them. While 74 articles were submitted to content analysis, only 46 (in Arabic and English) were included in the statistical analysis (French articles were excluded as their analysis was added later). More than the half of the articles are in Arabic and published in journals located inside the Arab region (see Tables 7.1 and 7.2). All but 4 articles are single-authored. Eighty five per cent of them are written by academic faculty, while the remaining are professional researchers (Table 7.3). The authors are mainly sociologists and political scientists, but some are from other disciplines (Table 7.4). More than half the authors are affiliated to institutions located in the Arab World, especially in Algeria and Morocco. The US and Germany are the most important two Western countries (Table 7.5). Most of the articles were published in the last 5 years (Table 7.6).

Most of the articles are largely desktop critiques of existing literature, while a quarter are based on fieldwork, using mainly qualitative methods (except for articles using secondary data, mainly those in Arabic) (Table 7.10). A few are essays without references (Table 7.7). In terms of geographical scope of the article, more than half are case studies about one country, while the rest are dealing either with particular regions or international (Table 7.8.).

Both Arabic and English articles in the sample deal with the different modes of incorporation of migrants. The English articles focus on religion as practice and institutions in host societies, the public perception of migrants and political problems in the host countries. As Martikainen (2014, 78) noted regarding the literature in English language: “In the 2000s, the input of political science in the study of Muslim minorities has become stronger and in this context state–church/religion relations have been seen as significant in explaining differences between immigrant receiving countries and how they handle their immigrant-origin Muslim minorities.” The Arabic articles focus more on the causes of migration, policy, refugees and security. More than half of the articles dealing with religion have dealt with Islam as a religion either alone or comparatively with other religions (Table 7.9).

3 Content Analysis of Themes

The analysis will not address the quality of the scholarship, neither in terms of the methodologies that have been deployed, nor on the validity or reliability of data, nor be concerned with the manner in which they provided descriptions of public opinions, the benefits of migrants for sending countries, or their ethnographic accounts. The interest is more about the normative statements and arguments produced by this scholarship, whether as topic choice, starting hypotheses or finalizing conclusions. This is why the analysis shows more topics related to migrants’ host societies than to their origin societies.

Generally speaking, most of the articles in my sample combine two Weberian ethics: the ethic of conviction and the ethic of responsibility. Weber explains these two political ethics in his essay on politics as a vocation (Weber 2008). The first, as a free agent, the individual should be able to choose autonomously not only the means for an action, but also the end: “this concept of personality finds its ‘essence’ in the constancy of its inner relation to certain ultimate ‘values’ and ‘meanings’ of life” (Starr 1999, 410). The ethic of conviction thus drives value-rational action, which is defined by Weber as being “determined by a conscious belief in the value for its own sake of some ethical, aesthetic, religious, or other form of behavior, independently of its prospects for success” (ibid.).

While the ethic of conviction “recognizes a given hierarchy of values as the context for a moral endeavor, the ethic of responsibility acknowledges value obligations, but assumes the absence of any given hierarchy of values and the inevitability of value conflict as the context for a moral endeavor” (Starr 1999, 407). This means that the ethic of responsibility focuses on the possible conse­quences in the application of certain values. Having said that, “an ethic of conviction and an ethic of responsibility are not absolute contrasts but rather supplements, which only in unison constitute a genuine man—a man who can have the calling for politics” (Starr 1999, 408).

The below analysis of the articles concerning migration will inform us as to how researchers have negotiated both their ethic of conviction and responsibility while not necessarily being in conflict with Islamic ethics. By that I mean they do not reject revelation, nor do they make mention of it. I argue here that a great number of researchers in social science who deal with migration issues constitute an epistemic community that negotiates with and constantly combines both two ethics. We will see that since the 1990s, there has been a qualitative and quantitative leap in studies concerning immigrants’ religion, acknowledging their colonial past and their religious diversity.

The sample of articles shows that they espouse the major long-standing normative claims of liberalism, multiculturalism and the neo-enlightenment. Liberalism is understood as neutrality in the public sphere, the universal application of human rights, the requirement to treat all subjects equally and the prioritization of economic and political liberty (Hansen 2011). Multiculturalism here means the politics of recognition and acknowledgement of cultural specificity and communitarian life (as distinct from assimilation). As for the neo-enlightenment, it is a continuation of the enlightenment as an expansion of its original project of secular-liberal, pluralist, democratic, egalitarian, inclusive, rationalist and humanitarian society. It is more a way of life rather than a political movement (Zafirovski 2010), and a culture where the production of performative, problem-solving ethical orientations supersedes the application of overarching moralities coming from on high (Osborne 2003).

This sample of articles in migration studies demonstrates, as well as combines, the above ethics with the ethics of responsibility that has resulted in favoring migrant-admission policies, especially for refugees in host societies. They call for further integration into host societies and call upon migrants to exert more effort into the integration process.

Paradigmatically, we have witnessed a clear move from the republican paradigm that “forces” the migrant to be assimilated and even integrated to another paradigm that acknowledges the migrants’ lived experiences, their diversity, and the role of religion in their day-to-day life. Below I will select from the sample of the 74 articles some quotes that show the normative stand of the scholars. From these articles, three synthesis ones will be highlighted: 1. Peggy Levitt’s (2003) “‘You Know, Abraham Was the First Immigrant’: Religion and Transnational Migration”; 2. Sophie Bava’s (2011) “Migration-Religion Studies in France: Evolving Toward a Religious Anthropology of Movement,” and 3. Piché’s (2013) “Les théories migratoires contemporaines au prisme des textes fondateurs.”

3.1 Acknowledging the Role of Transitional Religion

First, it is interesting to note the relative absence of the theme of religion in the French social science literature while there is more in Arabic and much more in English articles. While Chaaban Sakib (2013) was interested in giving us an historical account of how Islam in Africa is a major and crucial factor that shaped Arab-African relations, Peggy Levitt (2003) in her survey of studies published about religion and transnational migration was more interested in the contemporary religion in the diaspora that grew out of diaspora studies in general, as well as in the examination of religion’s role in heightened globali­zation. She argues that there were debates “whether religion functions as a discrete, homogenizing force in its own right or if it is an arena within which individuals assert particularistic, localized identities in the face of globalization” (Levitt 2003, 850). Also other researchers document “the macro-level con­nections between global religious actors that cross national boundaries... Research on the religious practices of transnational migrants is connected to the literature on global and diasporic religion because transnational migration households, congregations and communities are sites where diasporic, global and transnational religions are created” (Levitt 2003, 857).

The role that religion plays in enabling transnational membership began to be accounted for in early 1990s: “Recent work on global religions brings to light the ways in which [migrants] create international connections that engender universal identities. Because, … religion is a global societal system as transnational in its operation, as the economy or the nation-state, it is no surprise that migrants use religious institutions to live their transnational lives” (Levitt 2003, 861).

These transnational lives provide the possibility of plurality beyond the community: “Religion and, in particular, religious movements operating in broad geographic contexts, engage in increasingly homogenized forms of worship and organization creating global communities that locals then join. Followers can choose from an array of membership options which reach far beyond their communities and cultures and transform local religious life” (Levitt 2003, 862).

Research shows that there is a diversity of lived religious experiences that have their impact not only in the host society but also the society of origin:

The hybridized or creolized religious beliefs and practices that the migration experience gives rise to emerge where local and global religious influences converge. Global religious institutions shape the transnational migration experience at the same time that migrants chip away at and recreate global religions by making them local and then starting the process anew. Transnational migrants bring particular incarnations of global religion with them, create new forms by combining what they bring with what they encounter, and then reintroduce these ideas, practices, identities, and social capital or what I call social remittances—back to their sending communities. (Levitt 2003, 851)

Some scholars highlight the increase of the impact of religion and religiosity: “there has been an increase not just in practitioners of Islam in Europe, but overall religiosity due to migration” (Martikainen 2014, 79). In the same vein, though with more normative statements about accepting Islam in Europe, Valerie A. Lewis and Ridhi Kashyap argue,

it is important not to view high levels of religiosity as an anomalous outcome, but as a potential indication of multiple pathways to immigrant adaptation within British society. Because the “actively practicing” Muslim community is diverse in both ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, institutional supports which afford equal religious opportunity (for example, easing restrictions on setting up places of worship and community centers) may enable plural forms of religion catering to this diversity to take shape. In the long run, the development of local religious infrastructure, training in government settings that respect religious diversity, and legal changes that put Islam on more equal footing with the state-sanctioned Anglian Church, will nurture a British Islam in healthy public discourse and reduce public hostility against Muslims. (Lewis and Kashyap 2013, 64)

In this same vein, Alexandros Sakellariou criticizes Greek authority for not allowing the construction of mosques in Greece:

This anti-Islamic political discourse has practical ramifications for Muslim communities in Greece from the moment it influences policy formation: they still enjoy less freedom to practice their religion than those of other faiths, clearly reflected in the lack of a proper place to worship and a cemetery to bury their dead. While they are considered a threat to national identity and to Greek society in general, […] Such anti-Islamic rhetoric has had a profound impact on the Greek Muslim community, precluding them from worshipping in any normal fashion, and making the public resistant to the construction of new mosques. (Sakellariou 2017, 514)

Some scholars report that high religiosity is also a source of civil and political engagement:

Different dimensions of religiosity affect immigrant attitudes in a number of ways. It was public religiosity such as mosque attendance, rather than internalized religious beliefs, which had the greatest impact on my respon­dents’ integration outcomes. Thus, we need to differentiate be­tween the exoteric (ritualistic/public) and esoteric (spiritual/inter­nalized) domains of religion to accurately evaluate its impact on social and political phenomena. […] The self-narratives of my informants suggested that Muslim immigrant women in Southern California are engaged in two interrelated integration strategies. On the one hand, they are engaged in a selective integration process whereby they become involved in the civic and political institutions and processes of the US, but psychologically and culturally remain distanced from the wider US society. Muslim immigrant women rely on the resources and values of their religious community and the teachings of religious institutions to determine which domains of American society to selectively integrate into and at what level. (Ozyurt 2013, 1617)

Other researchers see high religiosity as a burden (13 articles), not in a normative way, but simply describing public opinion as suspicious of migrants’ religiosity or as may lead to difficulty for integration: “Religion can be a highly insulating force, driving a wedge in nations and making migrant assimilation difficult” (Golomski 2016, 451).

3.2 Institutionalization of Migrants’ Religion

Theorists of post-secularism, Jürgen Habermas, William Connolly and José Casanova, most notably, among others, pointed out a new presence of religion in the public sphere. Martikainen (2014) argues that Casanova relates the emergence of public religion—or “deprivatization”—to “the fact that religious traditions throughout the world are refusing to accept the marginal and privatized role which theories of modernity as well as theories of secularization had reserved for them” (Casanova 1994, 5).

For Habermas, the moral intuitions of faith should be part of public discourse and be allowed to contribute to the common good. For him, the significance of public religion is in developments towards a new, “post-secular” society. Post-secularity has three characteristics: the relativization of European secularism; religious pluralization, whereby churches and other religious organizations increasingly create their own “communities of interpretation” in the public arena; and finally a realization of the permanence of a new, originally Immigrant Other, whose values are traditional and collectivist and strongly associated with religion. Post-secularity, argues Habermas, implies that society remains organized by secular legal institutions and law, which nevertheless are obliged to enable religion to maintain “a public influence and relevance” (Habermas 2008). These new notions within post-secularism will recently have impact on migration scholarship, even if post-secularism, according to Adriana Pabst (2012) is still within the framework of secularism.

Within this framework, Foner and Alba argue that religion as a belief system, institution, and community has played a major role for both first and second generation immigrants and served as a bridge to inclusion in their new society in the US, but not in Europe (Foner and Alba 2008). This position was chal­lenged by Martikainen’s (2014) work in Finland showing that Muslim organizations are increasingly seen as locations of active citizenship and as arenas of social integration. In contrast, Bassam Tibi (2010) provides an ethically responsible warning by requesting both Islamic institutions in Ger­many and the official German authority to work together to overcome a perceived “ethnicity of fear’: “This study presented a positive alternative to the negative scenario, namely the promotion of a European Islam as a variety of a civil Islam such as the one that exists in Indonesia. This vision could become reality, if both parties were committed to it. The notion “an ethnicity of fear” has nothing to do with panicking. It is an ethically responsible warning” (Tibi 2010, 150). He also criticizes the German dual system that kept Jus sanguinis and the new law of nationality (Tibi 2010). In fact, the issue of who bears responsibility is an important topic that has been dealt with by some scholars. For example, Abdel Wahid Akmeer (2014), while criticizing European policy toward Muslims, insists on a role for Islamic institutions in Europe in organizing the community and facilitating their integration in the host society.

Religious institutions play a role in communitarian solidarity: “Empirical studies have also shown that believers not only possessed a greater ability to emigrate, but a greater desire to do so as well. As the “church of migrants” becomes increasingly just that, the infrastructure of the church itself has expanded abroad, accommodating the needs and wishes of its migrant congregation” (Strielkowski, Bilan, and Demkiv 2016, 2). Peggy Levitt argues beyond the role of institutions by highlighting the contribution of the Birmingham School. This school “explores identity construction and the role of consciousness and subcultures in encouraging collective solidarity at the social margins” (Levitt 2003, 854). One may argue here that the reference to religion and culture is very important in explaining how the two enhance the sense of solidarity in migrant communities, as it was in the Islamic history between migrants (al-muhājirūn), but also between them and the hosting community in Medina, later known as the helpers (al-anṣār).

4 Post-Coloniality

Some scholars highlight the continuing legacy of empire that has also strongly influenced diaspora studies:

These explore how discursive practices and identities are constructed and imagined during the colonial, national and post-colonial periods. While this work generally tells us a lot about the transformation of religious life in the immigrant context, it has less to say about the ways in which migration continues to transform sending-country life. It tends to treat migrant and non-migrant religious life as discrete entities rather than as occurring within the same transnational social field, and influencing each other. (Levitt 2003, 854)

Other scholars point out the reason religion has been used by colonial authori­ties: “While religion often can be used by colonial authorities to control migrants, they also can find these ideologies difficult to manage and manipulate, at times causing serious issues” (Hansen 2011, 881).

Methodologically, many articles in my sample consider the migrant voice in their research and acknowledge the context of the colonial past. In his study of Islam and the North African Second Generation in France, Jean Beaman (2015, 45) confronts the mainstream idea that French Muslims are an obstacle to integration or in some way not compatible with the ideals of a secular French Republic. He conducted an ethnography of 45 Maghrebi immigrants to France. His questions centered on their religious practices, their understanding of their degree of marginalization, and how they view the two as connected, or not. The respondents viewed their religiosity not as in conflict with their French identity, but, rather, as supportive of it. One of the answers supplied Beaman with the title for his article, viewing themselves “As French as Anyone Else.”

4.1 Marginalization and Alienation in Host Society

There is a major gap between social science production in migration policy and the attitude of the European majority toward migrants. Scholars often develop normative conclusions about the problems that migrants have in host societies and the alienation that migrants feel. Sayad’s (1999) concept of “double absent” became very paradigmatical, even though Sayad did not consider the relevance of the question of religion in the context of migration (Bava 2011).

In a country such as France, migration studies moved from a republican stance, encouraging of assimilation, to a more complete acknowledgement of multiculturalism:

During this period—the late 1980s—which witnessed the beginnings of academic inquiry into multicultural society, sociologists and political scientists took an interest in the religion of the “immigrant” Other. These were the first studies of Islam in suburban France in hostels and prayer rooms; furthermore, they comprised the assumption that immigrants needed to be able to practice their religion in decent conditions and to experience their cultures fully within French society. [However], they did not analyze immigrants as full-fledged protagonists of their religion, nor did they observe the diversity of religious options available because of migration or simply on the transnational religious market. One might consider that sociologists made too strong an assumption that migration was permanent and, therefore, saw religion as one of many transplanted values that would (or must) adapt to the French secular model. (Bava 2011, 499)

Bava goes on in describing a paradigm shift:

Many studies already initiated by anthropologists by the end of the 1990s have opened the way to learning about Islam as it is experienced (the conditions in which halal meat is produced, how al-ʿEid al-Kabīr festival is organized in French urban space […], the meaning believers invest in their religious practices […], and the links between economic networks and religion […]. What motivates these researchers is no longer an approach to integration, but the objective of actual knowledge of migrants’ Islam by exploring elements of continuity between the migrants’ countries of origin and those to which they migrate.” (Bava 2011, 499)

In Germany, debate has revolved around the violence against migrant commu­nities. Schrempf criticizes the recent wave of hate crimes, and calls for more contact between migrant and host communities in order to effectively combat xenophobia (Schrempf 2001).

Other Arab authors discuss secret/illegal migration, which is driven by unbearable economic conditions, the apparent economic and social ease of those who migrated, the revenues of illegal migration, the trust in illegal ­migration networks, and most importantly the restrictions on legal migration. ʿAbd al-Qādir Muḥammad Wild-Dādā provides an example of the French government’s consideration of migrants as the scapegoat of its internal problems, like unemployment, crime, drugs and even terrorism, while neglect­ing to credit the economic contributions of migrants. He discusses the dangerous public discourse of intolerance, discrimination, terrorism, and racism, which entail more restrictions on legal migration. However, he did not study the association of religion with these discourses or with terrorism. He proposes several solutions, including dealing with migrants not as a commodity needed for the economy, or as a source of trouble and as victims of crime networks, but as a source of economic growth. He went so far as to call for the erasure of borders (al-Dāh 2013).

Another Arab author, Hala al-Hifnāwī, considers that the failure of inte­gration of the Muslim minority of Europe is one of the factors driving extremism, though there are several other factors (unemployment, economic and political marginalization, the absence of moderate religious education, the support of European countries of Israel and the United States war in Iraq). The solution, according to the author, is to pursue integration policies that balance the Muslim identity of migrants, and the European identity of the host population, and to stop the discriminatory practices in Europe against Muslims. The author suggests that any imbalance between the different identities leads to extremism. That is why she suggests policies that take into consideration the balancing of identities of Muslim minorities in Europe (al-Hafnawi 2015, 4).

In a review of the Hashem Fayad’s book The Immigration of Labor from Maghreb to Europe: Netherlands as a Model by, Abdelkader Latrach (2015) notes that there has been an increase in research interest in the Arab World on international immigration. According to him, the rise in international migration is due to the expansion of migratory patterns across the world, and the emergence of new societal, demographic, cultural, legislative and economic problems in the receiving countries as well as the sending countries. The author assesses the field, shedding light on what constitutes an immigration study: an historical context of the emergence of international migrations, an analysis of its effects on the reality of the receiving countries, their population, social, cultural and security dimensions, the study of the relationship between migrations, and the development of brain drain. Latrach highlights the importance of the analysis of the historical context of the phenomenon and the demographic aspect of migration, yet he criticizes the book, stating that the colonial history does not solely dictate the direction of immigration, but the phenomenon of the globalization of international immigration flows, the strategies of groups and individuals, and institutional differences also play a major role in the formation of those directions. The book also considered the integration of Moroccans into Dutch society as weak, but this is not due to the multiplicity of organizations of Moroccans, but to the lack of diversity in their areas and the absence of initiatives to open up to Dutch culture and to bring Moroccan culture closer to Dutch culture. In addition, integration is also related to the vision of the other, be it in educational programs, media, political party programs or social policies, or political discourse related to issues of security and identity. Here we see both the author of the review and the book consider that the Moroccan institutions (community centers abroad and the administration in charge of dealing with emigrants) are mainly responsible for the lack of integration. Also, the book considers that one of the central issues raised by international migrations is the rise of racism. This racism is due to growing hostile attitudes towards immigrants in general and Arab and Muslim immigrants in particular, and has led to the emergence of a declared “Islamophobia.” This situation coincides with the contraction of employment opportunities in the European labour markets and the decline in social policies, which leads to the raising of political slogans hostile to Arab immigrants based on the difficulty of integration of Arabs and Muslims in European societies—thus creating the problem of the integration of immigrants one of the priorities of governments in many European countries. Finally, the review article discusses the positive role of immigrants on the sending country. The author discusses how some aspects of religiosity make difficult the integration and increases racism in the Netherlands (Latrach 2015).

Another author, Mohamad Saidi was interested in the question of the integration of young Belgians of Moroccan origin into Belgian society after the attacks in Paris. According to this author, these young people have failed academically, are unemployed, and many live as part of fractured groups isolated from both their parents’ culture and the wider society around them. They suffer from issues of social stigma, social exclusion, religious extremism, identity rupture, and academic failure. The article’s main argument is that the phenomenon of poverty, marginalization, policies of exclusion and discrimination, and even the dominant Islamic religious culture there (which tends in some respects to extremism and the rejection of the other), are not sufficient to explain the rebellious tendencies and non-integration that drive them to religious extremism. They suffer from an identity based confusion and an insecurity which leads them to create fragile social and societal affiliations, thus leaving them unable to satisfy their feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction, and therefore also unable to belong to the Belgian society. The greater the sense of identity confusion caused by self-isolation or social exclusion, the less plausible is the development of values of pluralism, coexistence and the integration of these young people into Belgian society (Saadi 2017).

In my sample, few Arab scholars were interested in the situation of migrants/refugees in the Arab world. ʿĀshūr Raḥūma wrote about refugees in South Darfour who suffer major human rights violations due to governmental and organizational failures to accommodate their basic human rights (Raḥūma 2016). Nabīl al-Sahlī made similar statements about the reason why Lebanese authorities treated the Palestinians from Syria poorly (al-Sahlī 2014). In the same vein, in his article “South-South Migration and Security Risks: Political Islam and Violent Extremism in the Shadow of Globalisation in Bangladesh” Hasan Mubashar argues how migration to Saudi Arabia by many Bangladeshis led to the creation of ISIS in Bangladesh, but he also argues against a mere security solution, and calls for “a long soft campaign to counter propaganda of Islamists who undermine state and peace. The government also needs to scale up countering messages for violent extremism coming through the Internet and social media” (Mubashar 2017, 312).

Other scholars call for investing in Islamic rules and regulations, as they constitute “a valuable source for protection of the rights of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. In addition to contractual responsibilities, they could serve as a faith-based guarantor of the rights of refugees, particularly women and children. Further exploration of respected Islamic sources could result in new mechanisms in this regard” (Rahaei 2009, 4).

4.2 Against Security and Selectivity Paradigms

Although the theme of radicalization in Europe and North American was present in many articles (12 articles), many scholars argued against the securitization of migration. Falco criticized some extreme statistical studies that argue against receiving refugees and migrants from Islamic countries and point out that more “radical” individuals in the Muslim community are less likely to migrate than the more moderate (Falco and Rotondi 2016). Other scholars argue that closed borders will not end the illegal migration and criticize the reason why the European Union deals with illegal migration as a security problem and links it to terrorism and crime. This emphasis, according to him, should shift from the problem of helping the southern Middle East in solving economic, political, and social problems (Farijeh and Farijeh 2018; Haroush 2015).

For some, there is no need for help from Europe; changes are already occur­ring locally: “the Arab Spring revolutions have succeeded in bringing political change. This change can open the door to political freedom and economic prosperity that can put an end to Arab migration, especially among young ­people” (Abdul-Rahman 2013, 245).

All migration policies of the twentieth century are based on a postulate considered immutable: immigration is a privilege and not a right (Piché 2013). Many scholars have challenged that and the selectivity introduced by the liberalism and logic of a globalized labour market (e.g. Kabbanji 2011). With the increased number of asylum seekers, many scholars argue for burden sharing between all countries. Four prominent French scholars in a report delivered to Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs call for multilateralism (Badie et al. 2008). Generally speaking, the journal of Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales has adopted a human rights approach against the security and selectivity paradigms. Many articles in this journal have provided excellent fieldworks about the frontier zones that become places of police repression against refugees who wait a long time to be granted refuge (e.g. Agier 2014). A special issue of this journal was about migrant minors. For instance, Jacqueline Bhabha argues,

Whether they are asylum seekers, independent migrants, trafficked youth or children smuggled for family reunion purposes, or whether their status is unclear (between categories or within several), all young migrants need protection and assistance of one sort or another—safe accommo­dation, and protection from exploitation, from the risks of criminalization, from deprivation of food and medical care at a minimum. (Bhabha 2014, 37)

It is noteworthy that this journal is published by the Migrinter, a research laboratory specialized in international migration, hosted by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société de Poitiers (France). Adopting the “migration project” as a paradigm that privileges to present migrant voices and their points of view, this research center was for a long time consulting with the Ministry of Social Affairs (the French institution which deals with the questions of migration and naturalisation) and the Institute of High Studies of Defense. Its researchers have kept their critical edge while conducting some policy studies. At the European level, the recent EU report Research on Migration: Facing Realities and Maximising Opportunities (King and Lulle 2016) displays a summary of the findings of six projects funded by EU. All push for more integration of migrants and refugees in European space, with more pluralism and increased admissions.

5 Academics as Activists

Some members of this epistemic community have become active in volun­teering to help refugees learn languages and apply to universities. Holmes and Castaneda point out that anthropologists and Syrian refugees in Germany have begun ethnographic experiments on verbal and musical dialogue, weekly socializing in a neighborhood café, dialogical courses in the department of anthropology involving Syrian refugees and university students, activism to push the university to admit Syrian refugees, and collaborative writing and publishing to participate in the war of position more actively together. In addition, many of the faculty and students volunteer regularly in housing, health care, registration, and other services for refugees. These efforts have complemented other forms of horizontal political solidarity that have emerged (Holmes and Castaneda 2016). The conference that was organized at the American University of Beirut in November 2017 witnessed many initiatives conducted by the faculty in receiving refugees. Indeed, there is a long tradition of connection between academics and religious scholars who championed the cause of immigrants. One example would be clergymen Father Jacques Ghys of the missionary order of the White Fathers who established an academic journal in early 1950s Hommes et Migrations (“Men and Migration”) and who created Amana (Assistance Morale Aux Nord-Africains), an association for aid and mutual assistance for North Africans with a focus on literacy training.

5.1 The Counter-Paradigm

So far, I have argued that there is a sort of mainstream epistemic community that combines the ethic of conviction with responsibility and that normatively supports acknowledging the migrants’ causes. However, some exceptions can be found. Some conservative scholars who call for no innovation in the fiqh related to economic matters when migrants are in non-Muslim majority coun­tries (Bardaweel 2016). For example, some Lebanese scholars (and politicians) have used the fear of permanent Palestinian settlements as a scarecrow, while declaring both their support for Palestine, and opposition to imperialism and Zionism. In the language of the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury “they love Palestine and hate the Palestinians.” It is as if they were telling us that the liberation of Palestine was possible only through the further debilitation and humiliation of the Palestinian refugees.

6 Conclusion

When migration studies scholars are normative, they combine the Weberian ethics of conviction and of responsibility in order to make sound social/political judgments. This combination leads to a refusal of positions that are too permissive in the sense that any means are justifiable to secure particular ends (for example, refuting overemphasis on the security approach in relation to migration). This combination often puts social scientists in a dilemma that sometimes encodes paradoxes: protecting local employment v/s open borders for refugees/migrants; multiculturalism v/s some migrant cultural habits that contradict some basic principles of human rights. This cannot be discussed by simply invoking famous dichotomies of scholars of Islamization of social science or post-colonial studies (community v/s individual, tradition v/s. modernity, revelation v/s reason, history v/s present time, central v/s periphery, etc.). This is only possible by bringing in some complexity, nuance, precision and caution and by constructing a more appropriate framework for understanding the mix of micro and macro that characterizes the global situation today.

Coming back to what I posit in the introduction, I distinguished between the global/universalistic moment and normative moment in social science. I argue here that for religious science it has similarly two moments which requires its own technics of interpreting revealed text and religious tradition. While I expect mainly a separation of methods for the first moment, I don’t for the local/normative moment. I expect collaboration between social science and religious ethics as each can be informed by the other. Social scientists combine ethics of conviction (defined here as liberal, multiculturalist and with neo-enlightenment framework) and ethics of responsibility, while Islamic ethicists would provide what would be a primordial constant in Islam that should be taken into account in this normative moment. These different ethics will enter into tension that should be resolved through dialog, mutual learning and beyond a mere legalism or rationalism. Here the connection between social scientists and religious scholars are very important. Both should be allied to developing a thought that takes into account the benefit of their society and balances determinism and utopia. Social scientists need to learn about people’s traditions in order to understand their spirituality, emotion and habitus, and religious scholars need to understand how people perceive what is good and bad in everyday life and their ʿurf (customs) in order to establish fiqh al-wāqiʿ (social and political jurisprudence that changes in accordance with the external reality).1 In this regard, Abbas Barzegar provides in this volume an excellent example how Muslim humanitarianism that was developed through “synthesis between living traditions of aklhāq, adab, and fiqh in Islamic terms as well as a type of ‘practical theology’ in Western terms.” He argues:

Muslim humanitarianism can inform emerging Islamic legal and ethical approaches to civic engagement, democratic culture, and global citizen­ship by virtue of the fact that existing custom (ʿurf) of Muslims in these spaces has now come to prioritize humanistic principles that transcend national, ethnic, sectarian, and ideological agendas. At the same time, these practices are thoroughly fused with the larger aims and objectives (maqasid) of Islam and the Shariʿa and thereby have become part of the customary understanding of Islamic truth by millions of Muslims around the world.

As discussed above, our results show that, in my sample, scholars support the claim of migrants for keeping the specificity of their religious differences and acknowledging their biographies and histories and pace of integration. Instead of being praised, however, there has been a trend of Don Quixote phantas­magoric battles with these scholars, taxed by many postcolonial and knowledge Islamization scholars for being inattentive to the lived experience of Muslims, including their spiritual life and their colonial past. Having said that, it is time also for social science, mainly, but not only, in the West, to put more effort into accounting for the voice of the migrant community and to read and to cite from the research produced in the South and in local languages.

I argue here, at least in regard to migration studies, that the requested new paradigms are there. The real discussion would be how to reconcile the competing values of liberalism, multiculturalism and neo-enlightenment with local culture and religious ethics. This cross-fertilization between both sets makes migration studies robust. Basically, yet with many exceptions, the literature calling for the Islamization of social knowledge does not deliver many tools for connecting social science with Islamic ethics. While focusing so much on the primary assumptions concerning secularist, materi alistic or utilitarian biases, they forgot that the main mission of social science is being critical, i.e. it has the capacity to question the current social and political powers from any intentional and unintentional bad consequences. One may look at the tra­jectory of migration studies, as it went from encouraging assimilation to acknowledging diversity and lived-experience, instead of trying to untie social scientists’ shoelaces every minute, hoping for them to trip. The engagement with social science should be by providing a critique, rather than a criticism. This means that instead of trying to challenge its production based on a set of independently defined values and categories, one is to proceed immanently to different migration theories, from within their own terms and categories in order to show how they relate to one another, and whether they are mutually consistent. Good critique should be empirical and not based on conspiracy theories. In the time of post-truth discourses, especially in social media, critical sciences have been dismissed as ideological, useless and therefore unworthy of public funding (Piovani 2017). Now should be the time for consolidation, rather than dividing academics between universalists vs contextualists. In the direction of consolidation, one may find common ground with contemporary reformists such as Ali Shariati, Abdolkarim Soroush, and Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naʿim who called for Islamic liberalism (Mir 2017).

Appendix

Table 7.1

Number and percentage of articles by language

N %
Arabic 26  56.5
English 20  43.5
Total 46 100.0
Table 7.2

Geographical regions of the journals

  N  %
Valid Arab World 26 59.1
Abroad 18 40.9
Total 44 100.0
Missing System 2
Total 46
Table 7.3

Types of institutional affiliation

N  %
ValidMissing University 35   85.4
Research center 6   14.6
Total 41 100.0
Total 5
Total 46
Table 7.4

The discipline of the first author

    N       %
Valid Sociology 13 30.2
Anthropology 3 7.0
History 2 4.7
Communication/Media 1 2.3
Political Sciences/IR 12 27.9
Literature 3 7.0
Other 9 20.9
Total 43 100.0
Missing System 3
Total 46
Table 7.5

Country of the affiliated institutions

  N   %
United States 7 17
Algeria 6 14
Morocco 5 12
Germany 3 7
Canada 2 5
Libya 2 5
Palestine 2 5
Switzerland 2 5
The United Arab Emirates 2 5
Bahrain 1 2
Bangladesh 1 2
Egypt 1 2
France 1 2
Greece 1 2
Italy 1 2
Lebanon 1 2
Mauritania 1 2
Poland 1 2
Sudan 1 2
Tunisia 1 2
Total 42 100
Missing 4 8.7
Table 7.6

Year of publication

Year  N   %
2017 6 13
2016 10 22
2015 10 22
2014 5 11
2013 8 17
2012 3 7
2011 2 4
2010 1 2
2003 1 2
Total 46 100
Table 7.7

Types of articles

N    %
Fieldwork 11 26.8
Critical of existing Literature 24 58.5
Essay 6 14.6
Total 41 100.0
Missing 5
Total 46
Table 7.8

Geographical scope of the articles

 N   %
Local 21 54
Regional 7 18
International 9 23
Comparative 2 5
Total 39 100
Missing 7
Total 46
Table 7.9

Frequency of keywords by language

Language
Arabic English Total
Voluntary migration 0 7 7
Remittances 0 1 1
Sexuality 0 1 1
Refugees 6 1 7
Human trafficking 3 0 3
War and ethnic/ international conflict 2 1 3
Refugee camps 1 0 1
Crime 1 0 1
Social conflict 2 2 4
Border 3 0 3
Perception 0 4 4
Internal migration 2 1 3
Impact of host society 0 2 2
Security 5 2 7
Impact of place of origin 2 3 5
Family 0 1 1
Policy 7 1 8
Gender 2 0 2
Causes of migration 12 2 14
Labour market 2 0 2
Demography 0 3 3
Cultural effect 1 3 4
Mode of incorporation 5 4 9
Political problems 1 4 5
Psychological problems 0 2 2
Ethnicity 0 2 2
Racism 0 1 1
Religion 4 6 10
Total 23 18 41

Percentages and totals are based on respondents.

Table 7.10

Methods used (multiple responses)

 N   Percent
Using existing data 17 33.30%
Content analysis 10 19.60%
Multiple methods 7 13.70%
In-depth interview 6 11.80%
Survey 5 9.80%
Ethnography 3 5.90%
Observation 2 3.90%
Focus groups 1 2.00%
Total 51 100.00%

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Alaa Khaled and Michael Avanzato for their help in analyzing the articles of the sample and Azzam Tomeh for his comments.

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25

In the text of Qaradawi who coins the concept of fiqh al-wāqiʿ, this concept is defined as an approach “based on a scientific and objective study of the nature [of a phenomenon], a study that reveals all its dimensions and elements, [clarifies] their advantages and disadvantages, and [highlights] the relevant influencing factors” (Al-Qaradawi 1999, p. 23).

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Migration and Islamic Ethics

Issues of Residence, Naturalization and Citizenship

Series:  Studies in Islamic Ethics, Volume: 2