This article will focus on how the Gulf, state and society, reacted to the Syrian crisis and the role of religious leaders in Gulf area and beyond in addressing when a Muslim should opt for migration as a response to the deterioration of their living conditions and how should behave in the host society. After examining statistics that contradict the Gulf’s official declarations concerning the number of Syrian refugees hosted by their countries, I will review briefly the debates in favor and against receiving Syrian refugees in the Gulf societies through conventional and social media. Finally, through the analysis of fatwas issued since 2011, I will argue that the landscape of religious scripts provides contradictory messages about migration, modes of migrant’s incorporation and hospitality. Some of these messages call upon Muslims to receive refugees in distress while others are either silent or discouraging refugees to go to non-Muslim countries.

In: Sociology of Islam

Abstract

This article will argue that the growing polarization between what is perceived as Western society and Muslim 'communities' can neither be analyzed as a clash between identities nor as a reflection of cultural differences. This polarization operates in a context of cultural hegemony, a sort of cultural logic of late capitalism, through which power and global capital are allied and where the migrants are either invisible or hyper-visible. I will take the example of the Danish cartoon episode as a controversy that reflects the cultural hegemony and power structure deployed against undesirable groups such as migrants living in Europe. Yet, to recall Antonio Gramsci, it is in this moment of crisis where migrants' agency will be in position to destabilize the hegemonic forces because migrants are not merely victims – they hold a responsibility toward their situation. After contextualizing this controversy within the migration space, I will argue that the controversy does not concern censorship and freedom of expression. It is a question of how one can define universalism. This has implications for how multiculturalism is perceived; this article argues that issues of multiculturalism and geopolitics cannot be detached from one another.

In: Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication

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.).

In: Migration and Islamic Ethics

Abstract

This article discusses the debate on gender-equal inheritance in Tunisia. In it, Maeve Cooke’s conception of authoritarian versus non-authoritarian practical reasoning is applied to see whether binaries, like religious versus secular, are existent in the public debate on equal inheritance in Tunisia. The mapping of the debate shows the existence of three sets of arguments: jurisprudential/textual, sociological, and legal. Proponents of equal inheritance base their arguments primarily on legal, then sociological, then textual grounds, whereas law opponents base their arguments on textual, then legal, then sociological grounds. The weakness of the sociological arguments of law opponents is evident when stating that a gendered division of labor within the family still exists without providing statistics or empirical evidence to back up that claim. Through shared categories and grounds, the discussions in Tunisia share a common language in the public sphere, allowing for the reduction of authoritarian tendencies and longstanding polarization through public deliberation.

In: Journal of Islamic Ethics