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  • Author: Loren D. Lybarger
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article analyzes transformations in Palestinian secularism, specifically in Chicago, Illinois, in response to the weakening of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the emergence of Islamic reformist structures since the late 1980s. Up until then, secular community organizations that aligned with the secular-oriented Palestinian political factions constituted the ideological center of this community. Beginning in the late 1980s, however, a discernible religious shift began to take place. The analysis draws from extensive fieldwork (2010–15) to show how secularism has not disappeared but rather transmuted into new, often hybrid forms whose lack of institutionalization reflect the attenuation of secularist structures and orientations. The weakening of the secularist milieu leaves individuals who have become disenchanted with the religious-sectarian shift (at the time of the fieldwork) with few alternatives for social connection, solidarity, and action. They forge their own idiosyncratic paths as a result.
  • Topic: Islam, Secularism, PLO
  • Political Geography: United States, Palestine
  • Author: Martin van Bruinessen
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: In the two decades since the fall of the Suharto regime, one of the most conspicuous developments has been the rapidly increasing influence of religious interpretations and practices emanating from the Middle East and more specifically the Gulf states, leading observers to speak of the “Arabisation” of Indonesian Islam. In the preceding decades, the state had strongly endorsed liberal and development-oriented Muslim discourses widely perceived as “Westernised” and associated with secularism and Western education. Indonesia’s unique Muslim traditions have in fact been shaped by many centuries of global flows of people and ideas, connecting the region not just with the Arab heartlands of Islam and Europe but South Asia and China. What is relatively new, however, is the presence of transnational Islamist and fundamentalist movements, which weakened the established nation-wide Muslim organisations (Muhammadiyah, NU) that had been providing religious guidance for most of the 20th century. The perceived threat of transnational radical Islam has led to renewed reflection on, and efforts to rejuvenate, indigenous Muslim traditions.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, transnationalism, Secularism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Indonesia, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Pakistani militants of various stripes collectively won just under ten per cent of the vote in the July 2018 parliamentary elections. Some represented long-standing legal Islamist parties, others newly established groups or fronts for organisations that have been banned as terrorists by Pakistan and/or the United Nations and the United States. The militants failed to secure a single seat in the national assembly but have maintained, if not increased, their ability to shape national debate and mainstream politics and societal attitudes. Their ability to field candidates in almost all constituencies, and, in many cases, their performance as debutants enhanced their legitimacy. The militants’ performance has fueled debate about the Pakistani military’s effort to expand its long- standing support for militants that serve its regional and domestic goals to nudge them into mainstream politics. It also raises the question of who benefits most, mainstream politics or the militants. Political parties help mainstream militants, but militants with deep societal roots and significant following are frequently key to a mainstream candidate’s electoral success. Perceptions that the militants may stand to gain the most are enhanced by the fact that decades of successive military and civilian governments, abetted and aided by Saudi Arabia, have deeply embedded ultra-conservative, intolerant, anti-pluralist, and supremacist strands of Sunni Islam in significant segments of Pakistani society. Former international cricket player Imran Khan’s electoral victory may constitute a break with the country’s corrupt dynastic policies that ensured that civilian power alternated between two clans, the Bhuttos and the Sharifs. However, his alignment with ultra-conservatism’s social and religious views, as well as with militant groups, offers little hope for Pakistan becoming a more tolerant, pluralistic society, and moving away from a social environment that breeds extremism and militancy. On the contrary, policies enacted by Khan and his ministers since taking office suggest that ultra- conservatism and intolerance are the name of the game. If anything, Khan’s political history, his 2018 election campaign, and his actions since coming to office reflect the degree to which aspects of militancy, intolerance, anti-pluralism, and supremacist ultra- conservative Sunni Muslim Islam have, over decades, been woven into the fabric of segments of society and elements of the state. The roots of Pakistan’s extremism problem date to the immediate wake of the 1947 partition of British India when using militants as proxies was a way to compensate for Pakistan’s economic and military weakness. They were entrenched by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the 1970s and General Zia ul-Haq’s Islamization of Pakistani society in the 1980s. The rise of Islamist militants in the US-Saudi supported war against Soviet occupation troops in Afghanistan and opportunistic policies by politicians and rulers since then have shaped contemporary Pakistan.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Terrorism, United Nations, Violent Extremism, Secularism, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: This report highlights trends and patterns surrounding Islamophobia since the start of the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle. It does so in the broader context of hatred, violence and social hostilities confronting Muslims as a minority faith group in contemporary America and with a particular focus on acts and threats of violence. Since 2015, the Bridge Initiative has been chronicling Islamophobic political rhetoric by each presidential candidate irrespective of his or her party affiliation while finding Republican candidates to be the worst offenders to date. In this publication, however, we aim to contextualize such statements nationally and internationally while also exploring potentially violent effects. To that end, we examined two distinct but overlapping time periods: January 2015 through December 2015 (entire duration of 2015) and March 2015 through March 2016 (2016 presidential election season).
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Public Opinion, Elections, Islamophobia, Violence, Voting
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Nadia Marzouki
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Columbia University Press
  • Abstract: Islam: An American Religion demonstrates how Islam as formed in the United States has become an American religion in a double sense—first through the strategies of recognition adopted by Muslims and second through the performance of Islam as a faith. Nadia Marzouki investigates how Islam has become so contentious in American politics. Focusing on the period from 2008 to 2013, she revisits the uproar over the construction of mosques, legal disputes around the prohibition of Islamic law, and the overseas promotion of religious freedom. She argues that public controversies over Islam in the United States primarily reflect the American public's profound divisions and ambivalence toward freedom of speech and the legitimacy of liberal secular democracy.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Identifier: 9780231543927
  • Publication Identifier Type: ISBN
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: This report analyzes how far-right Islamophobic discourse has been mainstreamed with the election of President Donald J. Trump. Through qualitative research examining the rhetoric employed by the Trump campaign and subsequent administration, the report finds that senior Trump administration appointments share a common belief that Islam and Muslims are a danger to the United States. This view has been present in the far-right world of bloggers and pundits and ballooned following the horrific events of September 11th, 2001, but is now represented in the White House by key members of the Trump administration. Further, the Trump administration has already begun to enact its anti-Muslim and anti-Islam policies. The study finds that the 45th President and his administration’s rhetoric and guidelines normalize Islamophobia thus creating an environment in which discriminatory policies targeting Muslims are legal.
  • Topic: Islam, Trump, Islamophobia, Far Right
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jordan Denari Duffner
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: What do American Catholics think about Islam, Muslims, and interreligious dialogue? And how do Catholic publications portray the faith of Muslims? These are some of the questions addressed in our latest report, “Danger & Dialogue: American Catholic Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam.”
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Public Opinion, Islamophobia, Catholic Church
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Bridge Initiative, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: In a climate of increased suspicion and skepticism towards Islam and Muslims, polling data collected over the years reveals how Americans have come to view their country’s third-largest religious group. This Super Survey, which compiles and analyzes polling questions collected by over a dozen polling organizations from 1993 to 2014, finds that Americans remain unfamiliar with Islam; feel more coldly towards Muslims than any other religious group; and tend to see Islam as “more violent” than other religions during national debates about military action in the Middle East. Additionally, while they have been supportive of mosques in their communities, a sizeable portion has favored various measures of religious profiling. In the twenty-first century, on average, six in 10 Americans has reported that they don’t know a Muslim personally. And while a plurality of Americans has reported having favorable views of Muslims since 2000, unfavorable views have persisted, with relatively little fluctuation over time.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Public Opinion, Ideology, Islamophobia
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Cornelius Adebahr
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After years of tension, sanctions, and deadlocked negotiations, Hassan Rouhani, Iran's relatively moderate new president, has provided an opening for improved relations between the Islamic Republic and the West. While Rouhani has not ushered in a new Iran, Tehran has adopted a more conciliatory tone on its nuclear program since he took office. This shift is more than just talk, but the West will have to carefully calibrate its response to determine whether Rouhani's changed rhetoric signals the beginning of a new direction for Iran.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: President Obama has addressed the need to deal with Ukraine and the Islamic State in speeches and at the NATO Ministerial meeting Afghanistan, however, has become the forgotten war at a time when the Taliban is making steady gains, civilian casualties are rising there is still no effective Afghan government the Afghan economy is in crisis, and there still are no clear plans for any post 2014 aspect of transition.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia