The Caliphate in Outer Space: The Final Frontier

In popular Eurocentric parlance, the Caliphate is viewed as a relic of a bygone era, its re-establishment constituting a central objective – if not, the objective – of Muslim “fundamentalists” and militants. Yet its trans-“religious” deployment is also evident in culture; for example, from a cursory survey of Western science fiction literature, which reveals how Orientalist framings are negotiated and drawn upon on a regular basis in order to maintain the image of the Caliphate as an institution haunting the future of both the known and unknown universe. The science fiction genre is often portrayed as a landscape enabling readers (and viewers in the case of film and television) to escape the limits of the ‘real’ world into distant ‘other’ worlds imagined as informed by utopian ideals and technological advances – worlds liberated from the ‘actualities’ of everyday life.

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Can There Be Muslim Political Theory

In a 2008 article, I expressed the intuition that the conditions of post-colonialism make it impossible for modern Muslims to articulate credible political stances without accusations of either betrayal of their essential Muslimness, or of engaging in duplicitous interpretations of Islam inviting charges of dissimulation (taqiyya). The recent controversy surrounding the International Institute of Islamic Thought’s (“IIIT”) decision to cancel its annual Al-Fārūqī Memorial Lecture at the 2019 meeting of the American Academy of Religions serves to remind us of the high stakes facing Muslims when they attempt to act as public intellectuals on topics at the intersection of law, religion, and national security.

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The Walking Dead of Islamism

In the memory of martyred president Dr Mohamed Morsi

The defeat of the AK Party candidate against the secularist CHP candidate in the June 23, 2019, Istanbul mayoral election was celebrated as a promising victory of democracy against Islamist Erdoğan. This was the “beginning of the end” for Islamists just as before. Indeed, we have heard this declaration of death at least for three decades. When the Orientalists first declared the end of Islamism -in the form of post-, failure, decline or moderation-, it was the early 1990s. For instance, Olivier Roy’s “The Failure of Political Islam” was published in 1994 (in French in 1992) and post-Islamism of Bayat appeared in 1996….

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Not Acting as Prescribed: Zaira Wasim and Our Discomfort with Religion

In July 2019, 18-year old Kashmiri-born, award-winning Muslim actor Zaira Wasim wrote a detailed post on Facebook announcing her intention to withdraw from acting. The post began in a way that is familiar to a lot of people midway in their careers across the world – she talks about starting something five years ago (a career in the Hindi film industry), gradually realising that it is not for her and of the pressure on her to become someone else.

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British Muslims, Cultural Freedom, Political Dissent, and the Counter-Extremism Industry: Some brief reflections on “Bradford in Our Own Words: Resisting Counter-Extremism Apparatus”

On a sweltering Sunday afternoon (30 June 2019), a hundred or so people, mostly young, were packed in together at the Speakers Corner Collective [1] on Ivygate in the centre of Bradford. They came to discuss the withdrawal from the Bradford Literature Festival 2019 by a number of writers, artists and speakers.[2] This withdrawal was sparked by the news that a pre-festival project promoting the literacy and education of British Pakistani women had been funded by a Home Office counter-extremism fund, established in 2016, called Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT).

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