Contemporary Islam Dynamic, Not Static by Abdul Aziz Said, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, and Meena Sharify-Funk, eds. (New York: Routledge, 2006. 272 pages.)

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Isa Blumi



At a time when careless opportunism blurs the line separating the hate
speech, race-baiting, and xenophobia that we condemn and the misleading
expedience of “tolerating” others, the need to change how Muslims engage
the hatred facing them has become most apparent. Threatened by French
politicians with state-enforced settlement camps and neoconservative social
engineering schemes that erect 10-meter highwalls in theWestBank, BelAir,
and Baghdad, it is critical that Muslims demonstrate the ability to resist their
wholesale criminalization with dignity and passion. Unfortunately, the overwhelming
majority of those who publicly “stand-up” for “reason” are non-
Muslim, western-based academics speaking for “Islam” as a non-western
phenomenon that nevertheless “needs to be tolerated.”
When “Muslims” are given the rare chance of having a forum through
which to communicate, the message has more often confirmed the reductionist
assumptions of xenophobic racists advocating their legal exclusion
from “Christian” Europe. How often has it been noted that those Muslims
most frequently given access to the mainstream media are the fanatical and
patently violent characters depicted in media stereotypes who actually have
no right to “speak” for Islam in the first place?
Contemporary Islam: Dynamic, Not Static challenges these prevailing
currents in scholarship by actually engaging the audience in a fashion that
does not concede Islam’s centrality to a larger human experience ...

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