Cosmopolitan Islamic Identity and Thought

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Christopher Cutting



The Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) held its Third Annual
Canadian Regional Conference on “Cosmopolitan Islamic Identity and
Thought” on 24 November 2007 at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo,
ON). Opening the event with her keynote address, “Consumption and
Cosmopolitanism: The Veil, The Body, The Law,” Reina Lewis (University
of East London) pointed out that in British culture, cosmopolitanism has not
yet appropriated the Muslim veil as a desirable object of fashion consumption
for the majority society, although Muslim women have appropriated
and indigenized some western fashions. However, this does not prevent the
majority society from making interpretive “readings” of the veil relative to
dominant fashion cultures and participating in neo-Orientalist discourses.
Despite the (shockingly) recent British legislation of 2003 that finally
explicitly forbids religious discrimination, some recent prominent public
discourse on the veil in Britain has turned its attention to the issue of face
veiling as a potentially insidious fashion practice, arguing essentially (and
uncritically) that visibility is equal to transparency, integrity, and truth ...

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