Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On Muslims in the West

Several books have come out recently, or in the case of Peter O'Brien's book, in the last couple of years, addressing issues surrounding Muslims and the West.  To quote from an article on Peter O'Brien:

"Professor O’Brien set out to explore Europeans’ self-perceived rivalry with Islamic civilization in pre-modern times and with the USA in the modern era. “I’m interested in how people from different cultures view each other and ultimately how they can learn to live together.” This interest has spawned his next research project on contemporary European responses to the existence of large numbers of Muslims residing in Europe"

European Perceptions of Islam & America from Saladin to George W. Bush: Europe’s Fragile Ego Uncovered (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Justin Gest's recent book on Muslims in the West also focuses on Europe:

Apart: Alienated and Engaged Muslims in the West (New York: Columbia University Press; London: Hurst, 2010)

Apart explores why many Western Muslims are disaffected, why others are engaged, and why some seek to undermine the very political system that remains their primary means of inclusion. Based on research conducted in London's East End and Madrid's Lavapies district, and drawing on over 100 interviews with community elders, imams, extremists, politicians, gangsters, and ordinary people just trying to get by, Justin Gest examines young Muslim men's daily existences. Confronting conventional explanations that point to inequality, discrimination and religion, he builds a new theory arguing that alienated and engaged political behavior is distinguished not by structural factors, but by how social agents interpret their shared realities. Filled with counterintuitive conclusions, Apart sounds an unambiguous warning to Western policy-makers, and presages an imminent American experience with the same challenges. How both governments and people discipline their fear and understand their Muslim fellows may shape democratic social life in the foreseeable future.

Writing as an advocate rather than an academic, Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, global media commentator, founder of and global managing editor of The Crescent Post. Additionally, Arsalan is also a regular weekly legal affairs/political commentator for the National Public Radio (NPR) show Tell Me More with Michel Martin and a contributing writer for and Esquire Magazine (Middle East edition). His new book is Islamic Pacificsm: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era.  From the Amazon description: "With the tragic rise of extremism and global racism around the world today, the sociopolitical philosophy of "Islamic Pacifism" is a humanitarian ethical platform rooted within the general concepts of nonviolence and basic Muslim ethical teachings of mercy and compassion towards all of humanity. "

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