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Manuscript Number: COIS104 Title: The historical influences in the construction of religious identities among contemporary generations of western born Muslims Article Type: Original Research Keywords: western born Muslims,religious Identity,Islam, Christianity, historical development of identity Corresponding Author: Mr. Adis Duderija, Ph.D. Corresponding Author's Institution: University of Western Australia First Author: Adis Duderija, Ph.D. Order of Authors: Adis Duderija, Ph.D. Abstract: The aim of this article is to briefly outline the historical development and background behind the construction of distinct Muslim identity ( The Self) at both individual and civilisational level ( Islamo-Arab ) vis--vis the religious Other ( Judeo-Christian /Western civilisation) and to understand its influence on the processes shaping different identity constructions among western born generations of Muslims.

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Adis Duderija, Ph.D. candidate, School of Social and Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia E mail:

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The historical influences in the construction of religious identities among contemporary generations of western born Muslims Abstract: The aim of this article is to briefly outline the historical development and background behind the construction of distinct Muslim identity ( The Self) at both individual and civilisational level ( Islamo-Arab ) vis--vis the religious Other (JudeoChristian /Western civilisation) and to understand its influence on the processes shaping different identity constructions among western born generations of Muslims.

Keywords: western born Muslims,religious Identity,Islam, Christianity, historical development of Identity

1.) Introduction: Religious Identity in the context of immigrant religious minority: Studies on western Muslims identities have highlighted a number of factors that influence their modification, formation/construction, retention and transmission. These include the processes of secularisation, modernisation and globalisation(Ameli, 2002), transnationalism (Mandaville,2004;Allievi and Nielsen,2003),the impact of geopolitics and the state of international affairs (Waardenburg ,2003), the broader socio-economic, political and legal contexts of the host societies(Allievi and Nielsen,2003;Kibria,2007) and the diversity within the Muslim communities themselves such as ethnicity, family and socio-economic background, the length of immigration experience, age or gender(Jacobsen,2006). For example, Cesari(2006,52) identifies the following dimensions of western Muslim minorities as being particularly important in the construction of their identities: the meta-discourse on Islam, the influence of dominant cultural and political frameworks, the complex interaction between religion and ethnicity, the influence of global Islam, the state collusion between religion, ethnicity and social marginality and intra-Muslim theological diversity. While I do not dismiss the significance of these factors, this article focuses on religious aspect of their identity and the importance of the historical component in the construction of Western Muslims identity .

The reason for this is that a number of studies have shown that members of immigrant minority religions, including Western Muslim communities, consider religious identity as their primary locus of identity formation and maintenance, including the second and subsequent generations (Duderija,2007a). This phenomenon is the outcome of a number of forces associated with globalisation such as the migration experience which de-links particular cultures, ethnicities and religions from particular territories/societies thereby inducing a more assertive re-structuring and reexamining of inherited identities(Roy,2004). This increased instability in the way identities are constructed helps create space for new identity potentialities. The social forces underpinning globalisation also favour particular identity sources in relation to which an individuals identity might be predominantly or exclusively constructed. In the context of minority immigrant communities, including that of the Muslim communities, and especially for the western-born/raised Western Muslims, that locus is increasingly assumed by religion (Duderija,2007a). This article, thus ,in line with the works of Hashmi(2003) and Peek (2005), is based upon the premise that the concept of religion can be a key factor in the development of ones identity both in the sense of believing (i.e. identity at the level of individuals) and belonging ( i.e. identity at the level of a community/group/civilisation).This is especially so in the context of immigrant minority culture as in the case of westernborn Muslims as their religious identity has come to the fore as a more enduring and ultimate means for self-definition.(Gilliat,1994,190) .Indeed, the minority group experience and the politicization of Islam have for many Western Muslims been expressed in the form of the Islamization of the self (Rippin,1993,117). This is what the author refers to as religious based identity construction in which religion is the primary locus of identity construction and in which religion forms the core and plays a master role, to use Hammonds(1998) terminology, in the overall identity of some western-born Muslims. However, it ought to be noted from the start that this religious based Muslim identity is not constructed along identical or unvarying points of reference(Ismail,2004). Indeed, Waardenburg (2000,59)and Cesari(2004b,91) observe that Europe, and western societies in general, are an arena in which different versions and traditions of Islam compete with each-other and different types of being a Muslim exist.

Which mechanisms and processes contribute towards this heterogeneity and diversity of constructing the Muslim Self? Understanding western Muslim religious identity construction and its variant manifestations is of paramount importance given the current geo-political and international relations in the age of war on terror. There are additional reasons for this that go beyond the terror threat thesis . Firstly, understanding this process would shed light on the future direction of religious identity construction in Western born Muslim individuals and communities. Secondly, gaining a better insight into the factors and mechanisms involved in the formation of western born Muslims identities will help illuminate the nature of the relationships between non-Muslims and Muslims living in Muslim minority societies of the West(Waardenburg,2000,55-56) several such mechanisms have already been identified elsewhere(Duderija,2008) and the purpose here is to discuss one of them, namely the historicity or the historical influence behind the contemporary constructions of western Muslim identities (The Self) vis--vis the religious other, in this context the Judeo-Christian /western civilisation and the individual members of this civilization (The Other). Prior to doing this, an elaboration of the broader strategies involved in Muslim identity construction in the context of immigrant minority religion is required. 2.) The Self-Other boundary: The significance of the mutual identity dialectic religious identity construction among new Muslim immigrant communities Hussein considers that the three most important elements that impinge on the formation of a Muslim identity are threefold: the concept of Self, the concept of territory and the concept of community(Hussein,2004,122-125). The concept of Self is constructed in relation to believers relationship with God as based upon the key Quranic concepts such as tawhid (Gods unity and uniqueness) ,taqwa(God consciousness) ,istikhlaf ( vicegerency of human beings) ,dhikr( remembrance of God) and rabbaniyah ( believers spiritual relationship with God).The concept of territory as espoused by the classical Islamic thought that has no direct link with the Quran and Sunnah bodies of knowledge, links Islam and its adherents with a particular territory. According to this theory Muslims, the Self, are to live in dar al Islam ( abode of peace/Islam) and other regions described variously as dar al kufr ( abode of unbelief) ,dar alahd/ dar al sulh( abode of treaty) and dar al amn ( abode of security) are identified as the religious Other. Most classical schools of thought discourage or prohibit Muslims from living in them. The concept of community is 3

associated with the well known concept of ummah, the worldwide religious community of Muslims, and that of wala or loyalty to ones religion. Jacobsen (2006,109-149) on the other hand, in the context of discussing the religious identities and practices among Norwegian Muslims distinguishes three horizons of action in terms of which Muslim youth orient themselves and in relation to which their identities and practices are shaped. They include : the global Muslim ummah, the notion of a Euro-Norwegian Islam and the family and the ethnic diaspora. She further maintains that each of the horizons is constituted according to different principles of inclusion/exclusion, values and objectives (Ibid,109). This articles approach and level of analysis emphasises and focuses on the communal or group dimension of the religious identity of Muslims identified by both Hussain and Jacobsen . This is so for several reasons. Firstly, the politicisation of Muslim identity in the current international climate as well as the new immigrant minority status of the Western Muslim community largely facilitate this communal, group universalistic ,ummah aspect of the Muslim identity(Duderija,2007).Secondly, in the context of Muslims in Europe both majorities and minorities construct collective ,monolithic identities(Verkuyten and Yildiz,2007).Thirdly, group-based identity , furthermore plays a significant role in defining and ordering the relationship between the Self and the Other(Kaya,2005,11). Fourthly, throughout history and , especially during the period of the Middle Ages during which the genesis and the formation of the discursive parameters within which the nature of the dynamics of Islamo-Christian group identity construction emerged and was established (as will be discussed below) , Islamo-Arab and Judeo-Christian religious identities have been primarily , if not exclusively, based at the level of groups and communities and not at the level of individuals. The dynamics affecting this group based identity for those belonging to the new immigrant minority religion, such as Western Muslims, can particularly be well conceptualised in terms of what here is termed the Self-Other mutual identity construction dialectic. This notion of Self and Other mutual identity construction is attested to in a number of studies done on western Muslims. For example, in the context of identity construction among western-born Muslim youth living in France and Germany Hashmi asserts that the idea of the Self as opposed to the Other seems particularly applicable for young people of ethnic immigrant origins.(Hashmi,2003,59). Roy 4

(2004,45)echoes this view. Similarly, in the context of western nation-states Green argues that it is [t]he immigrant [that] represents the Other.(Green,1997, 57). In a similar fashion, Waardenburg(2000,41) intimates that in relation to the identity of Muslims in Europe, there is an aspect of the condition of otherness that seems particularly relevant, namely the effect of marginalization, discrimination and exclusion in relation to the apprehension of the self and the non-self. In principle Muslims are the Other for non-Muslims and vice-versa. Hashmi avers that in the context of immigration immigrants and immigrant religions are often perceived as single homogenous groups and that the process of generating self-images, for both the immigrants(The Self) and the host society ( The Other) is based upon how they see themselves as being viewed.(Hashmi,2000,166-170). Similarly, Yinger(1970,315) asserts in a that the formation of religious identities among minorities is influenced by attitudes shown towards them. Brodeur(2004,188) agrees with this analysis by averring that the constructions of Islam(s) and Muslim identities whether real or imagined are never generated solely on the basis of pure internal Islamic developments ; they are rather the fruit of a binary Self/Other interdependent processes that are best understood as existing somewhere in between local and global, past and future, here and there. Moreover, he maintains that the construction of Muslim identity relies on the constant dialectical interplay between the Self and the Other(Ibid,190). Religion, and thus religious identity, in particular, has and is being shaped through the strains and tensions in the oscillation between benevolence towards and distrust of the Other taking place in the broader framework of the self-images and the images of the Other at civilisational level(Hoefert and Salvatore,2000,15-16). According to Haensch the construction of these Self images and that of the Other are a continuous process thus are subject to change. Furthermore, she argues the process of migration and meeting of cultures lead to both the reflection on the self-image and a reflection on the previous image of the Other( Haensh,2000,143). We refer to this phenomenon of identity construction as a Self-Other mutual identity construction dialectic. Given the above, the religious identity construction in the context of western-born generations of Muslim, can be particularly well conceptualised in terms of the SelfOther mutual identity construction dialectic. By this it is meant that not only do the

views of the religious Other impinge upon the view of the religious Self but also that the view of how the religious Other views the religious Self also affects the way one constructs the view of the religious Self and vice versa. The way in which these perceptions of Self and Other are mutually constructed and the way they delineate between the Self and the Other impact upon the nature of this Self-Other mutual identity dialectic. The nature of Self-Other mutual identity construction can either be characterised as antagonistic, exclusivist and oppositional according to which the Self is constructed in civilisationally isolationist, antagonistic and oppositional lines vis-vis the Other. On the other hand the nature of the Self-Other mutual identity construction can be a civilisationally inclusivist and hybrid one according to which the sense of Self is constructed along inclusivist and civilisationally hybrid lines vis-vis the Other. This sense of religious Self and the religious Other operates at both individual as well as group level since religious identity encompasses both the sense of believing (individual) and that of belonging ( to a broader religious community/civilisation). In the context of this article, for reasons outlined above, by the term the Self we refer to the socio- religious identity of western-born Muslims as based upon the civilisational ummah understanding of their religious identity . By the term the Other, we understand the broader socio-cultural society of the West as based upon its Judeo-Christian civilisational foundations. 3.) Historicity of religious identity construction and its effect on the Self-Other boundary mutual religious identity construction dialectic Having outlined the rationale behind adopting the Self-Other mutual identity construction dialectic when examining the way western born generations of Muslims construct their identity I turn my attention now how this process unfolded in the past and whether or not , or to what extent, the same historical forces influence the contemporary identity constructions among western born generations of Muslims. Hoefert and Salvatore, in examining the importance of transcultural politics in the inter- cultural/civilisational formation of Self and the Other have suggested that contextual factors are largely responsible for not only Self identity construction but also that of the Other(Hoefert and Salvatore,2000). These contextual factors primarily in the form of stereotypes- in turn have a historicity component as they are passed from generation to generation (Ibid). Indeed, Ismail asserts, that [T]aking into 6

account sociality and historicity of religion is central to understanding the production of religious identity in the public sphere.(Ismail,2004,630). Leonard(2003,51) similarly maintains that Muslim identities, like other identities, are characterised by instability, construction in context, and reinterpretations of the past in the present. Brouder (2004,188) also argues that meaningfully integrated self-understanding is rooted both in history and the future of ones primary community of identity which, as outlined above in the new immigrant context, is often their Muslim identity. Lapidus(2001,48), furthermore, considers that in the construction of modern Muslim identities there is a striking degree of historical structural continuity and that in some cases contemporary Islamic states and Islamic religious movements are simply direct continuations of past ones. Similarly, Ameli(2002,89) asserts that History and also current interpretations of history- enter crucially into analysis of contemporary Muslim identity. Thus, the process of identity construction has what here is termed a historicity component. Variant understandings/readings of these contextual and historical aspects of religious identity construction can help shed light on the variant ways of constructing the Muslim Self among contemporary Muslims, including the western born generations. 4.) The analysis of the historical development of the distinct Self Muslim Identity construction vis--vis the Judeo-Christian/Western civilisation In the context of the importance of historicity in understanding the dynamics surrounding the construction of contemporary Muslim identities, Ameli(Ibid) asserts the following, if Muslim identity should be evaluated according to the determinative factors involved in the construction of identity, and if these factors have themselves been subject to radical transformation in historical terms, it then becomes necessary for the analyses to present a historical overview of these factors. The relevance of this historical dimension is further substantiated by the fact that, in the words of Cesari(2004a,223) What we profess to know about Islam is to a large extent the product of a vision constructed upon centuries of conflict, political as much as religious. The fluid and often paradoxical reality of Muslims-from their most private behaviour to their most public is frequently obscured by the mass of stereotypes that have built up over the centuriesMany such stereotypes descend from the Orientalist tradition of Orientalism. While the most conspicuous forms of Orientalism have been profoundly modifiedits more latent forms ( the result of these amassed stereotypes) continue to exert influence on

cultureMuslims and Islamic society are thus permanently denied any capacity for change. One author who has highlighted the importance of history in the understanding of identities among contemporary British born generations of Muslims is Ameli (Ibid). In his book, he devoted to it one complete chapter titled Historical Analysis of Muslim Identity. In his investigation of British Muslims identity and the role of globalisation in this dynamic Ameli has identified historical forces as one of the three factors which influence religious identity construction among the western born generation(s) of Muslims. He based this approach to identity construction upon the broader premise that religious identity is a byproduct of multiple interactions between religion, society and the individual. Furthermore, he considers religious identity as an output of the interaction between overt social structures and the latent understanding of the religion whose meaning, nature and impact have changed dramatically over time and especially in the recent past (Ibid,110-111). Religious identities, he argues further, are not just a result of religious idealism, but are social, political, economic and cultural constructions and cannot be studied apart from the social changes that have taken place throughout the course of Islamic history (Ibid). Therefore for Ameli, without having a clear understanding of what these factors meant in the past, one cannot understand contemporary Muslim identities. Additionally, his historical analysis of the Muslim identity demonstrated that it has never been a static and immutable phenomenon(Ibid,275). Amelis analysis, unlike mine, is not based upon a Self-Other mutual civilisational identity dialectic and he does not highlight the importance of the construction of the Other on the construction of the Self and vice-versa. Instead, he discusses how in terms of the turning points in the sociological dimension of human society one can point to changes in identities that have taken place within three broader social structures(Ibid,90). According to Ameli, within these structures, Muslims have experienced six distinct periods. The factors that have been responsible for the transition from one period to the another are the result of changes in the understanding of religion, economic affiliation or structure, as well as political and social factors. Within each period, one can identify a pattern or overarching schema within which the identity of Muslims throughout their history can be assessed(Ibid.).The factors I

identify in terms of the historicity of identity construction also include Amelis. However, I analyse them from the point of view of our theoretical framework that is based upon the Self-Other boundary and a mutual civilisational identity construction dialectic. Our periods partially overlap with those of Ameli. However, periods are based upon major socio-political and religious events that have had a major effect on the nature of the dialectic between the two civilisations. a.)The Prophetic Era (600-622 AD) The context of the emergence of Prophet Muhammads Message in 7th century Hijaz was such that it took place alongside other already well-established religious communities most important of which were, apart from Arabian pre-Quranic beliefs, Judaism, Hanifiyyah and Christianity. The very fabric and nature of the Message embodied in the Quran clearly depicts many of the events and the nature of the relationship between the Muslim community and the non-Muslim Other and vice-versa. From the outset it is essential to point out that the Quranic attitude (and Muhammads praxis) towards the non-Muslim Other is highly contextual in nature and therefore ambivalent or context-dependent. The aspects of religious identity continuity and commonality with other faiths are intertwined with those of the emergence and emphasis on the Muslim identity originality and distinctiveness. This leads Waardenburg to assert that Looking back at the interaction of the new Islamic religious movement with the existing religious communities, we are struck by the importance of socio-political factors(Waardenburg,2003,99;cf.Waardenburg,1979). Apart from the socio-political factors religious ideas were also significant since the Quran based gradual shaping of the Muslim religious identity is inextricably linked with the religious identity of others, notably Jews and Christians (Zebiri,1997;Donner,2002-2003). Thus, the religious aspects of and the inter-actions between various religious communities at the time of the actual period of Revelation led to the genesis of a religious identity for Muslims and played a very important role in its construction (Zebiri,1997). For most of the Muhammads Prophethood the construction of a Muslim identity took place in circumstances characterised by the fight for religious survival, inter-tribal conflicts and the constant presence of external threats, firstly coming from the Makkan tribal leaders whose ethico-religious and socio-economic belief system 9

(muruwwah) and worldview Muhammad rebelled against, and later from the side of the main Jewish tribes of Medina and so called munafiqun or Muslim hypocrites. Another trend significant for this study is the ever growing religious selfconsciousness of the Prophet of Islam (and his early community). Whilst attempts to find common ground and syncretism featured more frequently during the earlier periods of his life,later periods stressed features constituting specific identity and what distinguished one [i.e. Muslims] fundamentally from others (Waardengurg,2003,44). The early Muslim view of the Byzantines in the days of Prophet Muhammad Shboul(2004,242) echoes the observation that the attitudes of the Muslims developed from sympathy and affinity, reflected in the early Quranic verses, to awe and apprehension of Byzantiums military power, scorn of Byzantine wealth and luxury, and finally anticipation of open antagonism and prolonged warfare. Jews and Christians were recognised as recipients of previous revelations (Ahl-Kitab) and were awarded the status of dhimmis. Another point to be considered in this period is the Quranic concept of a hanif / millat Ibrahim seen as a primordial monotheistic Urreligion based on belief in the One, True God as embodied by Abrahams Message (Arabic -Ibrahim) which is considered as the universal norm and as potentially the final evolution in Muhammads attitude towards the religious Self and the Other(Waardenburg,2003,87-94). It is, however, unclear, whether the Prophet of Islam himself identified historical Islam as the only or merely one possible realisation of the primordial religion, the Hanifiyyah, on earth(Ibid,106-107). Additionally, an Islamo- centric view of Muslim perceptions of the religious other stem from a certain interpretation of the nature of Qurano-Sunnahic teachings. This view is based upon the premise that the Quran is a source of empirical knowledge of the religious Other that is to be applied universally, ahistorically and decontextually. In his study of the extent to which Prophet Muhammad and Quranic scripture emphasised confessional distinctiveness Donner demonstrated that scripturally( or based upon the Quranic evidence) in early Islam the community of Believers was originally conceptualised independent of confessional identities(Donner,2002,12) and that


It was only later apparently during the third quarter of the first century A.H., a full generation or more after the founding of Muhammads community that membership in the community of Believers came to be seen as confessional identity in itself-when, to use a somewhat later formulation of religious terminology, being a Believer and Muslim meant that one could not also be a Christian, say, or a Jew. In other words, Donner adduces a substantial amount of evidence that it could be argued that Quranically (some) Jews and Christians qualify as muminun (believers) as well as muslimun ,i.e. those who submit to God(Donner,17-24;28-34). b.) The Era of Four Rightly Guided Caliphs (622-661 AD) It is difficult to track the development of Muslim consciousness and the construction of religious identity among the leaders of the post-Prophetic Muslim community vis-vis the non-Muslim Other due to a scarcity of available literature on first century Islam in general. However, the trend to form a religiously distinct identity amongst the early Muslim community seems to have increased with the rapid expansion of Arab conquests of non-Arab lands and as their need for self-definition vis--vis- the Other became more common place (Donner,1998,282). This tendency is noticed by Donner(2002-2003,46-47) who maintains that It seems likely that the relinquishing of a broader identity as Believers and the crystallization of a separate identity as Muslims, distinct from other monotheisms, took place concomitant with the increasing emphasis on the importance of Muhammads prophetic or apostolic status among Believers. Importantly the emphasis of Muhammads Prophethood claim, as evident in the evolution of the wording of the shahada,argues Donner, began only when some Jews and Christians began to challenge his [Muhammads] prophetic status.( Ibid,66-67). Additionally, during this period the internal schisms triggered by political disagreements increasingly evolved into theological and doctrinal ones. This, in turn, further highlighted the need to Self-define oneself antagonistically vis--vis the Other, in this case also the Other kind of the Muslim-Other. This phenomenon is best understood in the emergence of a number of Muslim sects such as the Khawarij, Murijah, and the Alids etc. during this period. The universal basis for the construction of religious identity embodied by the spirit of Hanifiyyah /millet Ibrahim started to become more suppressed although the confessional identity of believers at


this time was still inclusive of some Jews and Christians(Donner,2002-2003,28). In this context Donner (Ibid.) makes a very interesting assertion: It is therefore, not entirely capricious to suggest that for the first few decades of the Islamic era ,the Believers may have been quite ready to accept among their number those Christians and Jews who shared their zeal to spread the message of God and the Last Day , and who agreed to live piously by the law ,even though the theological implications of some passages in the Quran would eventually exclude the ahl-kitab (i.e. Jews and Christians) from the ranks of Believers. Thus, argues Donner, the broader and looser confessional identity of believers (muminun ) which could subsume the Christians , Jewish and Zoroastrian communities started to be replaced by the more distinctly defined identity of Muslims(Donner,1998,277;284). Like in the case of many other key concepts forming the Islamic Weltanschauung, the word mumin underwent a semantico-contextual change being equated with the word Muslim. The concepts of Ahl-Kitab and dhimmis, instead, gained broader legitimacy and were applied to other religious communities such as the Zoroastrians in Islamic Persia or, with the expansion of the Mogul Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries, to Hindus in the Indian subcontinent. During this time-period Arab-Islamic civilisation, although now expanding well outside the Arabian Peninsula, was still in its infancy and was dominated by numerous internal political and theological conflicts, thus civilisational interactions giving rise to potential transcultural spaces were not significant enough to influence religious identity construction at the civilisational ummah level. c.) Period from the end of the 7th to the beginning of the 9th Century This period saw the rise and the fall of the first Muslim dynasty, the Umayyads. Although internal- conflicts and discussions about what constituted a Muslim from a doctrinal view-point continued well into the 11th century; this era saw a growing civilisational and political consciousness of the Muslim community and its distinct religious identity formation.


From the end of the 7th century until the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century, the relationship and the nature of civilisational interactions between AraboIslamic and Christian civilizations 1can be seen in the context of two political colossi engaged in permanent political conflict and warfare and the grip of religious dogma on the identity of the respective religious community members on social en mass level(Waardenburg,2003,133-137) .Subsequently, the images/imagination of the Other and the Self were increasingly constructed in terms of ideological and religious conflict (Ibid.) Islam was seen as Christian heresy by both Christians in Muslim and non-Muslim lands and an outright threat to the true religion of Christianity. Additionally, Byzantine Christianitys socio-political, cultural and religious pressure on Islam was a trademark of this period and further facilitated the religious distinctiveness of Islam vis--vis Christianity.2 Both religious communities were eager to stress their own distinctive character by indicating the unique spirit of their own religious truth and its historical continuity(Ibid,58)as well as to construct the identity of the Other in purely religiously exclusivist terms(Ibid,481).Thus, the main issues of the Muslim Christian debate were formulated as early as in this Umayyad period(Ibid,136). d.) Beginning of 9th until 11th century The fall of Umayyad Dynasty (750 A.C.) and the subsequent rise of the Abbasid Dynasty witnessed increased assertiveness of Islamic dogma, religious ideology and Islamisation of society. Abbasids need to demonstrate superiority of Islam vis-vis the non-Muslim majority and assert the originality of Islam was not only used to justify their own coming to power, but also to prevent its [Islams] dilution by already existing religions (especially Christianity). (Zebiri,1997,45)3 Islam as a religious and socio-political force was increasingly felt. Despite the existence of wide areas of peaceful interaction, the entire polemical and refutational corpus of literature written in both Byzantine Christian and Muslim territories (mainly Arab and Persian) at that time took place against a background of war and political tensions expressed in a Christian /Heathen (from a Christian point of view) or Dar-ulIslam /Dar-ul-Harb (from a Muslims point of view) dichotomous and binary division of the world. In this context Shboul(2004,245) remarks:
First Byzantine East and than the Latin West. At this point in time represented solely by Byzantine Christianity in the eyes of the Muslims. 3 At the time of the Abbasids rule the territory under Muslim rule included large number of populace which were non-Muslim and outnumbered those who were.
2 1


To the Muslim Arabs the rivalry between them and Byzantines was military, political, religious, cultural and also economic. The preoccupation of the Arabs with Byzantium as the enemy[however] is more evident in official writings ,in the works of historians, geographers, poets and other men of letters, in legal texts and in popular literature and far less evident in religious polemics. The demarcation of the Other, however, at both the individual and civilisational level, was increasingly conceived in purely religious terms(Hoefert and Salvatore,2000,21) rather then just political, cultural or economic. Furthermore, Quranic commentators and jurists of this period increasingly considered Christians as polytheists or unbelievers choosing to uphold more austere interpretations of the Quran and Sunnah(Zebiri,1997,22). e.) From end of the 11th to the 15th century Until the 11th century, encounters between Muslim and Christian civilisations were almost exclusively limited to the Byzantine East. From the 11th century onwards, as the attitude of Byzantium translated into that of a defensive war another, transculturally more dominant and more influential civilisation was developing, namely the Latin Christian West. The Muslims had had little interest in Western Europe prior to this time-period largely considering Christian inhabitants of the Latin West as uneducated barbarians(Zebiri,1997,22). However, from the 11th century onwards and in tune with the ups and downs of the Crusading drive4 Europe, and its Latin West headed by the Pope, was seen as an increasing threat to the civilised world of Islam. The view of the Muslim Other in the eyes of the Crusaders is thought to have both initiated and perpetuated the representation of Muslims as evil and depraved, licentious and barbaric, ignorant and stupid, unclean and inferior, monstrous and ugly, fanatical and violent(Sardar,2002,2). Throughout this period Latin Christianity viewed the Muslim religion as the arch-antagonist describing it in one instance as doctrina falsa et diabolica(Hoefert,2000,45). As Mastnak(2003,206) asserts, Christians: Made [the Muslims] the quintessential,normative, enemy of Christianity and Christendom, the Muslims now represented infidelity itself. They were regarded as the fundamental enemy, the personification of the very religion of Antichrist.
Zebiri(1997,24) includes several other factors/motives as also responsible for the nature of relationship such as competing commercial interests between emerging nation-states in Europe, Popes desire to unite Christendom and regain control of Holy Places in Jerusalem for pilgrimage purposes etc.


The Muslim world became no less than the antithetical system, the social Antichrist. The Christian knowledge of Islam during this period was confined to ecclesiastic groups and was both scanty and stereotypic(Malik,2004,68). The stereotypes about Muslims inherited from Byzantine Christianity were largely passed on to the Latin West. According to Zabiri(1997,26) the period from 1250-1400 Western images of Islam [were] highly imaginative and contained elements of pure invention/fabrication. Terminology used for Muslims during this era included (apart from the term Muslims) terminology such as Moors, Mohammedans, Mahometans and Turks (Malik,2004,70).Based on these stereotypes the historical figure of Muhammad was given most violent epithets [such as] the pseudo-prophet, the hypocrite, the liar, and the adulterer(Meyerdorff,2004,222). Polemics sharply increased with the rise of the powerful Ottoman Empire and the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The so-called Turkish Threat was to dominate Christian-Islamic civilisational interactions and attitudes for the next two and a half centuries and was to give rise to the image of unitas christiana among various Christian sects(Hoefert,2000,47). Mastnak(2003,207) points out that the Western Christians were able to draw on the existing hostility toward the Muslims to invoke a sense of unity and community which later on developed into the formation of a new Western unity. During this period both communities making up the respective civilisations were aware of the total opposition between causes held and defended by the Self and the Other which they used for purposes of political legitimisation and re-enforcement (Waardenburg,2003,157). Within each civilisation communities were organised along religious lines thus linking nation and religion and projecting the religion of the Other as the ideological antagonist(Ibid.). Interpretations of the Other religion were full of misunderstandings and were characterised by structural intolerance towards [other] religious groups with no attempt to reformulate own claims of absolute truth in light of the claims of the religious other(Ibid.). This resulted in the development of a religiocentric, centripetal and nearly solipsistic, religiously fixed worldview of both civilisations(Ibid.,158) in which religious identity was considered as something religiously and socially given, primarily by the religious community to which one belongs, with own tradition and authority.(Ibid.,56). 15

Both civilisations were blinded by their own light, as Waardenburg(2003) vividly puts it, developing distorted views placing the religion of the Other as the enemy. Additionally, both civilisations were too caught up in conflict in order to exercise intro-and retro-spection so that in broader circles people deeply felt the two religions as mutually exclusive due to the deep loyalties towards [their] own respective communities(Ibid,159). f.) The period between the 15th and the 17th centuries The period between the 15th and the 17th centuries saw the rise of the European states political power. Commencing in the fifteenth century it lasted until the end of the Second World War. At the beginning of the 17th century the Ottoman Empire was well in its decline and the economic and military superiority of the West was on the rise. During the pre-Enlightenment period of the 15th and 16th centuries a process of profound epistemological change in which knowledge was generated and categorised took place. The essentialist approach to Islam and Christianity inherited during the Medieval Ages continued so that the dichotomy of Christian /Turk became the most powerful and important tool of Otherisation of the period(Hoefer,2000,48) replacing the medieval Christian/Heathen binary Weltanschauung. The concept of religio was, however, no longer seen in its medieval form as being restricted to the semantic field of religious practice 5 [but as] religion as a generic concept(Ibid.,56), an epistemological change, which later was to give rise to occidental ethnography(Ibid.,57). The main Christian writers of the time such as Luther, Shakespeare, Locke, Calvin all used the word infidels in the context of Turks/Muslims(Malik,2004,74). A similar attitude prevailed among Muslim writers on Christianity(Zebiri,1997,26). Religion, therefore, was still considered the central distinguishing civilisational criteria. Throughout this medieval period, it can be safely asserted, that the negative and stereotypical images of Islam provided the anti-thesis to Europes own self-image, thus serving to bolster its own identity in face of perceived external threat and on more popular level satisfied demands for imaginative stimulation(Ibid).

With exclusive reference to Christian belief.


Fundamentally same arguments apply for the manner in which the Christian West was constructed by the Islamic civilisation for the purposes of self-definition (Ibid.) Through the periods described so far iidentities embedded in these civilisations operated within the socio-cultural structures entrapped in a traditional worldview. How do we characterise traditional identities? According to Ameli(2002,91-92) in a traditional worldview identities are taken for granted, are stable and predictable. They are based on the guiding tradition within which people belong to a circle of social life within clearly demarcated and stable social and cultural settings. Thus, identities were not able to be transformed in a fundamental way, nor were they constructed as a result of a conscious choice at either individual or collective level. Rather they were based on past history. Religious identities, in particular, were integrated, continuous and solid. The reasons behind this characterisation of traditional religious identity were, thus, to be found in the very nature of traditional societies and the worldview in which they were embedded. Traditional societies were governed by limited social intercourse and their focus was primarily on internal cultural relations. The means of transport and communication were very restricted. Change took place very slowly. As a result throughout the period considered thus far social norms and mores as well as understandings of the religious tradition did not alter significantly and were largely maintained by consistency in social stratification, cultural roles, psychological motives, rewards and incentives present in respective civilisations. g.)The Period from the 17th to the 19th century The beginning of this period marks the advent of modernity in the West. Whilst in the previous period, from a sociological viewpoint, identities could be described as being traditional in the sense described above; this era marks the transmission towards the development of modern societies and modern identities. The period from the 17th to the 19th century in the Christian West was characterised by a number of momentous events, which had a decisive effect on the nature of contemporary Western civilisation (and by default its dynamic/relationship with Muslim civilisation). The process of Entkirchlichung, the rise of secular democratic nation-states, scientific and industrial revolutions further strengthened the military and political superiority of the Western


civilisation6 and underscored its distinctiveness from the Muslim civilisation which largely remained in its medieval form. This era witnessed dissemination of more informed views about the Other in both camps as the advent of modernity distorted the concept of self-identity in a myriad of ways(Ameli,2002,74). The period saw, for example, poliarisation between liberal and conservative Christians in their respective attitudes towards Islam, which was more detached from inherited perceptions (Zebiri,1997,27). However, the body of knowledge generated by the Christian-Western civilisation during the Enlightenment period can be considered as the cradle of methodological essentialism based on a view of Islam as the Other(Hoefert and Salvatore,2000,23). It was during this epoch via a series of civilisational distinctions with respect to Islam that Europe shaped the Self image of a civilisation based on a unique model of rationality and objective knowledge, the unique site and source of modernity(Ibid.). This lack of proper information about Islam only added to stigmatisation which especially during the closing centuries of the Ottoman Empire turned into a virile form of Islamophobia helping the West define its own identity(Malik,2004,79). This epistemologico-methodological framework was, of course, embodied and manifested itself to perfection in the rise of the Orientalist discourse in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. h.) The Colonial Post Colonial period All of the encounters between the two civilisations as described so far had an element of power in them, be that power military, political, economic, demographic or legal in nature. The difference in the power balance between the two civilisations reached its peak in the 19th century. During this time-period a majority of Muslim lands came under the military, economic, political and cultural dominion of the European powers. Therefore, the West was conceived by colonised Muslims primarily in terms of a foreign aggressor and coloniser and an aggressive military and political body. Parallel to the period of expanding European colonialism, Christian missionary activity was taking place. Both of these civilisational forces came to be characterised in similar terms by the subjugated Muslim societies. Missionaries were considered to be serving Western civilisational interests characterised by liberal secularism,
The term western rather than Christian civilisation will be used from this point in time due to the fact that societal changes in the West listed above religion was no longer considered the dominant marker of its civilisational identity.


imperialistic tendencies, dehumanisation, domination and meaninglessness.(Zardar,1991,2) These perceptions, in turn, became deeply embedded in the consciousness of most Muslims forming part of the [overall] antiWestern rhetoric [and were] constantly re-newed by manifestation of neocolonialism in the present(Zebiri,1997,30;32). The essentialist constructions of the Other embedded in the epistemological frameworks of the Enlightenment period, in turn, gave rise to the phenomenon of Orientalism which remained faithful to the earlier essentialist images of the Self on the basis of the stereotypical Other, in this case the Muslims. The phenomenon of Orientalism, due to the enormous impact it had on relations between Islamic and Western/Christian civilisations and their identity constructions, requires a further comment. The real importance and the historical uniqueness of the Orientalist discourse, argues Pieterberg et al. (2000,72-73) lies in: its universality and its power to determine what should be considered objectively scientific and valid knowledge, and thus the power to shape the identity, culture and history, not only of its subjects, but also of its object. In other words, the historical uniqueness of Orientalism does not merely lie in the fact of Otherisation, but in the result of this Otherisation: the designated Other, the Orientalised Oriental, has come to accept his Otherisation as his true and scientifically valid Self. Some colonial versions of Orientalism,7 and the rise of Islamic religious extremism in its Neo-Traditional Salafi version in the second half of the 20th century8 can be conceived as the accumulative product of the history of mutual essentialist civilisational identity construction between Muslim and Christian Western civilisations based on , in the words of Said (1985,89), the essentialist: Representation of other cultures, societies, histories; a [particular] relationship between power and knowledge; the [particular] role of the intellectual and [particular] methodological questions that have to do with the relationship between different kinds of texts, between text and context, between text and history.

It must be acknowledged, however, that European scholarship on Islam , especially its German authors , exhibited high(er) levels of scholarly objectivism in their approaches and methodology to the study of Islam. For critique of Saids thought see Ibn Warraq Edward Said and the Saidists in Spencer(2005,474-516). 8 For more,on this contemporary Islamic movement see Duderija,(2007,b) and Duderija (2007,c).


h.) The Post-Colonial period to Present With the arrival of the skilled and unskilled immigrant labour into western countries and the technology and communication revolution this period has witnessed the formation of multiple, largely expended transcultural public spheres thus increasing the civilisational and personal interaction between Islamic and Christian-western civilisations. Although occurring in earlier times, albeit on a much smaller scale, a diversification of the civilisational experience of the Other is now taking place on a more significant level so that we can. As a result, at the conceptual level, perhaps for the first time we can talk about the different sub-sections of the respective civilisations (as well as individuals) experiencing or construing considerably different views of the Other. In the context of Muslims I differentiate between several Muslim attitudes towards the West and the construction of the Other. Waardenburg points out that during the period under consideration different Wests were experienced and perceived by different Muslim individuals and groups.9 He categorises the current Muslim socio-political and cultural discourse on the West as follows: The Orient Occident/East-West mutually exclusive, essentialist interpretation, The West as a political concept and political adversary, The West linked to modernity and modern society (use of reason, scholarly knowledge, economic development, technological progress), The West as associated with a particular way of life (with little concern for lasting values, religion and tradition), For neo-fundamentalists, the West is seen as the embodiment of modern jahiliyah and a danger to the Muslim way of life due to its obsession with materialism; a place where secularity dominates; a society in which people are bereft of any higher spiritual truths, norms and values; a society in which people easily fall victim to desire, vice and lust; a Godless society with human made idols.(Waardenburg,2003,48-49)

And, of course ,vice-versa.


In its more radical form this neo-fundamentalist version of the Islamists (based on the ideologies represented/embodied by, for example, Maududi, Qutb) conceptualises the West in terms of an aggressive, self-imposing political, economic and cultural enemy trying to permeate, westernise and secularise the Arab-Muslim East to a point at which Muslim identity and authenticity is entirely lost (Ibid.,251). Furthermore ,the Islamists view of own Self, argues Waardenburg, is based upon notions of: -Renewed affirmation of Islamic identity and a rejection of Western criticism of Islam or of particular situations in Muslim countries, -Continuous emphasis on the ideological historical conflict-ridden process between the two civilisations, -Development of a self-defense mechanism against perceived encroachment of the West and its fending off by the development of an idealised superior alternative model of the Islamisation of the world and knowledge, -The emphasis of the ideology of secularism as stemming from the West and being the real enemy of Islam, -Highly critical claims of Western modernity, colonialism and neoimperialism and of the process of westernisation of Muslims societies and Islam, and -Development of an Islamic epistemology distinct from that of Western scholarship(Ibid.,251-254)

Thus these neo-fundamentalist Islamists, to use Waardenburg terminology, envisage as normative the relationship between Western and Muslim identities and their respective civilisations that emphasises distinctiveness and mutual exclusion. Using our terminology they engage in a civilisationally exclusivist and antagonistic Self-Other mutual identity construction dialectic. In a more sympathetic view of the West and with an apologetic approach to its own tradition, the West is conceived in terms of technological and scientific progress,10 a rational modern (in opposition to traditionally based) society based on the principals of the rule of law(Ibid.). As such these principals are worthy of imitation and are considered Islamic. However, the Wests perceived lack of spiritual, moral, ethical and religious dimensions are heavily criticised by those who have this approach to the West. The West is considered a threat not only to itself but to Muslim societies11 considered to be increasingly coming under its influence(Ibid.).
10 11

Islamists largely share this view too. Especially the Muslim communities in the West, which are seen as particularly vulnerable.


In its secular12 version, Muslim discourse on the West is considered the only source of modernity leading towards progress and (material) well-being. The West embodies the ultimate expression and the very pinnacle of political, economic, societal and cultural development and is to be largely blindly and uncritically imitated and/or followed(Ibid.). In progressive Muslim13 view the socio-political and cultural processes which have brought about epistemological and ontological changes in the Western worldview and resulted in the advent of modernity are considered by as a result of a dynamic process of civilisational interaction and mutual construction through transcultural, transpolitical and trans-social processes. Muslims within this school of thought advocate for a modern episteme in the humanities, arts and social sciences along with a critical and serious engagement with the inherited Islamic tradition (turath). Additionally, this modern episteme could be also applied within the framework of the socio-cultural context of Muslim majority societies resulting in the genesis of another distinct type of modernity(Hanafi,2000). For most Westerners, argues Waardenburg(2003,6-7), the advent of (post) modernity has radically altered the way people identified/identify with religion and how they place and integrate their religious identity into their overall identity. Religious identity, if existent at all, is considered as just one along side many others and is juxtaposed horizontally next to them without any hierarchical order evident(Ibid.) In the majority of Muslim countries, however, especially at the time when the first Muslim immigrants after the Second World War were arriving in various Western countries, the traditional ethico-religious and socio-cultural worldview14 still largely15 prevailed.16 In these traditionally based societies with traditionalist Weltanschauung


Secular Muslims are here defined as those Muslims who claim an epistemological break with the Islamic tradition as embodied in the primary sources of the Islamic worldview, Quran and Sunnah and describe themselves as non-practicing Muslims.

13 14

On Progressive Muslims see Safi (2003) and Duderija (2008,b). Traditional worldview is here taken in the sense of the Arab mind as discussed by Arab intellectual Adonis(pseudo-name) ,Ali Ahmad Said Isbir. See Mansoor (2000). 15 There were of course a number of immigrants such as those who fled the Khomeini regime in Iran , for example, who do not fit this category. 16 This is perhaps best reflected in strong resistance to changes in Muslim Family Law in countries which otherwise have modernised other aspect of their nation-state , including other aspect of the law.


religious identity acts as the base and a foundation on top of which overall identity rests. This disparate view of religion and its place/function in society is a major point of departure and contention between many Muslims (regardless of whether they live in a Muslim minority or majority context) and Westerners. i.) Contemporary Muslim communities identity construction in the West The presence of a significant numbers of Muslim communities and the way members of those communities construct their religious identity in western societies needs to be evaluated against the above briefly outlined context of the historically mutually constructed Self-Other (religious) identity. In todays western societies both Western Christian and Muslim identities have become more personalised and to some extent have detached themselves from the historically dominating civilisation-based identity construction(Waardenburg,2003,247). Consequently, asserts Waardenburg, the religious identities have taken on a broader spectrum of meanings(Ibid.). As Ameli(2002,109) asserts the process of secualrisation and globalisation, most forcefully evident in the west, brought about multifaceted processes of social change through which religious thinking, practice and institutions lost their social significance. However, in the case of certain religious communities, in this case western born Muslims, the context of immigration and being a part of a minority culture has re-affirmed the antagonistic and exclusivist construction of the construction of Self and the Other as described below in the context of what here are referred as Neo-Traditional Salafi (NTS)Muslim identity . Many western Muslims perceive that they face a real risk of being absorbed into a more powerful other which nourishes this polemic [that] serves to re-enforce lines of demarcation between Self and the Other(Zebiri,1997,45). 5.) Types of religious identities in western born generation of Muslims-The case of Neo-Traditional Salafis (NTS) and Progressive Muslims (PM) On the one hand the processes of immigration, de-ethnicitisation and de-culturation have resulted in the creation of a unique, hybrid group of second generation Muslims characterised by a mixture of (basic) Islamic Weltanschauung and appreciation of western democratic institutions. A Muslim identity that is comfortable with fluid 23

and plural identities,(Roy,2004,Dweyer,1999) on whose basis being genuinely engaged in mainstream Western society and remaining genuinely Muslim is not seen as a contradiction in terms (Schmidt,2004;Samad,1998) A variety of terminology is used to describe this type of being a Muslim such as modernist Muslims(Cesari,2004b,87-90) rationalists Waardenburg,2000,61) or enlightened rationalists(Gilliat,1994,186) For example, Gilliat (Ibid,236) refers to this type of being a Muslim in a following manner: There is an important minority of young Muslims in Britain who are not only devoted Muslims, but also fully participating in the wider society when it comes to general social life[T]hey appear to be confident in their religious identity, and they do not rely on outward signs of this identity to bolster their inner sense of being Muslim. As a consequence they can mix freely with non-Muslims in the wider society, without feeling threatened, or compromising their Islam. They are perhaps the ones who most aspire to being recognised as British Muslims. Mandaville and Hunter (2002,220) note this type of western Muslim identity in the context of European Muslims when stating that there are observant Muslims who view Western norms ,popular culture, and lifestyles as mostly compatible with Islam. They do not see inherent conflict in their dual identities as Muslims and Europeans. Roy (2004)terms this a reformised liberal view of Islam. Cesari also points to the existence of similar reformist trends [in Islam] as a result of western freedom of expression and cultural globalisation.(Cesari,2004 a) Marechal et al. refer(2003,14) to it as liberal. Madood and Ahmed (2007) notices the same and labels it as moderate. In this article this type of identity construction is described as progressive religious identity.17 This type of identity should not be confused with what is usually termed symbolic religious identity which denotes a poor and fragmented knowledge of religious norms, a low level of ritual observance, but yet a strong feeling of identification with religion and religious community(Gans,1996) which also exists among western-born Muslim youth(Eid,2002,37). In other words this progressive consider their religious identity to be traditionally authentic and derived from a particular interpretation of the normative sources.

See footnote 13.


This way of being and feeling18 a Western Muslim is founded on the Self-Other mutual identity construction dialectic that can be characterized as civilisationally inclusivist and hybrid according to which the sense of Self is constructed along inclusivist and civilisationally hybrid lines vis--vis the Other. This type of western Muslim identity is line with the notion of the definition of a community of Believers that was originally conceptualised independent of confessional identities during the early era of Islamic thought19 and signifies a clear rupture with the predominant mode of the historicity of the mutual Self-Other identity construction that developed afterwords .

On the other hand we are seeing that the same processes of immigration, deethnicitisation and de-culturation facilitate the formation of identities on purely religious grounds(Roy,2004) have been largely responsible for puritanical and fundamentalist movements of Islam(Cesari,2004a,93,102-103) and a creation of what Hermansen(2003,309;cf. Ebaugh and Chafez 2000; Nielsen,1997) terms the culture free identity Islam. Gardners(1993) study of Bangladesh community in East End of London indicates that transnational migration processes and practices can lead to puritanism, increased religious zeal and what she terms orthodoxy based on scripturalism. This type of religious-based identity attempts to purify Islam of cultural influences and redefine it in along purely religious lines.(Roy,2004,121) Eid refers to this type of religious identity as non-symbolic or ultra- orthodox identity which develops parallel alternatives to mainstream institutions and cultural systems shielded from Western influences [] facilitating Islam-based neo-communalist tendencies and Islamisation of ethnic identities internal dimension(Eid,2007,51). Hashmi(2003,219) also detected similar socially isolationist tendencies among some of the participants in her study who emphasised their Muslimness through adoption of external religious markers/signifiers such as the headscarf. Dassetto (2000)as well found that certain Muslims developed these socially isolationist inclinations. Mandaville (2007)notices that among second and third generation of immigrant families in Britain conservative and politically extreme rendition of Islam is evident

The importance of emotional commitment in identity formation among western Muslims has been outlined in Marranci (2006). 19 See pp.8-9 in this article.


whose function is to, in the context of multicultural Britain, keep together the diverse components of identity in cohesive manner. Haddad and Smith (2003,42) similarly assert that this type of being a Muslim which has gathered some adherents among some university students in United States see the [Muslim] community as permanently maintaining its separateness ,difference and distinction in diaspora. According to Hermansen (2003,310) many aspects of this version of Islamic identity are based on: A mindless and rigid rejection of The Other and the creation of recaptured, rule- based space where one asserts Muslim difference based on gender segregation, romantic recreations of madras a experiences and the most blatantly apologetic articulations of Islam..replac[ing] spirituality with arrogance and a smug pride in ones superior manifestation of visible symbols of identity. It is this type of affirmation of pure culture-free religious identity of the alienated, marginalized and disempowered Muslim youth that is most frequently associated with global militant Islam (Roy,2004,232-287)This, in words of Roy, wide-spread(Ibid.) neo-fundamentalist component of the contemporary Islamic resurgence among western born generation Muslims(Ibid.,315-317), is exhibited by engaging in what Noor (2003,322)terms the rhetoric of oppositional dialectics in which the question of Islamic identity is primarily approached on the basis of the trope of the negative Other which manifests itself in a number of forms: secularism, the West, international Jewry/Zionism, capitalism etc. Cesari (2004a,53-56;95-109;54; cf.Cesari,2003,264265) also identifies this type of religious identity operating within a binary Weltanschauung those appeals to accultured western Muslims youth labeling it orthodox20 in which Islam is the positive and the West is the negative. Citing Gill, Gilliat(1994,186) describes them as Muslims with a strong and fervent faith [who] seem to defy all the secularist, liberal trends[T]hose who hold to unswerving convictions [that] may be regarded as adhering to a system of beliefs and practices which treat scriptural absolutism as the way to counter pluralism and relativism engendered by modernity. This way of being, feeling and constructing a Muslim identity ,therefore ,can be seen as a continuation of the historicity of the Self-Other mutual identity construction between the Islamo-Arab and Judeo-Christian civilisations in the post-formative

Cesari also uses alternative terminology such as Wahhabi and Salafi.


period21 characterised by an antagonistic, exclusivist and oppositional identity construction according to which the Self is constructed in civilisationally isolationist, antagonistic and oppositional lines vis--vis the Other which as it outlined above was, as outlined above, the predominant method of identity formation. 6.) Conclusion: The long history of Christian Muslim mutual identity construction at both civilisational and individual levels, apart from the early Islamic formative period, largely emphasises the religious uniqueness and distinctiveness of the respective faiths based on a particular interpretation /understanding of their religious tradition. It is important to highlight that the contextual background within which civilisational interactions and the creation of transcultural spaces took place was dominated by confrontational political, military, economic and cultural overtones and that this fostered antagonistic and religiously exclusivist construction of Self as well as that of the other. This mutually essentialist paradigm spanning many centuries perpetuated stereotypical images of Self (either Christianity or Islam) and the Other( Islam or Christianity) upon which religious identity construction was based and inherited. In more recent times a diversification of religious identities within faith communities has transpired. Some types of being a Muslim that the author refers to as progressive, do not subscribe to this antagonistic and reactionary construction of Muslim Self vis-vis the other whilst other contemporary constructions of the Muslim Self, are , in essence, a continuation of the medieval Self-Other mutual identity construction dichotomy as in the case of NTS. References Allievi,S. andNielsen,J.(ed.)(2003).Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe, Brill,Leiden. Ameli, S. R. (2002) Globalization, Americanization and British Muslim Identity ICAS Press , London. Brodeur,P.(2004)From Postmodernism to Glocalism,Towards a theoretical understanding of contemporary Arab Muslim Constructions of Religious Others, in Schaebler,B. and L.Stenberg,(ed.) Globalization and the Muslim World-Culture Religion and Modernity,Syracuse University Press,188-205. Cesari, J.(2006) Islam in Europe: the Snare of Exceptionalism, in Aziz al-Azmeh

Corresponding to the period outlined on pp.12-20 in this article.


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