A Critique of Islamism

Islamism, in current contexts, connotes a political order based on and around Islam. However, these connotations are primarily negative, ranging from a vile and violent overthrow of the modern political system to a petty abuse hurled at Muslims. [1] Professor Salman Sayyid appears to have taken cue from this, and attempts to displace the negative connotations that the term possesses by presenting Islamism in a different light. Although it is a hopeful exercise, exercises like this are susceptible to failure, and at times even dangerous. In this article, I argue against Sayyid’s attempt, elucidating the negative consequences that result from and further the overall employment of Islamism as concept and term. Continue reading A Critique of Islamism

Dearborn Schools and the Protests Against LGBT Books

Books like This is Book Gay by Juno Dawson and Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston sat atop library shelves in Dearborn Public Schools, Michigan, until last week, when the schools pulled them for review after parents complained of their sexual nature. Many of the books discussed LGBT relationships; This is Book Gay is a non-fiction title with instructions on how to use apps for casual sex, descriptions of sex toys and how to engage in anal sex. Other fiction titles contain numerous explicit sex scenes. While it is not a shock that most Americans view pre-marital sex as acceptable, the outrage stemmed from the portrayal of this material as innocuous and acceptable for young people. Continue reading Dearborn Schools and the Protests Against LGBT Books

Ilhan Omar, Representation and Muslim Political Organizing in the West

Ilhan Omar’s recent invite to a prominent Muslim convention in America sparked an intense debate around representation calling into question the successes or failures of Muslim activists who have allied themselves with the left in the West. While these are two separate discussions, Omar, as a Muslim political figure represents, the overlap between these two debates. As someone who has been involved with political organizations in the UK, although Omar is a figure on the American left, I will use the politics of the UK as my primary reference point in this piece.  Continue reading Ilhan Omar, Representation and Muslim Political Organizing in the West

Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

Recently, deadly protests have broken out across Iran after authorities supposedly detained a woman, Mahsa Amini, and eventually killed her for violating Iranian laws regarding the Hijab. The killing of this woman and the brutal nature of Iranian authorities is surely horrifying and detestable — if it indeed happened as they say. Initial reports stated she died in police custody and soon escalated to state that she was brutally beaten. Continue reading Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

Indonesia’s Moderate Islam Forum and the BJP

On Friday, August 26, 2022, The Print published an article regarding a summit planned by the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest population of Muslims, hoping to “quell the ideas of radical Islam and extremism and promote moderatism.” Language like this already rings alarm bells, considering the notorious Prevent and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)’s strategy of delineating arbitrary markers of radicalization, and entrapping Muslims under what becomes effectively a police state. The nail in the coffin, so to speak, is the presence of a central committee member, Ram Madhav, a BJP politician who once served as General Secretary of the party and is a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The BJP is India’s ruling party, and current Prime Minister Modi was an architect of the 2002 Gujarat massacre of Muslims. Continue reading Indonesia’s Moderate Islam Forum and the BJP

Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

The history of the modern Middle East is often narrated as a story of power struggles between competing ideologies. One such set of competing ideologies is Islamism and secularism. The aim of this paper is not to explore these ideologies in the light of Middle Eastern history and argue in favor of either one of the two; instead, this essay will attempt to explore one of the factors that enables this dichotomization in the first place. The conceptualization of Islam as a “religion” creates the possibility of characterizing actors as “Islamists” in opposition to those characterized as secularists. I argue that this “religion-making” is intricately linked to the workings of the modern state which makes “religion” essential to its existence as secular. Continue reading Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

Roe v. Wade and the Hikmah of Islamic Prohibitions

The overturning of Roe sparked a strong clash between both the opposing sides of the political spectrum and has been a matter of great debate and controversy. Individual states now have the power to ban or limit abortions, which will become illegal in about half of the states in the U.S. Healthcare professionals can be criminally charged for performing an abortion. This article will shed light on the significance and impact of this ruling, and will discuss the perspectives and proposed solutions at both ends of the political spectrum. Continue reading Roe v. Wade and the Hikmah of Islamic Prohibitions

Islam and Progressive Politics: Considerations on Pluralism, Liberal Hegemony, and Foreign Policy

Here, I argue that progressivism appears to have rekindled neoconservatism (not surprising, as many current progressives were on the neoconservative bandwagon not too long ago), but this time without the “security” guise that Americans have grown tired of, instead with a pivot towards democracy and freedom. The War on Terror can be conveniently replaced with the war for democracy. This causes massive international damage to Islamic countries, who will face severe economic, political, and possibly even military pressure from adventurist foreign policies. This should challenge our assumed alliance with the Democratic Party, and that general justifications given for strongly allying with progressive coalitions at home, namely the possibility of pluralism and international restraint, are both false. Continue reading Islam and Progressive Politics: Considerations on Pluralism, Liberal Hegemony, and Foreign Policy

India’s Hijab Ban, Part II: Defining Islamic Identity

In the previous section we explored a general trend in contemporary thinkers who — while recognizing the flaws in the existing democratic-constitutional-secular-liberal regime (the ideal in international politics) — locate these flaws in something external to the regime as a kind of consequence of history. Legal scholar Faizan Mustafa and historian Irfan Habib are two prominent examples from the legal and political theory fields who have strong commitments to secular democratic projects. They view the existing BJP government as simply having violated the basic social-contract which underlies constitutional rule (namely,  adhering to the rule of law). Continue reading India’s Hijab Ban, Part II: Defining Islamic Identity