What was Osama bin-Laden for Muslims?

I just finished reading Dr. Marranci’s latest article, which he posted to his blog less than a couple hours ago. It’s a pretty interesting read, and should be especially for non-Muslims. In it, he asks the question ‘what was Usamah bin Ladin for Muslims?’ and discusses the typical Western perception of what he (may Allah have mercy on him) represents for Muslims vs. the reality. For those of you interested in reading it, I invite you to visit the Professor’s blog: What was Osama bin-Laden for Muslims? or read the article here in full after the break; up to you.

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Dr. Marranci: Why Pastor Jones believes in tautological Islam

In his latest post, Dr. Marranci’s got a different take on the whole Qur’an burning fiasco and looks at things from a different angle. Here’s a bit from the beginning of his post (as always link to the complete article at the bottom):

 I have no doubt that during the forthcoming “International Burn a Quran Day”, on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the pages of many Qur’ans, probably in translation, will meet fire. Fanatics, such as Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, Florida, whom planned the event, will celebrate their quite pagan ritual of purification through fire of what they see as a demonic religion which is “causing billions of people to go to hell”.  They will be unaware that, in reality, they ‘share’ aspects of Islam with millions of others.  They, in a certain sense, are ‘crypto-Muslims’.

Burning a copy (presumably in translation) of the Qur’an may appear to some to be a courageously defiant act that is aimed to offend Muslims. Nonetheless, if it happens to be a person’s deep desire to watch copies of the Qur’an burn, there is no need to wait for the 9/11 anniversary book burning – just visit Singapore!  Yes, in this city of religious harmony and strict control over possible religiously heated controversy, Qur’ans are regularly burnt. The culprits? Muslims.

Read on … Why Pastor Jones (together with similarly minded people) believes in tautological Islam.

Dr. Marranci: Burqu’ing freedom: the danger of ‘moral civilizing’

It’s been a while since I posted any articles from Dr. Marranci (in part because, like mine, his blog’s been a bit in active due to him being busy with various other things). He’s recently put up a nice article regarding the recent global trend seen with “democratic” places banning the face veil. It’s a great read for anyone interested. Here’s a bit from the beginning of the article:

The year 2010 appears to be marked by the ‘war on burqas’ (the Switzerland minarets being an exception). While Belgium has formally moved to ban niqabs and burqas, Italy used regional laws to fine Muslim women using niqabs, and Quebec has imposed a ban for anyone wearing one to enter government places, including hospital and casualty departments (see this article for more information). The majority of European nations, such as France, are still debating the matter. Both politicians and experts recognize that the number of people who wear a face veil (click here to avoid any confusion about them as often happens) on European streets are very few, and in Belgium they are even less than fifty. It would not be so unimaginable to suggest–even starting from my own observations–that today in the west there are more Muslim women wearing miniskirts than face veils.Many have been the opinions over whether the niqab or burqa are an Islamic requirement, innovation, or just one of numerous other styles of veiling. Al-Qaradawi has suggested that niqab is neither a requirement nor an innovation. In other words,it is a style within the tradition of Muslim dress. In another post I have discussed how increasingly, Muslim women, both by non-Muslims as well as Muslims, have been reduced to the ‘material culture’ of their dress styles. In this case, I wish to observe another aspect of the ‘war on burqa’.

The reasons provided for the direct or indirect ban of the face veil are of two orders: the first, quite hypocritical, suggests that the ban is imposed because of security legislation, often ‘rediscovered’ after decades, which forbids citizens to cover their faces in public. An example of this legalistic approach is Italy, which has rediscovered fascist left-overs that impose fines and prison time for those who disguise their face in public. The second is more honest and direct. Like the case of France, the ban is justified in terms of the traditions and morals of a country. In essence, the first case is nothing other than a camouflage of the latter. I think that it is reasonable to suggest that the attempt to ban face veils should be read within the discourse of ‘values’ and ‘morals’ rather than ‘security’ and ‘legal tradition’. In other words, we are entering the realm of ‘civilizational discourse’ and ‘ideology’.

Read on … Burqu’ing freedom: the danger of ‘moral civilizing’.

A Lesson to Learn from the PE Fiasco

Dr. Marranci talks of A lesson to learn regarding the whole Policy Exchange Fiasco (also see: More on the Recent PE Report and Policy Exchange Exposed). The Dr. states,

As some of you may have noticed, I usually do not comment immediately upon events and news. There are two main reasons for this, firstly I am very slow in updating my blog, secondly I believe that to have a detached view and analysis of what is going on, you need to have some time for reflection. This is even truer when you, yourself, have been involved in the story.

As you can read in some of my previous posts, I was one of the first academics to question and criticise the formerly media-acclaimed Policy Exchange’s report on extremist literature in British mosques and Islamic institutes authored by Dr MacEoin. This led to a couple of exchanges with the main researcher and author of the report, who often had a certain goliardic attitude towards legitimate methodological questions. Finally, what was at first an academic analysis and criticism of a flawed methodology, a dodgy research ethic, and a sensationalist (politically driven) report, ended in being shamed by the same mass media which used to praise it.

On the 13th of December, Newsnight’s journalist, Richard Watson, has shown during the Newsnight program, how the researchers involved in the collection of the material for the report faked and falsified the receipts, the same ones which Dr MacEoin guaranteed, in his comment on my blog, would have proven the ethical basis and trustworthiness of his report.

Dr MacEoin argued that my criticism of his flawed work and his possibly undercover, unethical, and forged research brought ‘nothing but shame’ on myself since my criticism was actually tacit approval of the material ‘discovered’ in the mosque. I suppose that now Dr MacEoin has to work hard to clean his name for shamefully using his academic title for a what appears to be nothing more than a scam. Of course, we can only judge from what we have, the report, Dr MacEoin’s comments, and Newsnight’s investigation.

Read on … A Lesson to Learn.

More on the Recent PE Report

Dr. Marranci has written two entries concerning the Policy Exchange report by Denis MacEoin, which I wrote about earlier. The first is a critical review of the report titled Policy Exchange Hijacks Professional Research, where he discusses the methodology and ethics, or lack thereof, behind the report. The second is an Open letter to Dr Denis MacEoin, the author of the report, which is a reply to a comment MacEoin posted to Dr. Marranci’s blog.

Both are quite good reads, and in my opinion, rather enjoyable.

Update: I’ve found another blog entry, which I’ve added to this post. Enjoy.

From the first entry:

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Muslims Victims of Buddhist Violence?!

Kind of sounds strange, doesn’t it? Especially given the image of these two religions many of us get through Western media. Brother AbdulHaq of Brixton sent me the following link to a rather interesting blog post by an anthropologist studying Muslim communities. His name’s Dr. Gabriele Marranci and he’s given a pretty interesting look into the situation being experienced by my Muslim brothers and sisters in Burma; thanks to Dr. Marranci for the insight, and thanks to AbdulHaq for directing me to the Dr.’s post. From the article:

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