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April 26th, 2016

The new global politics of religion: A view from the other side

posted by Noah Salomon

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | Beyond Religious FreedomIn the summer of 2013, the international Islamic magazine al-Bayan published its Ramadan issue with a striking cover. Flanked by titles on the Qur’anic and Biblical figure Haman, jihad and the great battles won by Muslims in the month of Ramadan, and an interview with the Iraqi Islamist intellectual ‘Imad al-Din Khalil, the image that the editors chose for the cover article was clearly meant to cause controversy. Casually strewn across a map of the Middle East and North Africa was a simple sibha, a chain of beads used to count repetitive prayers known collectively as adhkar. In recent years, the sibha has come to be associated as a marker of Sufi Mulims, given that non-Sufi reformist Muslims of various stripes have stipulated that it constitutes an innovation in worship and thus a straying from the perfect path laid down by the Prophet himself for praising God. Attached to the end of this sibha, where a bead or other decoration might normally be located, was a small American flag, resembling those lapel pins that US government officials began to wear following 9/11. If the implications of the image itself were not clear, the headline on which it sat most certainly was: “American Infiltration through the Sufi zawiyas.”

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April 21st, 2016

The uncertainty principles of Heisenberg and Hurd

posted by Benjamin Schonthal

April 19th, 2016

A more anxious freedom

posted by Matthew Scherer

April 14th, 2016

Competing inequalities

posted by Anupama Rao

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April 25th, 2016

Satire and policing the boundary of free expression

posted by Peter Ronald deSouza
Carlyle Lectures PosterNow that Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has permitted the prosecution of German satirist Jan Boehmermann the time has come to fully wade into the free speech debate and take it beyond the question of policing the boundaries of a democratic society. Commenting on this decision, The Guardian criticized Merkel for tarnishing “her country’s reputation for freedom.” While the familiar issues of Europe’s core values—learning by the minority to develop a culture of laughing at oneself; of intolerance, bigotry, and micro-aggression against Islamic communities; of a new idea of plural Europe, with new rules of living together differently, that is in the making—will be played out as the controversy develops, the case of the German satirist opens the door to new issues for deliberation.

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April 4th, 2016

Why citizenship (still) matters in France

posted by Emile Chabal
In the wake of the November 13 terrorist attack, French president François Hollande decided to reinforce France’s security legislation. In addition to a raft of police and intelligence measures, he proposed two major constitutional revisions: the first was to “constitutionalize” the state of emergency, previously an ad hoc piece of legislation; the second was to formalize the conditions under which French citizens can be stripped of their nationality.

Both of these propositions were intensely controversial. The first quite rightly evoked France’s colonial past and its long history of police violence. France has known many periods of internal strife and state abuse of power in the past two centuries—from colonial wars to foreign occupation—and those on the left of the political spectrum feared the consequences of a state of emergency raised to the status of a constitutional principle. Nevertheless, the proposal seemed to have enough cross-party support for it to be guaranteed safe passage through parliament in the coming months.

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Religion and digital culture

In this series on thinking about religion in a digital age, scholars and journalists consider their respective crafts and the media through which they practice.

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Black Natural Law

Black Natural Law CoverWhen we look at how outstanding black political leaders have historically discussed justice, they appealed to a higher law, irreducible to worldly (secular) terms.

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Queer faiths: Can conversions uncover and unsettle racialized religion?

Word CloudSociologist Jana Glaese asks what conversions in Germany and the United States can tell us about the entanglements of race and religion?