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Debates about contemporary Islam and Muslims in the West have taken some negative turns in the depressing atmosphere of the war on terror and its aftermath. This book argues that we have been too preoccupied with problems, not enough with solutions. It acknowledges but challenges what has come to be viewed as the 'Islamic problem' - the widespread perception or constructio Debates about contemporary Islam and Muslims in the West have taken some negative turns in the depressing atmosphere of the war on terror and its aftermath. This book argues that we have been too preoccupied with problems, not enough with solutions. It acknowledges but challenges what has come to be viewed as the 'Islamic problem' - the widespread perception or construction of Muslims as a troubled and troublesome minority - by asking what Muslims have to be hopeful about today, and how others might share this hope. It argues that there are grounds for hope in many areas of everyday life, and challenges assumptions and assertions that have been made about Muslims in the West. Segregation is set against integration, fear and hate against what cultural critic Paul Gilroy has termed convivial culture. Assertions of difference are put on hold, suggestions of compatibility entertained. Assumptions that Muslims are non-liberal and anti-modern are challenged with evidence about their negotiations of liberalism and modernity. And allegations about Islamic aloofness are set against nuanced evidence of their interaction with other social groups.  The increased mobilisation and scrutiny of Muslim identities has taken place in the context of a more general recasting of racial ideas and racism: a shift from overtly racial to ostensibly ethnic and cultural including religious categories within discourses of social difference. The targeting of Muslims has been associated with new forms of an older phenomenon: imperialism. New divisions between Muslims and others echo colonial binaries of black and white, colonised and coloniser, within practices of divide and rule. So this book speaks to others who have been marginalised and colonised, and to wider debates about social difference, oppression and liberation.


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Debates about contemporary Islam and Muslims in the West have taken some negative turns in the depressing atmosphere of the war on terror and its aftermath. This book argues that we have been too preoccupied with problems, not enough with solutions. It acknowledges but challenges what has come to be viewed as the 'Islamic problem' - the widespread perception or constructio Debates about contemporary Islam and Muslims in the West have taken some negative turns in the depressing atmosphere of the war on terror and its aftermath. This book argues that we have been too preoccupied with problems, not enough with solutions. It acknowledges but challenges what has come to be viewed as the 'Islamic problem' - the widespread perception or construction of Muslims as a troubled and troublesome minority - by asking what Muslims have to be hopeful about today, and how others might share this hope. It argues that there are grounds for hope in many areas of everyday life, and challenges assumptions and assertions that have been made about Muslims in the West. Segregation is set against integration, fear and hate against what cultural critic Paul Gilroy has termed convivial culture. Assertions of difference are put on hold, suggestions of compatibility entertained. Assumptions that Muslims are non-liberal and anti-modern are challenged with evidence about their negotiations of liberalism and modernity. And allegations about Islamic aloofness are set against nuanced evidence of their interaction with other social groups.  The increased mobilisation and scrutiny of Muslim identities has taken place in the context of a more general recasting of racial ideas and racism: a shift from overtly racial to ostensibly ethnic and cultural including religious categories within discourses of social difference. The targeting of Muslims has been associated with new forms of an older phenomenon: imperialism. New divisions between Muslims and others echo colonial binaries of black and white, colonised and coloniser, within practices of divide and rule. So this book speaks to others who have been marginalised and colonised, and to wider debates about social difference, oppression and liberation.

9 review for Muslim Spaces of Hope: Geographies of Possibility in Britain and the West

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sevket Akyildiz

    Thank you, Richard Phillips, for editing this interdisciplinary work and to the contributors for their efforts and high standard of academic writing. I enjoyed the concept of "Muslim spaces of hope" and think the book is rather uplifting. This study is different from other texts which focus upon the somewhat standardised themes and topics (although often well written). This book tries to tease out the more optimistic side to multicultural societies in the West. And I think it works (both the boo Thank you, Richard Phillips, for editing this interdisciplinary work and to the contributors for their efforts and high standard of academic writing. I enjoyed the concept of "Muslim spaces of hope" and think the book is rather uplifting. This study is different from other texts which focus upon the somewhat standardised themes and topics (although often well written). This book tries to tease out the more optimistic side to multicultural societies in the West. And I think it works (both the book and multi-culture). Part One (Spaces of hope?) sets the background and introduces the intellectual discussion. The chapters are thorough and engaging to read. Peter Hopkins's chapter is noteworthy. Part Two (Convivial cities) contains some really fascinating chapters on fashion, the scouts, the Islamic bathhouse, and Bangladeshi homes in the East End. Magda Sibley and Fodil Fadhi have written a very good study of bathhouses in North Africa, Turkey and Europe. This discusses intercultural themes. These chapters provided a colourful and descriptive analysis of the lives of British Muslims today. Part Three (Economic and political empowerment) is, again, another well researched and written three chapters. And, Part Four (Integration and resistance) looks at how, where and why Muslims are successfully (or not) living the integrated 'good life' in the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA, and elsewhere in the 'West'. The chapters by M.A. Kevin Brice, and Selcuk R. Sirin and Selen Imamoglu were very readable. Overall, I recommend this book. It will make you think differently about Muslims in Britain and the West, it looks at integration from a more positive stance, and examines topics of a social and cultural nature, as well as political ones. (In particular, I enjoyed reading chapters 2, 3, 6, 7, 12 and 13.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hala Makhlouf

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dalal

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rima

  6. 4 out of 5

    McKinsie

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fardina

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Clyde

  9. 5 out of 5

    Arabicstudent

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