Can Islam Be French?: Pluralism and Pragmatism in a by John R. Bowen

By John R. Bowen

Can Islam Be French? is an anthropological exam of the way Muslims are responding to the stipulations of existence in France. Following up on his booklet Why the French do not like Headscarves, John Bowen turns his consciousness clear of the views of French non-Muslims to target these of the country's Muslims themselves. Bowen asks now not the standard question--how good are Muslims integrating in France?--but, quite, how do French Muslims take into consideration Islam? specifically, Bowen examines how French Muslims are fashioning new Islamic associations and constructing new methods of reasoning and instructing. He appears at a few of the really designated ways that mosques have attached with broader social and political forces, how Islamic academic marketers have shaped niches for brand spanking new varieties of education, and the way significant Islamic public actors have set out a particularly French method of spiritual norms. All of those efforts have provoked sharp responses in France and from abroad facilities of Islamic scholarship, so Bowen additionally seems to be heavily at debates over how--and how far--Muslims may still adapt their non secular traditions to those new social stipulations. He argues that the actual ways that Muslims have settled in France, and within which France governs religions, have created incentives for Muslims to strengthen new, pragmatic methods of considering spiritual concerns in French society.

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Extra info for Can Islam Be French?: Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State (Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics)

Sample text

Third, despite some degree of country rivalry and some degree of tension between Arabic and Berber speakers, differences across Muslims of North African background are less acute and explicit than are those dividing major Muslim populations elsewhere in Europe. Muslims who moved from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh settled in Britain in such a way as to reproduce not only ethnic difference but also those between villages or lineages. Furthermore, strongly felt theological or juridical oppositions among Islamic religious institutions in South Asia often were reproduced in Britain, most notably between various offshoots of the ­Deoband school and those tracing Sufi-oriented Barelvi backgrounds.

Aubervilliers, where Dhaou has his school and which has a large Muslim population, has no structures built to be mosques; prayers are held in what once were factories, each holding 600–800 worshippers. By contrast, the new Clichy mosque is projected to accommodate 4,000 people. On that day in 2006, Dhaou discussed the riots of the previous fall: In the twenty-one years I was imam in the lower Clichy mosque, there never was any trouble in the building. When the riots started, the young men in the mosque association got out and talked to others and were able to calm things down.

6 These North African Muslims arriving in France included speakers of Berber languages and a range of Arabic dialects, but they shared the use of Arabic in religious life, common North African religious traditions, and an allegiance to the Mâlikî legal school of Sunni Islam. They thus were able to worship together in the prayer spaces in their apartments or in mosques. 7 West Africans also came to France as laborers and soldiers, but most came later and retained stronger prior religious ties than did North Africans.

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