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Remaking the Mosaic

Religious Leaders and Secular Borders in the Colonial Levant

Alexander D. M. Henley

The colonial view of Levantine society as a mosaic of religions established lasting precedents for communal self-governance and power sharing in modern states. Yet it ironically disguises the extent to which the region's religious geography was reimagined by colonial rule. Principles of religious freedom and minority rights combined with a perception of 'oriental religions' to create a unique and powerful place for religious leaders to govern. The borders that would define national societies in Palestine-Israel, Lebanon, and Syria also remade the boundaries by which the religious mosaic was structured. This article will highlight institutional change in the Maronite Christian and Sunni Muslim communities, showing how each reformulated its religious leadership in response to the creation and enforcement of Lebanon's borders with Palestine and Syria from 1920 to 1948. The 'traditional' religious leaderships of today are in no small part products of the same colonial 'lines in the sand' within which nations were formed.

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Sheikhs and the City

Urban Paths of Contention in Sidon, Lebanon

Are John Knudsen

and external factors and combined an Islamist (Salafist) discourse with social protest over the Sunnis’ disempowerment and political decline. Based on a detailed reading of Sheikh Assir's biography and religious background this article seeks to explain

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Islam and assisted reproductive technologies: Sunni and Shia perspectives, edited by Inhorn, Marcia C. and Soraya Tremayne

Sonja Luehrmann

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Resistance Through Nonperformance

Atheism and Nonreligion in Turkey

Pierre Hecker

Religious identity has always been a contentious issue in Turkish politics. Dominant discourse commonly denies the existence of atheism and nonreligion and emphasizes the Sunni Muslim identity of the Turkish nation. In this scenario, being Turkish

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The Invisible Inhabitants of a Cultural Limbo

Religion Identities among Igdir Ja'faris

Mehmet Ali Sevgi

history, such as Armenians, Kurds, Turks, Iranians, and Russians. Today, the city has a multicultural population consisting of Sunni Kurds and Shi'i (Ja'fari) Turks. Many of the Kurds who reside in Igdir have come from the surrounding mountain villages and

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On Institutional Pluralization and the Political Genealogies of Post-Yugoslav Islam

Jeremy F. Walton and Piro Rexhepi

recently, Sarajevo exerted centripetal force on Muslims in socialist Yugoslavia, and the bulk of the institutional framework for Sunni Islam in post-Yugoslav successor states derives from earlier socialist and Habsburg precedents. While the following

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Reimagining Democracy through Syria's Wartime Sharia Committees

Emma Findlen LeBlanc

articulated by most of my working-class, Sunni informants, and embodied for them in the ideal of the Sharia Committees, is one in which democracy is achieved through Islam, as a social, political and legal practice. And if Islam is the answer to democracy, the

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Commitment, Convergence, Alterity

Muslim-Christian Comparison and the Politics of Distinction in the Netherlands

Daan Beekers

comparative analytical sketch of these revivalist-oriented young adults based on ethnographic research I conducted on the everyday pursuit of religious commitment among Dutch Protestant Christians and Sunni Muslims, who were between 18 and 28 years old and

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Halaqas, relational subjects, and revolutionary committees in Syria

Charlotte Al-Khalili

Anthropology 29 ( 1 ): 54 – 79 . Pierret , Thomas . 2013 . Religion and state in Syria: The Sunni ulama from coup to revolution . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press . Séniguer , Haouès . 2014 . “ La civilisation islamique et l'humanisme arabo

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‘Ashura in Bahrain

Analyses of an Analytical Event

Thomas Fibiger

'Ashura is an annual Shi'i ritual commemorating the death of Imam Husayn at the Battle of Karbala in AD 680. In Bahrain, the ritual runs for two weeks and involves processions with more than 100,000 participants. Bahrain is a small but ethno-sectarian heterogeneous island state, where a Sunni minority dominates a Shi'i majority. The religious ritual of 'Ashura therefore has deep political connotations, and a variety of analyses, aspirations, and actions are played out in the context of the ceremonies. This article discusses 'Ashura from the various viewpoints of participants and observers, thereby raising the question of the relationship between analysis and event. I argue that the ritual itself includes an interpretation of the relationship between the Sunni and Shi'i sects, and that this leads to a variety of reflections among Bahrainis on what 'Ashura is and should be.