Islam in Scandinavia & Spain – Post 12

Week 14 // Post 12

In the book Islam, Europe’s Second Religion Hunter discusses the four levels of integration into Scandinavian Countries they are as follows:

General Integration: To make Islam and Muslims accepted in every day life, as they have not be widely accepted and integrated. Contributing factors toward the negative integration due to “the persistence of communalism among Muslims plus the segregation in house and in the labor market” (Hunter, 2002) For this to change both Muslims and Swedish have to be more accepting and change.

Political Level: Muslims and Swedish integration at the political level is low, there are very few Muslims involved with the Swedish political scene at the national level. Hunter describes two different parties that are involved in the Scandinavia that are present in Flag_of_scandinaviathe public are basically secular. The two groups are secular and observant – Male is identified as secular and females are identified as observant.

Level of Religious Rituals: the different religious views toward different aspects of life. For example “in Sweden, Muslims have attacked the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because of restrictions on Islamic way of slaughtering animals.” (Hunter, 2002)

Ideological Level: One of the positive situations between Muslims and Sweden. Muslim individuals have expressed the idea to create the term “Euro-Islam”. These individuals were to express that they have distanced themselves from the different political problems in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to create more of a “true” Islam in Europe. (Hunter, 2002)

        The situation in Spain regarding Islam is different from other European countries. “The most important difference lies in the face that despite a past marked by many centuries of Islamic rule, at present Muslim are not numerically significant in Spain, and the Muslim community in Spain, both naturalized and immigration, totals just 350,000” (Hunter, 2002) The reason behind this is due to that in the past 15 years Spain has been receiving immigrants, Spain has also had no lasting colonies in Muslim countries. Muslim integration in Spanish Society is very high in the case of naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts, but the majority of these Muslims have settled into Spain due to economic reason and who have achieved a limited level of integration. Comparing the number of immigrant Muslims verse the number of “nationalized Muslims”, immigrant Muslims is much higher “Spanish legislation relation to region has been develop only in light of the needs of the Spanish Muslim community and dose not extend to Muslim immigrants.” (Hunter, 2002)



Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.



Muslim Immigration in Europe Vs. the United States – Post 11

sWeek 12// Post 11

The population of Muslim immigrants in Italy differs from that in other countries in many ways. One of the various things that set Italy apart is the setting up of mosque in several university towns in 1970’s. “Regarding the emergence of Muslim organization, Italy is unique because, unlike in many other European countries the first mosques were created not by and for immigrant workers, but by and an intellectual elite of students from the middle east…”(Hunter, 2002)The evolution of immigrant communities in Italy differ from those in European countries not only in the recent arrival of immigrants but also the diversity of countries or origin, rapid pace of entry and settlement, higher number irregular immigrants, and higher level of geographic dispersion. (Hunter, 79) “The Islamic presence in Italy became visible with the entry of the first immigrants, whereas in other countries, Islam became visible only after the emergence of a second immigrant generation.” (Hunter, 2002)Muslims8_thumb


The “intesa” is essentially an agreement that has to be signed if religions they want to be included in the system of recognition that offers various judicial and economic advantages. Factors that have contributed to the lack of an “intesa” with the Islamic community in Italy are because (1) Muslims are not Italian citizens and are immigrants with the hope to return to their country of origin, (2) Muslims do not yet represent a powerful political group, which reduces the urgency of coming to an agreement, (3) Cultural differences, the use of Arabic as the principle medium of religious expression and intra-Muslim communication, leads to alienation of Muslims, (4) Financing for Muslim institutions coming from other Muslim countries leads to more alienation of Muslims, (5) the weak level of organization, minimal cohesion, and adequate public awareness in Italian Islam. (Hunter, 2002) These factors have been a contributing factor to the lack of an “intesa” between the Islamic and Italy.

After reading the article Why the U.S. doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does by Naveed Jamali I gained an insight to the United Stated and Europe’s Muslim population. When asking the question why dose the United States not have a “Muslim problem” compared to Europe was for a couple reasons according to the article. Jamali reasons the “Muslim problem” in Europe to the inability for Muslims to assimilate into European culture. While there is a greater Muslim population in Europe, the United States has allowed Muslims the ability to assimilate into American Society and feel like they belong rater then feeling like an outsider. Jamali uses outside statistics to back up him claim stating “ …80 percent of US Muslims were happy with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society” (Jamali, 2016) Muslims in the United states have shown their pride by displaying the US flag in various locations, which is another indication of how Muslims immigrants in America feel at home. The Muslim population in the United States differs from that in Europe by the number of immigrants in each country. There is a larger population of Muslims, which most likely contributes to the uneasy feeling of not feeling assimilated in Europe.

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Jamali uses his real life examples of how Europe and the United States differ from each other when it comes to the welcoming Muslim Immigrants. Jamali’s uncle went to Europe to work as an engineer for the German Space Agency. In Germany he had two sons who avoided mandatory German military service and struggled to identify himself German. Jamali’s dad had a much different experience in the United States, he came to the US on a Fulbright scholarship and ran a successful business, and one of his sons joined the US Navy; also voting in each election, immersing themselves in American culture. These different experiences give Jamali a basis toward the United States.

Since the publication of this article last year a lot has change in the United States, this is due to the election of the newsiest President Donald Trump. President Trump has placed a ban on immigration to the United States. This has caused a lot of controversy within and out of the US for many. I feel as if this article was written today, I feel as the attitude toward the United States would be much different given the changes over the past couple months.


Jamali, N. (2016, April 3). “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does.” Retrieved from: 

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.


Post #12

Islam integration in Scandinavia & Spain

The four levels of integration of Muslims in the Scandinavian countries are as follows:

1. The general integration of Muslims. So far, Muslims have not been integrated at this level because there is still a persistence of communalism and segregation in housing and the labor market. The public and media’s image of Muslims are still negative in Scandinavian countries as well. For Muslims to feel more integrated, the Swedish laws must change so there is not ethnic discrimination. The Swedish state is currently moving toward the acceptance of the headscarf and must grant Muslim women the right to wear headscarves at the workplace (Hunter, p. 138).

2. The political level. Very few Muslims are active in the Scandinavian political life at a national level and therefore integration at this level is low. Even the actively political Muslims are hardly known as leaders or representatives of Islam’s and Muslims. There are two prototypes of political Muslims portrayed in the media and one is secular (male) and the other is observant (female).

3. The level of religious rituals. “Muslims have attacked the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because of restrictions on the Islamic way of slaughtering animals in Sweden” (Hunter, p. 138).

4.  The ideological level. This level is quite positive for Muslims in Sweden. Muslims feel like they are a part of the development of what they call Euro-Islam. Muslims are willing to distance themselves from Middle East, Africa and Asia politics in order to create a more “try” Islam in Europe.

“Muslims holding Sweden’s flag.”

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Currently, there are only 350,000 Muslims in Spain (Hunter, p. 157). There are two reasons why there is not a greater impact of Islam in modern-day Spanish society given the history of Islam in Spain. The first reason is that only in the last 15 years has Spain become a receiver of immigrants. The second reason is that unlike other European countries, Spain has had no lasting colonies in Muslims countries.

The degrees of Muslims integration within the Spanish society differs across each Muslim group. In general, the level of integration is very high in the case of naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts (Hunter, p. 165). But a majority of Muslims are only in Spain for economic reasons and they have a more limited level of integration. Currently, Spanish legislation relating to religion was only developed for Spanish Muslims, but not Muslim immigrants. At the political level, the integration is low. Since most Muslims are immigrants who do not have a Spanish citizenship, it is very difficult for political expression. It also discourages Muslims from forming associations, which in turn makes political parties and trade unions ignore Muslim communities (Hunter, p. 171).

Muslim women in Granada, Spain.

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Something that really stands out to me is how hard it is for Muslims to integrate into European countries. It’s just surprising that it would be so difficult, especially since Europe has such a diverse population in general with people from all over and various backgrounds. You would think Europe would embrace more diversity – especially more than the U.S. It’s interesting how including one more religion into their folds is such a challenge for Europe, why can’t it be easier? It also seems like Muslims are somewhat willing to adapt to their European culture, as long as they can still celebrate their own culture that they know.

“Europa kicking Islam out of Europe.”

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Works Cited

Hunter, S. (2002). Islam, Europe’s Second Religion. Print.

Daisy Post 12 – Muslims in Scandinavian Countries & Final Thoughts

Muslims’ integration into Scandinavian societies has been both similar and different from the integration experiences of fellow Muslims into other European countries.

Map of the Scandinavian Countries

Lief Stenberg, contributor to Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, explains four main levels of integration for Muslims into Scandinavian countries:

  1. The general integration in order to make Islam and Muslims an accepted part of the Scandinavian country’s way of life – so far, this has not happened due to remaining segregation in the housing and labor markets.  There are lingering bad views of Islam and Muslims, mainly among older generations – a view which I find similar to how some view other groups, like African Americans, in the U.S.  Stenberg notes that change can only come from both the Muslims and native Scandinavians.  Specifically, Muslims will have to reinterpret their religion to work it into existing Scandinavian society, and Scandinavians will have to change their laws to be more accommodating.  For example, Sweden is taking a step in the right direction by working towards making headscarves legal in the workplace for Muslim women.
  2. Political level – so far there is a low level of integration in this area.  Muslims generally have little to no involvement in Scandinavian politics, partially due to how the “average” Muslim male and female are portrayed in the media.  The male is often pictured as a middle aged guy, living every aspect of his life to Islamic standards; he is passionate about protecting and embracing Muslim culture, so far as to say his brand of Muslim is the right brand, and he is not interested or invested in Scandinavian politics.  The female, on the other hand, is portrayed as a convert who wants to be involved in Scandinavian politics and is generally much more secular in comparison to her peers and males (Stenberg, 2002).
  3. Level of religious rituals – the tension between Muslims and Swedes, specifically, is rising.  Stenberg writes, “… In Sweden, Muslims have attacked the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because of restrictions on the Islamic way of slaughtering animals” (Stenberg, 2002).  Slaughtering of animals is certainly a topic that is controversial in many societies today, but it adds depth to the situation as this activity is part of a religion, not just out of plain cruelty.
  4. Ideological level – generally, the situation for Muslims in Scandinavian countries is positive.  According to Stenberg, Muslims are active in the development of “Euro-Islam.”  In other words, generally, Muslims want to separate themselves from political unrest in the Middle East and their home countries, and they want to create a new, “true” Islam in Europe.

The integration of Muslims in Scandinavian countries is an ongoing process that is slow moving, similar to that of Muslims in Spain.  Surprisingly, despite the history between Spain and Islam, there is not such a great impact of Islam on modern-day Spanish society.  Contributors to Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, Contreras and Garcia, conclude that it is for two reasons: 1) Spain has only welcomed Muslim immigrants for the past 15 years and 2) Spain has no colonies in the Muslim world anymore.  They write, “The disparity of their ethnic origins, circumstances, and timing of their settlement in Spain coupled with the fact of the presence of a well-established Muslim community in Spain… have affected the way in which each Muslim community has lived its religious life” (Contreras & Garcia, 2002).  Naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts to Islam have a high level of integration in society, however, the majority, Muslim immigrants who have settled in Spain, have limited integration (Contreras & Garcia, 2002).  The Spanish government’s policies and acknowledgement of Islam is for the naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts, not for immigrants.  How is this fair?

I agree that these tensions between Muslims and European countries will likely improve, but also become more complex. I believe both Muslims in Europe and native Europeans will become increasingly more passionate about their stances on these complexities, which will likely bring new light to the situation. The Muslims in Europe will likely become closer and more bonded through their similar experiences in attempt to integrate into the various European communities. Additionally, I agree with Hunter’s perspective regarding the old notion where Muslims will one day return “home” is slowly diminishing. I think (and hope) Europeans are starting to take these immigrants seriously, accepting the idea that these people are in Europe with intentions to stay and create a better quality of life. One interesting point that Hunter makes in the concluding remarks section is about the assimilationists versus communitarians. According to Hunter, the assimilationists believe that it is up to the Muslim people to conform to the culture of their host country and keep their religious life completely private and hidden – creating new, hybrid forms of Islam. However, communitarians prefer to stay banded together as Muslims and either slowly integrate into certain parts of society or remain isolated from the rest of society as a whole. The idea of a combination of the two views, with the creation of a modified European Islam is a promising and exciting future for Muslims. I think this is a huge step for several European societies that hold their history, legislation, and tradition so tight. By making way for new religions and new types of people, specifically, the integration of Islam and Muslims, I’m hopeful that the fear of the unknown religion/person begins to fade away.

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Islamophobia Cartoon


Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

Daisy Post 11 – Islam in Italy & Why Islam Is/Isn’t Working in US/Europe

Islam has been present in Italy for years and years, thriving in Sicily from the 17th century on.  However, there was a decline in Islam popularity in Italy because the country did not hold any colonies in the Islamic world, so the Italian government did not feel the need to extend policies towards Muslims.  That was the case, until Fascist ruler Musolini came to power in Italy.  According to Stefano Allievi, contributor to Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, Musolini said he would make it a great priority of his to show that Italy was a friend, and even protector, of Islam.  These statements, however, did not go much farther than public speech from Musolini.  Though Musolini’s actions did not necessary go in line with his Muslim-focused promises, Italy still was considered unique in its assimilation of Muslims into their culture.  Allievi writes, “Regarding the emergence of Muslim organizations… the first mosques were created not by and for immigrant workers, but by and for an intellectual elite of students from the Middle East… only later did the number of workers exceed that of students…” (Hunter, 2002).  This, among other factors, distinguish Italy from other European countries in their integrating and engaging with Muslim immigrants.  Some other distinguishing characteristics of Italy, outlined by Allievi, are:

  1.  Diversity of countries of origin – no single ethnic group defines the number of Italian Muslims, therefore Muslim presence in Italy cannot be treated as foreign policy, since the group is so diverse ethnically
  2. Rapid pace of entry and settlement in Italy
  3. Higher number of irregular immigrants
  4. Higher level of geographic dispersion

All of these factors basically mean that there are no set, exclusive Muslim “ghettos” or communities.  Rather, everyone is meshed together and integrated as an Italian whole.  Additionally, Italy’s immigrants have been coming for as long as written history can recall, whereas other countries weren’t seeing waves of Muslim immigrants until the 1950-70s.  Immigration in general was easier before the 20th century, hence the large numbers of Muslim immigrants in Italy early on.

Muslims Praying Outside Milan’s Duomo

Although it seems as though Italy does a wonderful job welcoming and supporting Muslim immigrants, there are still some difficulties with this integration.  Specifically, the “intesa,” legal recognition of the religion as part of Italian policy, is proving to be quite difficult for Islam.  This is due to several factors, according to Allievi:

  1. Most Muslims are not Italian citizens – they are immigrants who may or may not hope to return to their country of origin someday
  2. The number of Italian converts to Islam and other Muslim citizens is still relatively small, and therefore, they aren’t a powerful political group yet
  3. The alien image of Islam is still quite strong, especially with the use of Arabic (a foreign alphabet AND language)
  4. The financing of some Muslim institutions still comes from outside Muslim countries, rather than Italy itself, further enhancing the “outsider” image
  5. The recent character of Italian Islam is not so great – weak levels of organization, lack of cohesion, lack of adequate public awareness, and the constant “alien” image of Islam/Muslims

Allievi writes, “To overcome these barriers, it is necessary that the question of the juridical (and political) treatment of the presence of Muslim minorities be de-Islamized” (Hunter, 2002).

The next article I read was Why the U.S. Doesn’t Have a Muslim Problem, and Europe Does by Naveed Jamali.  As the title clearly states, Jamali argues that the U.S. does not have a Muslim problem, but that Europe definitely does. Jamari’s father and uncle left Pakistan at a young age, his father moving to the US and uncle moving to Germany. Based on his uncle’s immigration experience compared to his father’s experience as an immigrant, Jamari explains how the issue with Muslims in Europe stems from European countries’ inability to welcome and assimilate immigrants. As of 2015, the population in Europe is 743.1 million. In contrast, as of 2014, the United States population is 318.9 million. The significantly larger population in Europe might be a contributing factor to the unwelcoming and impersonal attitudes that Muslims may feel as they enter. The smaller population might set the scene for a more personal and warm welcome for immigrants that came around the same time as Jamali’s father.  However, Jamali may have some biases in his opinion. For one, Jamali’s father came to the U.S. with an incredible amount of knowledge and success, therefore, his livelihood was likely extremely fulfilling and well-financed. That could set the tone for how Jamali feels about the way of life for all Muslims coming to America, which may not be accurate. Additionally, the article was published just over a year ago. Since then, America has seen a huge amount of change, beginning with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the country. Since Trump’s election, we have seen several policies and efforts towards pushing the immigrants and non-American citizens out of our country. The immigration ban was just the start of these topics that continue to circulate in the White House and all over the country. Seeing where our current president stands on immigration policy and how he views Muslims, Jamari might not feel the same way about why the United States doesn’t have a Muslim problem.

Protesters of Trump’s Immigration Ban



Jamali, N. (2016, April 3). “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does.” Retrieved from: 

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

Post #11

Islam’s Assimilation: Italian religion, EU & the U.S.

The Muslim immigrant population in Italy differs from that in other European countries in various ways. One difference is that the first mosques were created not by and for immigrant workers, but by and for an intellectual elite of students from the Middle East (Hunter, p.79). Other distinguishing characteristics that Hunter lists include 1) diversity of countries of origin, 2) rapid pace of entry and settlement, 3) higher number of irregular immigrants, and 4) higher level of geographic dispersion (Hunter, p.80). The Islamic presence in Italy became visible with the entry of the first immigrants, whereas in other countries,  Islam became visible only after the emergence of a second immigrant generation. Also unlike Germany, France, and the UK where one or two ethnic groups for the bulk of Muslims, Italian Muslims come from a wide range of countries (Hunter, p.81). The organization and development of Islam in Italy have been along the same lines in other European countries, but the pace has been more rapid. Since 1970 when Italy only had one mosque, they now have about 150 places of worship for Muslims.

Muslims praying by Colosseum.

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Currently in Italy, the Catholic Church is of the highest regard and is recognized as a religion on the basis of the Concordato. All other religions must sign an agreement with the state (an intesa) to be recognized as a religion. Without the intesa, these religions don’t receive various juridical and economic advantages. Many religions have signed an intesa (E.g. Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist) but the Italian Muslim community has been trying to negotiate an agreement with the state since the 1990s. There are a many factors that have contributed to the lack of an intesa with the Islamic community in Italy. The first is because the state doesn’t actually have any obligation to come to an intesa with a religion, and can discuss/impose the timing and contents of an agreement (Hunter, 89). The state has much more power than the religions, especially the smaller communities like Islam. The second is that most Muslims aren’t Italian citizens, they are immigrants. This might worry the state because they think the Muslims’ will just eventually leave back to their homeland. The third is because Muslims do not represent a powerful political group that converts many Italians. The fourth is because Muslims are perceived as an “alien” community with major cultural differences such as the use of Arabic, not Italian. Lastly, the Islamic religion itself has a weak level of organization, lack of cohesion, lack of adequate public awareness of Islam and the negative nature of such awareness where it exists, and the persistence of Islam’s image as an enemy (Hunter, 90).


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           The reason that the U.S. doesn’t have a “Muslim problem” when comparing to Europe is that the U.S. seems to make it easier for Muslims to assimilate and welcome Muslims into the culture, whereas Europe does not. Muslims seem to be getting a better chance at a good education, which sets them up for better jobs. “In the U.S., Muslims make up 10% of US physicians, are the 2nd most educated group after the Jewish population, are as likely as other American households to report an income of $100,000 or more, and over 6,000 serve in the military” (Jamali, 2016). Muslims are reportedly very content with their lives in the U.S. “Unlike European Muslims the report also found that 80 percent of US Muslims were happy with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict “between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.” (Jamal, 2016). This confirmed sense of inclusion has withheld many Muslims from joining ISIS. Unlike EU Muslims who don’t feel included or welcomed and rebel by large groups of Muslims joining ISIS.

Muslim with U.S. Flag

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The Muslim population in the U.S. differs from that in Europe because according to a 2007 report from the Centre of European Policy Studies, EU Muslims are more likely, than the EU general population, to be poor, segregated and crime-prone neighborhoods (Jamali, 2016). The consistent poverty has contributed to racial tensions between Muslims and Europeans. As already stated above, the U.S. population is much more assimilated and obtains higher paying jobs, which field for a more happy and content life. The author might have biases because he had a good experience assimilating to American life and he compared all his experiences to his brother. The author didn’t bring in any research of other peoples first-hand experience’s, he made large generalizations. Some things that have changed since the article was published is that Trump has been elected, which has reinforced the stereotypes of Muslims and spread the idea of the “the other” further by his racist comments, plans to build a wall and the Muslim ban. This means Muslims are no longer welcome in the U.S. and probably creates a new hate for the U.S., which would lead them to join ISIS, more than raise the American flag up high.


Trump’s Muslim Ban. 

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Works Cited

Jamali, N. (2016, April 3). “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does.” Retrieved from: 

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

Sharia Law // Islamic Feminism

Post 10// Week 11

The jihadi movement is significant because it is when Muslims countries gained independence back in 1950. However conflict was created when westernized elites were in charge of that freedom by suppressing values and tradition. In 1979 the Islamic revolution was stared because of the rise against the Soviet Union. With the hopes of creating an Islamic state the Taliban was born. The conflict with the west has paved the way of the current jihad movement that still exist today.

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The jihadi movement is significant because it is when Muslims countries gained independence back in 1950. However conflict was created when westernized elites were in charge of that freedom by suppressing values and tradition. In 1979 the Islamic revolution was stared because of the rise against the Soviet Union. With the hopes of creating an Islamic state the Taliban was born. The conflict with the west has paved the way of the current jihad movement that still exist today.

Sharia law is the law of Islam, which is a set of religious principles, which make up Islamic tradition however it is not the word of the Qur’an. Puritan fundamentalists are deliberate with it comes to Islamic law. “fundamentalists are only concerned with hudud punishment as demonstrable proof that they state is enforcing the whole of Islam” (Sardar and Davies, 118) These fundamentalist practice punishment as a way to deal with crime and believe that this is a way to deal with crime at the most extreme form.

I do not believe that Islamic law has always been consumed with punishment, however things today are different. Sardar and Davies go on to mention how sharia has little owe to the Qur’an and can not be viewed a divine. They also talk about hubud laws, which are laws that entail punishment in extreme circumstances, the example they give in the book explains that if an individual is committed with theft that they should get their hands cut off by doing this it would further prevent that crime from happening again. In todays world Islamic fundamentalists have taken matters into their own hands by saying which crimes have prosecuted with hubud laws are responsible for the punishment we see.


Islamic Feminism

        After reading the article From Islamic Feminism to a Muslim Holistic Feminism by Margot Badran’ it is better understood what Islamic Feminism is and what they stand for as feminist. An Islamic Feminist is family driven in their views, made by two theoretical advances. “(1) breaking down the notion that the sphere of the family constitutes a separate domain positing instead a continuum of private/family and public/society; and (2) dismantling the notion that Islam ordains a patriarchal construction of the family.”(Badran, 78) Created by Sister in Islam (SIS) who took real life situations, for example wife beating, and showed how the Qur’an didn’t align. Islamic Feminism is different than “Western” and “Secular” as they believe in equality of sexes as well as women’s individual rights in political, economic, and social roles. Secular feminism emerged from a social movement rather then the emerge of discourse. In the late twentieth century a social movement emerged as woman begun to express the discourse of woman’s rights and equality of gender by exploiting their own ijtujad by going directly to the Qur’an and various religious text. I believe that Islamic Feminism has been useful for addressing gender inequalities within Islamic societies and communities’ abroad, as it has brought the attention the unequal difference between the genders.


Badran, M. (2011).  From Islamic Feminism to a Holistic Muslim Feminism.  Retrieved from:

Davies, M. & Sardar, Z. The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam. New Internationalist Publications, 2007. Print.


Post #10

Jihadi, Sharia Law & Islamic Feminism

Muslims obtained independence in the 1950s, but they were still being dominated and controlled by Westernized elites who didn’t have independence for Muslims and economic growth of the country in mind. The Westernized elites neglected all forms of Muslim tradition, which created conflict. Thus the jihad in Afghanistan rose up against the Soviet Union, paving the Islamic revolution of 1979 (Sadar, p. 115) The militant jihad’s then wanted to create an idealistic Islamic state, which is why they created the Taliban. The West is now seen as an enemy of Islam. This history has created the current jihadi movement of today, which is a military movement that is a threat to the West.

“Jihad Against USA is our Religious Duty!!”
“Black flag of Jihad.”

1st Photo Retrieved from:

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Sharia law is Islamic law that governs the political, social and moral duties of faithful Muslims. Sharia law comes from a combination of sources including the Qur’an, the prophet of Muhammad and the rulings of Islamic scholars. It is know for its harsh hudud punishments such as stoning, amputation or mutilation. Sharia law also diminishes women’s rights because it promotes the idea that women should be silent, secluded, objectified, and subservient (Sardar, p. 121). The fundamentalists are largely concerned with the crime and punishment part of sharia. They are concerned that “hudud punishments are demonstrable proof that the state is enforcing the whole of Islam, not the parameters that define it; or with the notion of balance sharia demands” (Sardar, p. 118).

“Sharia Law.”

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I don’t think Islamic law has always been consumed with punishment. I think the US media has over amplified the Sharia’s punishment laws and distorted them to be wrongful and inhumane, before even understanding them. The media has reiterated stereotypical characterizations of a few radical muslims and attributed them to all muslims. However, many Muslims hold a different view of Sharia law. They see it as something that nurtures humanity. “In a society where social problems are endemic, Sharia frees humanity to realise its individual potential” (BBC, 2009)

Islamic Feminists use the Qur’an, a feminist reading of the Shari’a’ and other religious texts to articulate a discourse of women’s rights and gender equality around the 1980s and 1990s. They seek the full equality of women and men in the personal and public sphere. There are many ways that islamic feminism is different from secular feminist. The secular feminism’s emergence was in the form of a social movement, whereas islamic feminism was in the form of a discourse. The secular feminism was created by Muslims and nonMuslims together as citizens in their respective countries. Secular feminism emerged on the scene in the form of organic social movements, while the holistic islamic feminism surfaced as an envisioned movement. Secular feminism was organized by politicized women who were activists, whereas islamic feminism was a product of scholar-activists. Secular feminism began and remained as voluntary and self-funding, preserving in tradition, unlike islamic feminism (Badran, p. 7).

“Islamic Feminist Symbol” (2014).

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Islamic feminism has been a useful tool for addressing gender inequalities within Islamic societies and communities abroad. Women are going back to Islam’s classical texts and questioning they way men have read them. Women are challenging traditional customs about how women pray in mosques and whether they can hold leadership positions. In 2015, the first ever women-only mosque opened in LA (Power, 2015). In the twenty-first century in Turkey and Morocco, the patriarchal model of the family was overturned in favor of an egalitarian model. There was also a push to reform the Muslim Personal Status Code and created the Musawah, a group that focuses on reforming Muslim family laws (Badran, 2011). The secular and Islamic feminists create an unstoppable and powerful force when they work together.

“Islamic Feminism” (2014).

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Works Cited

Badran, M. (2011, January). “From Islamic Feminism to a Muslim Holistic Feminism.” Retrieved from:

BBC. (2009, March 9). “Sharia.” Retrieved from:

Power, C. (2015, March 20). “Muslim Women Are Fighting To Redefine Islam as a Religion of Equality.” Retrieved from:

Sardar, Z. (2007). “The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam.” Print.

Daisy Post 10 – Islamic Fundamentalists and Feminism

Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies are the authors of the mini-handbook for Islam called The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam. This book is incredibly helpful to students like myself that are not well informed on the ideologies and beliefs of various sects of Islam. For example, they introduce Islamic fundamentalists in chapter 8 in regards to contemporary issues. In terms of the historic foundation of the current fundamentalist “jihadi” movement, it dates back to the 1950s. In the fifties, Muslim countries gained their independence but still ended up being ruled by Westernized elites. Because these leaders were not reformists or traditionalists, the Muslim people felt like their values and attitudes were suppressed. Since then, there has been deep-seeded conflict between the West and those who felt oppressed as Muslims. Sardar and Davies suggest that after the ‘Islamic revolution’ in 1979 traditional scholars were motivated by their success and taste of power. Militant jihadis wanted to create an ideal Islamic state, and the Taliban was an effort towards accomplishing that goal. Now, there are militant jihadis in all Muslim countries and they create uneasiness and fear among their communities. The authors also mention that although this is just the history of the fundamentalist jihadis, 21st century fundamentalists are actually rooted in fear of innovation. These people strive to practice Islam exactly as it was in the medieval times, in hopes that others’ perceptions of Islam will reflect that past time as well.

islamic fundamentalist

These fundamentalists take the Islamic law, sharia, very seriously and literally. In their eyes, “everything must be rejected; and everything must be based on the sharia… it is ‘Islamic law’ that makes an Islamic state Islamic” (Davies & Sardar, 2007). Such avid followers of this sharia law are known as puritan fundamentalists because of their belief in following the word of sharia law literally and with little to no context. (Note: Sharia law is not the word of the Qur’an.) Puritan fundamentalists are mainly concerned with the crime and punishment aspects of the sharia law – especially the hubud laws, which are the most extreme punishments possible for a given crime. They prefer to practice the hubud laws “as demonstrable proof that the state is enforcing the whole of Islam” (Davies & Sardar, 2007).

I personally believe that Islamic law has not always been consumed with punishment. Of course, there are aspects of every religion that address conflict management and “punishment,” but I strongly believe it is up to the individual to determine how literally to take these ancient words. As Sardar and Davies explain, even the sharia cannot be taken as “Divine” because it has little to owe to the Qur’an (Davies & Sardar, 2007). Additionally, when Sardar and Davies discuss hubud, they mention that, although cutting off the hands of a thief is part of sharia, it is only applicable and justifiable in an environment in which there is no need to steal and any effort to do so is of evil intent – and we simply do not live in such a world. Therefore, I believe it is the Islamic fundamentalists, who deem certain crimes as worthy of hubud law on their own terms, that have made Islam so centered around punishment in today’s world.

Another interesting aspect of today’s Islam is the concept of “Islamic feminism” which is different from “Western” or “Secular” feminism. The differences between Islamic feminism and Western feminism are clear. Western feminism focuses on separating religion and government and stresses the importance of women’s rights as individuals. Something worth noting is that there seems to be a pattern of Western women arguing for equality in the public sphere but utilizing gender roles in the home (Badran, 2011). Islamic feminism, on the other hand, is built upon the idea of women analyzing and acting on the Qur’an by their own interpretations of the text. Trailblazers for Islamic feminism do not actually like the term itself, they prefer to be recognized as Islamic scholars. It was not until recently that the term Islamic feminist became more widely accepted. Unlike Islamic fundamentalists, Islamic feminists are not hostile when fighting for what they believe – they are activists but lack the militant nature. A group of women in the 1980s in Malaysia started a community called Sisters in Islam. Women in this community were dedicated to investigating the word of the Qur’an, as it is commonly used to justify violence and oppression to women. They have found that several common acts upon women in Muslim families, such as wife beating, are not condoned whatsoever by the Qur’an. The effort to prove such inequalities is now known as scholarship activism and it has become central to the Islamic feminism movement, sparking change in communities and treatment of Muslim women worldwide.

Feminism Illustration


Badran, M. (2011).  From Islamic Feminism to a Holistic Muslim Feminism.  Retrieved from:

Davies, M. & Sardar, Z. The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam. New Internationalist Publications, 2007. Print.

Islam and the West// Dispossessed

Week 9 // Post 10

      After reading Foreign Affairs The Dispossessed article by Alia Malek and Josh Neufeld I gained a different perspective on migration. External forces are pushing millions of people out of their home country, forcing them to migrate. With the influx of people migrating into a new country comes with a rush of problems. “ Few wealthier countries could survive such a seismic population shift without experiencing enormous political and economic challenges.” (Malek & Neufeld) Jordan is ranked second in the world for the number of refugees and has by far done is excellent job at maintaining economic and social status.

            The article also follows five Syrian refugees and their families who made the journey to a better life.  Capturing their trip through cell phone footage we gain in insight on how hard this journey truly is. From feeling alienated in their own country Muhanid and Mohammed  they knew they couldn’t allow their children to grow up in an environment like this. While on their journey the friends meet Ihsan who was abandoned by his chaperone, they take him under their wing.    Finding a smuggler to start their journey to Germany they still had a long way to go. Getting in a 25 person inflatable raft, which held 50 Syrians and Iraqis, they crossed the Aegean Sea. After floating to Kos, Greece the refuges searched for a place to stay. Across the next couple of days the refugees experienced fear as they continued their journey. Finally making it to Germany the refuges were free, creating a new life of possible for their families. The comic illustration does an excellent job of capturing there journey.

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          Among all of the different aspects that caught my eye throughout the article The New Reorder by Anna Badkhen portion stuck out more than the rest. Cell phones and the advancement of social media have giving an insight to what a trip may look like and how to execute a journey for a potential migrant. We gain insight to the good and the bad “We can friend migrants on Facebook. We can watch on Instagram feeds as dead children float facedown in the Mediterranean surf.” (Badkhen) These technological advancements also allow us to experience the journey. Traditional the media we are used to hearing is negative, aggressive, and is missing the element of humanity. It doesn’t show compassionthat migrants have a story that consists of layers, or the struggle of traveling with three kids and a wife. Social media today adds a level of compassion that has been missing. “Unless the world finds compassion for this new communality, learns to make sense of one another’s voices, its humanity will perish.” (Badkhen) Badkhen addresses the question of, is this a century of dislocated people or dislocated passion? What I gained from the article is that migrations isn’t going to stop, what has to stop is the way we look at migrants and learn to accept it.

         The article Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation by Nathan C. Funk and Abdul Aziz Said discusses the issues between the United States and Muslim Middle East. The conflict between the two can be descried as “Frictions generated by conflicting interest and desires spill over into the cultural domain, resulting in the politicization of identities and escalatory conflict dynamic in which the basic value commitments, beliefs and mores of the “other” are regarded as threatening and problematic.” (Funk & Said 2004) When we stereotype we divide ourselves in to the “other” and “self” which leads to dehumanization, this only pulls the two further apart. I believe this creates fear due to lack of knowledge between the two. “Clash of symbols” has also posed a conflict between the two Westerners view headscarf’s and other symbols of Islamic religion to be expression repellent, and Muslims see blue jeans and other western symbols to be anti-Islamic statements. “Belief systems are being simplified into images to be either rejected or absorbed in their entirety, resulting in deeply impoverished notions of both Islam and the West.” (Funk & Said 2004) In order for Muslims and Westerners to achieve the cohesiveness they need to stay true to their values and learn to find the common ground that will allow one another to learn from each other rather than focus on differences.



Caryl, C. (2015). Refugees are flooding countries that can’t protect them. Will the levies break? The Dispossessed Issue. Retrieved from:

Nathan C. Funk and Abdul Aziz Said. Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation. From: