[Buddha-l] Was Buddhists Taking a Stand Against Isllamophobia

jo 05jkirk at gmail.com
Mon Sep 24 18:23:54 MDT 2012

Sorry for top posting but it's easier than the opposite.
My response here  is to the concept of "Muslim world". 

I hesitate to say anything on this list anymore, because whatever I write is
simply ignored by practically everybody on the list, except for Dan and
Katherine, but let's at least be critical rather than lazy so far as the
phrase 'Muslim world" goes.

Historically there have been at least two cultural movements that could be
tallied as what some historians (or anthropologists, which I am) might
choose to call 'Muslim worlds'. The first one came into existence after the
Islamic conquest of then Persia and neighboring areas in the 7th -9th cs CE.
As more countries were conquered or their rulers acceded to the new
religion, Muslim intelligentsia of those eras wrote accordingly, as if their
mission and views covered a broad territory of nations often vastly
different from one another. Muslim historians traveled widely and wrote
about the different cultures they encountered, while taking satisfaction in
the progress Islam had made through conversions and Arab culture. (This can
all be reviewed on Wikipedia. I'm not going to take the time to look things
up and present links.) In those days, the Middle East could be designated,
generally speaking, as a Muslim world. 

Then, after the European imperialisms of later years, the ideological and
cultural ambiance of the old Muslim world began breaking up. (A good example
is what happened to the Mughal and other Muslim kingships in South Asia.) 

Today, as I see it after long study, the 'Muslim world' Dan refers to is an
artifact of Saudi Arabian government financial support for missionizing the
Wahhabist version of Islam, in their view the only correct Muslim
religion/practice. Al Wahhab (18thc) traveled from Arabia widely into
southern Asia and spread his views that Islam was corrupt and had to be
purified. That impulse continues under today's Saudi rulers, who have
successfully spread it far and wide, to every single nation that consider
themselves to be Muslim. (Money talks, in this case to architects, clerical
establishments, and to rich elites seeking prestige in the form of mosque
and madressah building, plus stocking these with Wahhabist clerics from
Saudi.) Thousands of people in various countries following their traditions,
according to the trajectory Dan laid out as it were, were forced to stop
doing whatever they had been doing for centuries and start doing religion
the Wahhabi way. Thus, today we have a new 'Muslim world." It is very
different from the old original one. It's a world that has trashed elaborate
cultures and gender relations, traditional arts, as well as relations
between the holders of power and their subjects--via shari'a.


On Behalf Of Dan Lusthaus
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2012 2:53 PM


>What, by the way, is the Muslim world?  

There are about 60 nations which are Muslim (separation of "church" and
state is not an option), some for many centuries, some established in the
20th c precisely on the basis of muslim identity (e.g., Pakistan). If you
get out a world map and start around Indonesia (the most populous muslim
nation in the world) and continue westward through Thailand, Bangladesh,
Pakistan, Kashmir, western China, Chechnya, Azerbaijan, etc. etc, Iran, the
middle east, Balkans, Bosnia, Armenia, north Africa, Somalia, Sudan (but not
the recently established South Sudan which is still fighting for its
independence from the muslim north, although already granted statehood),
Chad, Nigeria, etc., you will have circumscribed the Muslim world (and in
countries like Nigeria containing large non-Muslim populations, constant
slaughter and outbursts or religious intolerance). You will also have traced
something that fits directly on top of the maps above. Not a coincidence.
The periphery of the Muslim world -- i.e., where it borders on non-muslim
states and populations -- there is violent conflict. 


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