[Buddha-l] buddha-l Digest, Vol 103, Issue 6

Antonio Ferreira-Jardim antonio.jardim at gmail.com
Thu Sep 12 20:48:23 MDT 2013

Dan said: "The muslim resistance movements in China and the former Soviet
Union are not grounded in nationalist identities, but religious ones."

Well, that's not quite accurate. Ethnic identity is very much a factor in
these movements as well.


On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM, Dan Lusthaus <vasubandhu at earthlink.net>wrote:

> Sally McAra wrote:
>  rather than saying
>> "religion is an aspect of nationalism", anthropologists or sociologists
>> tend to argue that nationalists *appropriate* religious discourses for
>> their own purposes, to attempt to defend and legitimize their own
>> position.
> Arguing doesn't make it so. There are currently approximately 60 nations
> that consider themselves Islamic countries, whether or not they consider
> themselves more secular or more sharia-oriented, or somewhere in between.
> When Bangladesh dislodged itself from Pakistan (which had dislodged itself
> from India for religious, not nationalist reasons), Bangladesh did not
> renounce its Islamic identity -- that was intrinsic to whatever nascent
> nationalist sense was emerging.
> The muslim resistance movements in China and the former Soviet Union are
> not grounded in nationalist identities, but religious ones. If nationhood
> is coterminal with territority, than many of these "movements" are active
> in territories into which they are relatively recent arrivals. It is only
> wishful thinking and conceptual blindness that allows certain types of
> reductionistic views to ignore what is happening in favor of the
> socio-politico-economic theories with which they are more comfortable.
> For these sixty or so muslim countries, Islam is part of their national
> identity, and long predates the notion of nationalism. It is a European
> secularist idea that takes nationalism as baseline rather than religious
> identity, and that secular notion doesn't apply outside that framework,
> where identity -- glossed by anthro- and socio-logists as "ethnicity" -- is
> something other than secular "nationhood." Borders, which is what defines
> "nation" for secularists, are fluid and relatively recent intrusions in
> many parts of the world as fixers of identity. The borders of Iraq, Syria,
> Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc. are all VERY recent -- locals blame them on
> Western colonialism since the Europeans drew most of the borders during the
> 20th c. Rent a copy of Lawrence of Arabia, and keep an atlas on hand so you
> can actually trace out the places into which Lawrence is trying to infuse
> (at that time unsuccessfully) the notion of nationalism (in order to
> dislodge the Turks, i.e., Ottomon Empire, from the middle east -- that part
> WAS successful).
> The idea that Buddhists shouldn't be nationalists expresses more a western
> concern -- or embarrassment -- about identity-fixation re: nationalism,
> patriotism, etc., with the concomitant presumption that because we in the
> west may find these things embarrassing or problematic, Buddhists (and
> others) should abandon them. When westerners start burning their own
> passports, that sentiment may have more cogency.
> Dan
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