Archive for the ‘May 3/Cultural Globalization’ Category

Blog post 1 Bin Laden and other Thoroughly Modern Muslims

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

What I took out of reading this article was that Charles Kurzman really broke down the similarities and differences liberal Muslims and radical Islamists.

He goes on the state that most Islamists have graduated from modern schools, share modern values such as human equality and rule of law, and use modern technologies and some of them the latest methods of warfare. Many Islamist leaders have university instead of seminary educational backgrounds such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering and lawyers. So this goes to show that no matter what their religion is they still share modern values like in the western world.  Although the traditionalist groups, such as Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, are less willing to become a more modern entity.

Kurzman does believe that Islam is in fact a Western religion with many Muslims from across the world practicing Western politics

He seems very fare and equal, he stands by his views. He mentions that there needs to be more diversity in the Islamic countries which I agree with. I found a quote that I thought was extremely important In the interview with Tariq Ramadan. He was arguing that Muslims are “Western by culture, Muslim by religion”.

Cultural Globalization: The Role of Religions 5/3/2011 Jaewon Choi

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

This article by Charles Kurzman on the subject of Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims explains and brings clarity on the ideological differences in modern Muslims today in their cultural and religious goals and views. As well as U.S. and allies are hypocritical in supporting autocrats in Muslim-majority countries while declares to defend human rights and democracy.

The review of this article and assignment is most timely as death of Bin Laden will once again change ongoing struggles of war on terrorism may bring unknown results in the future for the radical minority of Muslims and the Western culture. In this article states that Osama Bin Laden exemplified radical Islamism as medieval and wanting to return to origin of Islamic world of its golden era to seek and conduct after the prophet Muhammad and his followers as Christians idealize the example of Jesus.

As both Islamic liberals and radical Islamists have much in common in that seek to modernize society and politics to redirect its tradition in modern form and function. Traditionalists as the Taliban Afghanistan by contrast with Islamists as bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, represent on less educated sector of society, believe in mystical and personal authority and are skeptical of modern organizational structure.

Many Islamist leaders have university instead of seminary educational backgrounds such as lawyer, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and these leaders railed against seminary-trained scholars , for being theoretician and politically inactive. As the growth of secular education led expending numbers of Muslims to approach religious questions without skills that causes college graduates have the sacred texts and analyzed them in do-it  yourself theology, developing liberal interpretations as well as radical ones.

The social roots of Islamism are modern as well as their goals. Islamist political policy share western modernity. Islamists visualize overturning tradition in politics, social relations and religious practices. They are adverse to Saudi’s monarchy, like to abolish honoring of relics and tombs and favor egalitarian meritocracy. The support of Islamist organizations are a minority of Muslims and polls/studies show consistently that most of Muslims are against Islamists and their goals.

Chapter 42 & Chapter 45 Yujiao Huang

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

I posted this memo early before on my personal blog, I now post it on the main blog again because I realize that it is more convinient for people to leave comment.

In chapter 42; Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims, Charles Kurzman speaks about how Islamists have turned into a modern society by setting modern goals and following moder methods.

In traditional Muslims, people preserve their traditional values. During the Iran and Iraq war from 1980-1988, under the law of Islam religion, all amusement such as drinking, partying, and videoing were banned. If someone violated the religious law, he or she would get inhumane punishment like whipping, torturing and even killing. However, in nowadays, the expansion of modern western civilization has influenced many Islamists to change their old ways of thinking and to adapt modern norms, share modern values such as human rights and rule of law. Lots of Islamists have graduated from educated schools and organized themselves along modern lines using advanced technologies. They attempt to abandon outdated religious practices, and are hostile to monarchies such as the Saudi dynasty in favor of democracy. According to Kurzman, both liberals and radicals give a new shape to tradition in modern molds. They believe that there are many ways of being modern.

Islamists share significant values with western modernity. Bin Laden, for example, “combined traditional grievance with contemporary demands such as economic development, human right and national self-determination.” Islamist states follow the path of modern Western states. The Islamic republican of Iran, embraces global norms by writing a new constitution and approve full adult suffrage.

Kurzaman also revealed the fundamental difference between Khomeini’s Iran and Taliban’s Afghanistan. Although Western bias lumps them in the same category, they have very distinctive view toward gender role. Iran is a modern state while the Taliban in Afghanistan was not. For example, many Iranian women have good educational level. They entered the labor force and active in many segments of public life including as parliamentary representatives. The Taliban girls are prohibited from attending schools, and women are banned from working at most jobs.

Both ideologically and in practice, Islamists have adopted modern ideas, forms, and methods, but one of the modern Western norms they reject is the separation of church and state. Like the Mafioso and other illegal networks, Islamists organize around informal personal ties.

Finally, Kurzman concludes that the war on terrorism has not generated the massive negative reaction among Muslims that some observers expected, only 15 percent of respondents considered the September 11 attacks to be morally justified. Muslim populations show that when free elections are held, Islamists rarely fare well. When given a choice, Muslims like in Iran choose liberal forms. And Islamists will success by following their promises to follow democratic norms.

Chapter 45 Obedience versus Autonomy: Women in fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan

In chapter 45, “Obedience versus Autonomy: Women in fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan”, Haeri explores the relationships between women and fundamentalism in the Islamic world– in Iran and Pakistan. She addressed the problems associated with perspectives taken on women and fundamentalism in the Muslim world. She also focused on the life experiences of some Iranian and Pakistani women to bring out the tension between women’s obedience and their desire for autonomy. States and fundamentalists tend to control women’s bodies, limit their movements, and prevent them from participating in public or political activity.

In Islamic law, the structure of a marriage contract obliges women to be obedient to their husband. They accept the dual relationship in a marriage where in an ideological scheme, they are considered as a person and a sexual and reproductive object as well. This reminds me of the life of Indian women that I discussed on my paper early before. Like the women in India, women in the Islamic world have to be submissive to their men on every daily basis. They even need to ask for their husbands’ permission to leave the house. A woman has no voice in the household and must obey her men and “submit herself for whatever pleasure he wants”.

Iran and Pakistan are the places where fundamentalism is active, but Pakistani fundamentalist’ interpretation of the role and status of women, marriage and family law is more limited. For instance, during the revolution of Iran, fundamentalists encouraged women to participate in overthrowing Prophet Government. Therefore, the middle class Iranian women now tend to interpret Islamic law in the way that empower women role domestically and socially.

Nov 23rd Blog

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

In the audio entitled “In Israel, When a Jew is Not Jewish Enough” I found it quite astonishing that many people migrating to Israel are being, basically evaluated and interpreted on how “Jewish” they are. Many people are considered “not Jewish enough” by Jewish law even though they fight in war to protect Israel. This stigma even gets passed down to their offspring- in which their children are also not considered or recognized as “not Jewish enough”. I don’t think it is right that a nation can deny you of your identity; people are being turned away for “wanting to be more Jewish”.  I wouldn’t want my country telling me what I am or what I am not concerning my identity. In America, we can be anything we want to identify with, being that our country is so diverse. You can associate yourself as being from just your mother country, or as I like to add, a hyphen- Greek- American, incorporating both my identities into one. I wouldn’t want to be told that I was not one or the other because I identify with both countries, and that is what makes up my personal identity.

Chapter 45 entitled “Obedience versus Autonomy: Women in fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan”, I was appalled while reading how women were described in relations to their husbands. Women are described as basically an object in which she must obey the needs and desires of her husband whenever he wants her to. “A permanent wife must not leave the house without her husband’s permission, and must submit herself for whatever pleasure he wants… In this case her maintenance is incumbent upon her husband. If she does not obey him, she is a sinner and has no right to clothing, housing, or sleeping” (373). Women are being portrayed as a piece of meat in which men can do whatever they please with this object they own. I cannot imagine being in a marriage in which I would have to sign a contract in which basically takes away my whole persona. This goes to show how diverse the world is and how people of different culture view women in many different ways. We think since it is the year 2010 that we should be passed the whole idea of women being of lesser value than men, but clearly, this idea is still practiced and believed in other parts of the world.

Post for November 23 class

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

When is a Jew Not Jewish enough?

We hear in the audio about a boy who migrated from California to Jerusalem to enlist in the IDF. He was asked by the army what religion he practiced, he said Judaism. The army said that they could not write this on his identification card. His mother was not born a Jew, she had converted, so to them he was not considered a “real” Jew. The Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox are legalized and nothing else is. Even if you take a class you still will not be considered a real Jew, they say it’s cheating. The Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox say that it needs to be done by the strictest rules and by their relations and that’s it. They mentioned in the end of the audio that it was ironic that after the Holocaust so many people want to convert to Judaism, yet they are being turned away.

In chapter 42; Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims, Charles Kurzman speaks about how today Islamists have turned to modern ways of living, including schools, technology and laws. They still hold their traditional values and work ethic though. Taliban outlawed women from attending school, but Islamists actually raised the girls’ education level in Iran. Charles Kurzman also mentions more about technology and how radical Islamists use satellite phones etc., leading to use of the newest high-tech skills and Americas war on terrorism and how it might possibly help the Islamists by fueling the idea that the US is against Islam. He also describes the longer affects, however, saying that “longer-term approaches to the war on terrorism also face ambivalence. The modernization of Muslim societies, promoted by the United States and its allies as a buffer against traditionalism, may wind up fueling Islamism”

Course material for November 23rd memos

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

If you haven’t posted your reading response memos yet, time is running out!  There are exactly four more opportunities: Nov 23, Nov 30, Dec 2, and Dec 9th.  For the upcoming deadline, you have the following options.  Remember, you must address *at least two* different items.

Ch. 42, “Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims” (Kurzman)

Audio (stream): “Inside American Islam,” On Point, NPR, 9/14/2010. Top Islam expert Akbar Ahmed just visited one hundred mosques in America. This is his report. (46 min)

Recommended: Ch. 45, “Obedience vs. Autonomy: Women and Fundamentalism in Iran and Pakistan” (Haeri)

Recommended (audio-mp3): “Formerly Banned Muslim Scholar Tours U.S.,” NPR, 4/29/2010 (interview w/ Tariq Ramadan). (7 min 43 sec)

Recommended (audio-mp3): “In Israel, When a Jew is Not Jewish Enough,” Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, All Things Considered, NPR, 11/10/2010. (4 min 43 sec)