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ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies

ReOrient 3.1 2018



Avicenna on Matter: Implications for Ernst Bloch’s Marxist Aesthetics

Karam AbuSehly

Emergence of Institutional Islamophobia: The Case of the Charity
Commission of England and Wales

Ismail Patel

Fallacies of Foundational Principles: Rawls’s Political Liberalism
and Islamophobia

Saeed A. Khan

Political Islam in the Aftermath of “Islamic State”

S. Sayyid

Book Reviews

Whither Judaism? Santiago Slabodsky: Decolonial Judaism: Triumphal Failures of Barbaric Thinking 

Brian Klug

The Location of “Jewish Difference”: Coloniality as a Response to Brian Klug’s “Whither Judaism?”

Santiago Slabodsky

Armando Salvatore: The Sociology of Islam: Knowledge, Power and Civility

Asmahan Sallah

Nada Elia, Jodi Kim, Shana L. Redmond, Dylan Rodríguez, Sarita Echavez See, and David Hernández: Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader

Soham Patel

Edwy Plenel: For the Muslims: Islamophobia in France

Jim Wolfreys



Karam AbuSehly

Abstract: The question of the influence of Islamic philosophy on Western critical theory is far from being a well-established area of research and not without controversy. It becomes even more controversial when integrating an Islamic discourse as having implications for Marxist aesthetics. This is very true in the case of Avicenna and Ernst Bloch, an area which has not been addressed adequately. This article, therefore, explores how Avicenna was integrated into a materialist Western discourse, through playing a major role in what Bloch termed the Aristotelian Left, an idea that Bloch expressed in full in his Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left (1952). I argue that no matter how controversial the integration of Avicenna’s position on matter might be, it has significant implications for Bloch’s Marxist aesthetics and his warm stream of Marxism. By examining these implications, the present article sheds light on the possibilities latent in Islamic philosophy, in one of its variation, for a critical theory of culture and society.

Keywords: Avicenna, Aristotelian Left, Ernst Bloch, Marxist aesthetics, matter, the aesthetic Vor-Schein


Ismail Patel

Abstract: The Charity Commission of England and Wales supports and regulates the charity sector whose emergence can be traced back to the early seventeenth century. However, there has been limited academic scrutiny of its regulatory approach particularly regarding Muslim-identified charities. This article first challenges the Commission’s claim to be an independent body, and second questions whether its contemporary role reveals institutional Islamophobia. It is argued that, since partnering with the UK government’s “Prevent” agenda – or war on terror – to control ungoverned spaces for extremism, the Commission has assumed a policing role. This role is analysed through discourse theory and a Foucauldian approach to disciplinary techniques. To analyse the repertoire of institutionalised Islamophobia, the study draws upon Carmichael and Hamilton’s definition of institutional racism, the Parekh Report, and Pilkington’s ten components of institutional racism. In challenging the Commission’s claim to independence, the article highlights the changes in its practices and structure. It argues the structural changes have deflected accountabilities of the board members and chair and resulted in the politicisation of their selection process. Furthermore, the shifts in the Commission’s practices have had a disproportionate impact on Muslim charities, where thirty-eight per cent of all disclosed statutory investigations conducted are on Muslim charities despite representing only 1.21 per cent of the sector. This article provides a discourse analysis of the regulatory approach of a significant public body and departs from investigations of subjective and media representations of Muslims that have monopolised research on Islamophobia.

Keywords: Charity Commission of England and Wales, Islamophobia, Foucault, institutional racism, disciplinary techniques, governmentality, Shawcross, charity


Saeed A. Khan

Abstract: The philosophy of John Rawls forms a critical cornerstone in modern liberalism, especially with its two concomitant and defining components: the existence of a society that will easily reach a consensus, as a collection of reasonable people, on political matters, as distinguished from religious and other similarly broad social constructs; and that reasonable peoples will organically privilege and prioritize the political over the religious when the two are in conflict with one another. These tenets also inform Rawls’s ideas on justice and those who have agency in its definition. Yet, implicit within these tenets is an exclusion of religiously oriented peoples for whom faith systems supersede the political, particularly a political model of which they had no participatory role to develop. The exclusion of Muslims from this process and model facilitates the emergence of Islamophobia in a society that perceives itself as imbued with Rawlsian liberalism and without contradiction. This article explores Rawlsian liberalism and the central role it plays in modern, Western philosophy. It will offer a critique of his beliefs and delineate the internal flaws within Rawlsian liberalism. In addition, it will assess the fundamental architecture of Rawls’s liberalism as a model lacking in practical applicability even from a normative reading. Finally, this article will demonstrate how such constructions of liberalism exclude Muslims from agency within a Rawlsian liberal society and contribute to the development and institutionalization of Islamophobia in such societies.

Keywords: Rawls, consensus, secular, liberalism, Islamophobia, inclusion


S. Sayyid

Abstract: The rapid contraction of the territorial extent of the Islamic state seems to have dented its claims to have restored the caliphate. The question that this raises is what does the end of the Islamic state mean for political Islam in general. To address this question, this article will provide an account of the degree to which political Islam can be distinguished from the fate of the Islamic state group. In the process, it will put forward an analysis in which the emergence of political Islam is explored not only as a geopolitical but also epistemological challenge to the prevailing normal science. This essay is an exercise in critical Muslim studies and argues that no understanding of political Islam can be successful without a critique of Eurocentrism.

Keywords: political Islam, critical Muslim studies, orientalism, Eurocentrism, Islamic State

Book Reviews


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