In February, the Yale University Press will release “Islamism: What it Means for the Middle East and the World,” by Tarek Osman. The publisher’s description follows:
A political, social, and cultural battle is currently raging in the Middle East. On one side are the Islamists, those who believe Islam should be the region’s primary identity. In opposition are nationalists, secularists, royal families, military establishments, and others who view Islamism as a serious threat to national security, historical identity, and a cohesive society.
This provocative, vitally important work explores the development of the largest, most influential Islamic groups in the Middle East over the past century. Tarek Osman examines why political Islam managed to win successive elections and how Islamist groups in various nations have responded after ascending to power. He dissects the alliances that have formed among Islamist factions and against them, addressing the important issues of Islamism’s compatibility with modernity, with the region’s experiences in the twentieth century, and its impact on social contracts and minorities. He explains what Salafism means, its evolution, and connections to jihadist groups in the Middle East. Osman speculates on what the Islamists’ prospects for the future will mean for the region and the rest of the world.
In September, Praeger released “Scapegoating Islam: Intolerance, Security, and the American Muslim” by Jeffrey L. Thomas. The publisher’s description follows:
Exploring the experience of Muslims in America following 9/11, this book assesses how anti-Muslim bias within the U.S. government and the larger society undermines American security and democracy.
In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, Muslims in America have experienced discrimination and intolerance from the U.S. government and American citizens alike. From religious and ethnic profiling to hate crimes, intolerance against Muslims is being reinforced on multiple levels, undercutting the Muslim community’s engagement in American society. This text is essential for understanding how the unjust treatment of American Muslims following September 11 has only served to alienate the Muslim community and further divide the United States.
Authored by an expert analyst of policy for 20 years, this book explores the prejudice against Muslims and how the actions of the U.S. government continue to perpetuate fear and stereotypes within U.S. citizens. The author posits that by respecting the civil rights of Muslims, the government will lead by example in the acceptance of American Muslims, improving homeland security along with the lives of Muslims living in the United States.
This month, Oxford University Press published Freedom from Religion: Rights and National Security, Second Edition by Amos Guiora (Quinney College of Law, University of Utah). The publisher’s description follows.
Although many books on terrorism and religious extremism have been published in the years since 9/11, none of them written by Western authors call for the curtailment of religious freedom and freedom of expression for the sake of greater security. Issues like torture, domestic surveillance, and unlawful detentions have dominated the literature in this area, but few, if any, major scholars have questioned the vast allowances made by Western nations for the freedoms of religion and speech.
Freedom from Religion challenges the almost sacrosanct inviolability of these two civil liberties. By drawing the connection between politically-correct tolerance of extremist speech and the rise of terrorist activity, this book sets the context for its unique proposal that governments should introduce new limits on religious practice within their borders. To demonstrate the wisdom of this course, the author presents the disparate policies and security circumstances of five countries: the U.S., the UK, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Israel. The book benefits not just from the author’s own counter-terrorism experience in Israel and the U.S. but also from an international advisory group of leading scholars from all five of the countries under review.
David B. Kopel (Denver University – Sturm College of Law) has posted Evolving Christian Attitudes Towards Personal and National Self-Defense. The abstract follows.
This Article analyzes the changes in orthodox Christian attitudes towards defensive violence. While the article begins in the 19th century and ends in the 21st, most of the Article is about the 20th century. The article focuses on American Catholicism and on the Vatican, although there is some discussion of American Protestantism.
In the nineteenth and early in the twentieth centuries, the traditional Christian concepts of Just War and of the individual’s duty to use force to defend himself and his family remained uncontroversial, as they had been for centuries. Disillusionment over World War One turned many Catholics and Protestants towards pacifism. Without necessarily adopting pacifism as a Continue reading
A federal district court in California ruled Tuesday that the state secrets doctrine precludes a religious-discrimination lawsuit local Muslims had filed against the FBI. Plaintiffs alleged that the FBI had violated their constitutional and civil rights by conducting “an indiscriminate ‘dragnet'” that “gathered information about them and other innocent Muslim Americans in Southern California” solely on the basis of their religion. Specifically, they alleged that the FBI had employed a covert operative to conduct surveillance of mosques and Muslims in southern California. The court ruled that litigation of plaintiffs’ claims would “require or unjustifiably risk disclosure of secret and classified information regarding the nature of the FBI’s counterterrorism investigations, the specific individuals under investigation and their associates, and the tactics and sources of information used in combating possible terrorist attacks on the United States and its allies.” The court made its decision, with obvious reluctance, on the basis of Attorney General Eric Holder’s formal invocation of the state secrets privilege and the court’s own “skeptical” examination of the FBI’s public and classified, ex parte, submissions. Plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU, plan to appeal. The case is Fazaga v. FBI, 2012 WL 3327092 (C.D. Cal., Aug. 14, 2012).
This collection of essays edited by James K. Wellman (Jackson School of International Studies) and Clark B. Lombardi (University of Washington), Religion and Human Security: A Global Perspective (OUP 2012), looks worth checking out, particularly for those who are interested in national security law and religion. The publisher’s description follows.
Since the1950s the world has witnessed a period of extraordinary religious revival in which religious political parties and non-governmental organizations have gained power around the globe. At the same time, the international community has come to focus on the challenge of promoting global human security. This groundbreaking book explores how these trends are interacting. In theoretical essays and case studies from Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, the Americas, Africa and Europe, the contributors address such crucial questions as: Under what circumstances do religiously motivated actors advance or harm human welfare? Do certain state policies tend to promote security-enhancing behavior among religious groups? The book concludes by providing important suggestions to policymakers about how to factor the influence of religion into their evaluation of a population’s human security and into programs designed to improve human security around the globe.
Related to Ms. Hummel’s post below, a new book, The Headscarf Controversy: Secularism and Freedom of Religion (OUP 2012) by Hilal Elver (UC Santa Barbara) is scheduled to be released next month and treats subjects of great interest to CLR Forum readers from what I think is an unusually ambitious cross-cultural perspective. The publisher’s description follows.
Hilal Elver offers an in-depth study of the escalating controversy over the right of Muslim women to wear headscarves. Examining legal and political debates in Turkey, several European countries including France and Germany, and the United States, Elver shows the troubling exclusion of pious Muslim women from the public sphere in the name of secularism, democracy, liberalism, and women’s rights.
After evaluating political actions and court decisions from the national level of individual governments to the international sphere of the European Court of Human Rights, Elver concludes that judges and legislators are increasingly influenced by social pressures concerning immigration and multiculturalism, and by issues such as Islamophobia, the “war on terror,” and security concerns. She shows how these influences have resulted in a failure on the part of many Western governments to recognize and protect essential individual freedoms.
Employing a critical legal theory perspective to the headscarf controversy, Elver argues that law can be used to change underlying social conditions shaping the role of religion, and also the position of women in modern society. The Headscarf Controversy demonstrates how changes in law across nations can be used to restore state commitments to human rights.
Sahar F. Aziz (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law) has posted Terror(izing) the Muslim Veil. The abstract follows.
The September 11th terrorist attacks transformed the meaning of the Muslim headscarf. No longer is the crux of the debate whether the “veil” is used to oppress women by controlling their sexuality, and by extension, their personal freedoms and life choices. Rather, a Muslim headscarf “marks” her as a representative of the suspicious, inherently violent, and forever foreign “Terrorist other” in our midst.
In the post-9/11 era, Muslim women donning a headscarf find themselves trapped at the intersection of bias against Islam, the racialized Muslim, and women. In contrast to their male counterparts, Muslim women face unique forms of discrimination not adequately addressed by Muslim civil rights advocacy organizations, women’s rights organizations, or civil liberties Continue reading