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July 09 , 2007

Alternative Islamic Discourses and Religious Authority


Like anywhere else, the present-day Islamic world too is grappling with modernity and postmodernity, secularisation and globalisation. Muslims are raising questions about religious representations and authority. This has given rise to the emergence of alternative Islamic discourses which challenge binary oppositions and dichotomies of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, continuity and change, state and civil society. It also leads to a dispersal of authority, a collapse of existing hierarchical structures and gender roles. This book further argues that the centre of gravity of many of these alternative Islamic discourses is shifting from the Arabic-speaking 'heartland' towards the geographical peripheries of the Muslim world and expatriate Muslims in North America and Europe. At the same time, in view of recent seismic shifts in the political constellation of the Middle East, the trends discussed in this book hold important clues for the possible direction of future developments in that volatile part of the Muslim world.

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