December 07, 2007
New Month, Delayed & A Comment on Brass Crescent
corrected cut off version
Afraid I am on a brutal travel schedule on business with limited connectivity. Nevertheless I saw that Aqoul was nominated again for the Brass Crescent Awards and I suppose this is a good thing. My hesitation is that three years ago when Eerie and I had a convo about this we had rather wanted to be .... what?: a portal blog of accessible but not oreintalist - a term I detest in many ways - commentary, not necessarily Muslim but able to speak in an informed 'grass roots" manner to counter on one hand Friedmanism and Right Bolshevism (separate phenomena), and speak critically of the "altermondialiste" Naomi Klein rubbish and simple minded "Ummah" masturbation.
I am happy that we have an interesting mix of regular authors who are in the majority by numbers and authorship "rooted" in the region. I refuse to make comment on ethnicity or religion of or authors as I detest wearing religion on the sleeve, although I believe that we can say that by authors if one wanted to count formal affiliations of said authors the Brass Crescent characterization is not wrong. At the same time I do not see our role in that space. First while Abu Sinan once question, for example, my Arabic, I think on the basis I severely criticized in my typical manner his Arablish [and I find the put on usage of Arabic, deen for religion, etc. utterly useless and someting one never hears from... well confident communities that are not fetishinzing Saudi Islaim]. [incomplete will continue]
In reading this evening (for me) the various competitors I came away with one thought. In writing in English there is far too much talking to oneself (which I find idiotic given Muslims positiioning in the Anglophone world) and far too much use of Arablish (saying Deen for My Religion) - a typical "convert-titus" fetishization of Arabic terms that are perfectly translatable for ordinary usage into English (despite certain pretensions about Arabic) that at once blocks "acceptance" beyond the circle of "adepts" and that I personally hearing born Muslims of a non Wahhabite / Salafi complex speak in .... well multiple languages speaks to me of lack of confidence and a certain complex re identity.
I frankly found this sad. Sad insofar as having had a .... profound relationship on all levels with the MENA region for more than 15 yrs, on personal and professional levels, I find the North American convert perspective that I saw in the awards.... Just very odd and almost alienating. My quick summary, and let me admit it is quick, as I have to fuck off in 30 hours for yet another destination, is that a desire to get at "the real" religion, by avant garde converts without experience in ordinary living (that is not to say without experience in the region, but ordinary daily living, outside of "dawa" or religious colony & preaching contexts) seriously distorts. The description in the series on the "Salafi movement" in the US of A of converts unable to adjust and relate to a liberal society is at once pitiful and profoundly disturbing, as they apparently try to copy and recreate the sick distortions of the Saudi style of religion that by its very nature is alien to much of the MENA region (and has not been successful), never mind the (to varying extents) liberal societies of Europe, North America, etc. What they are doing is ensuring marginalisation and a religious environment of failure and inability to become part of wider society. They are ensuring, without any question, the production of extremists - regardless of their own point of view - and in effect ensuring through ill conceived puritanical purism that they will be a source of legitimate concern on the part of the host countries regarding security, engendering naturally a vicious cycle of resentment and withdrawal and suspicion all around.
Having read Islamic history in Uni at a profound level, I can say without hesitation that the approach that comes out of this purist neo-Saudi (a phrase I use for short hand for those who would like to object, oh no it's not the Saudi daoua, blah blah) is one that has always led to isolation and in the context of the conquests, elite segregation, but in other contexts, mere ghettoization. Compromise and engagement, notably although not solely via the Sufi orders, won more of what this Anglophone community seems to be looking for.... or perhaps they wish to be a ghettoized, uncompormising threat to the host communities that will not be able to trust them to "keep the pact' as it were....
I find this sad. And a threat in the end to MENA, for if these communities in Europe and North America continue to produce excuse making seperatists then the image of Islam in Europe and North America will continue to decline and that is bad for MENA.
Posted by The Lounsbury at December 7, 2007 07:31 PM
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Excuse me, the post is interesting and sound quite passionate but it is like reading a book missing the last pages :D
>My quick summary, and let me admit it is quick, as >I have to fuck off in 30 hours for yet another >destination, is that t
And then? Were you abducted by a business/first class hostess ? :)
There's something in the way you write that reminds of a former French/North African manager of mine so I suppose that it's more likely a business call than a hostess :)
Posted by: Annarella at December 7, 2007 09:00 PM
Is that what, you old tease?
Seriously. What is it??
Posted by: M. at December 8, 2007 12:22 AM
Sorry about that, I seemed to have accidentally cut of the end of that when I posted. Stupid touchpads, bloody sensitive to me odd hand fingers tapping or some such. Now restored or recreated.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at December 8, 2007 10:28 AM
Not being Islamic, or spheroid (getting there, sadly), I am none too happy about the Brass thing. But there's no such thing as bad press, they say.
Posted by: matthew hogan at December 9, 2007 03:45 PM