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Religions, Volume 4, Issue 4 (December 2013), Pages 443-700

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Open AccessArticle Pervasive Anxiety about Islam: A Critical Reading of Contemporary ‘Clash’ Literature
Religions 2013, 4(4), 443-468; doi:10.3390/rel4040443
Received: 8 July 2013 / Revised: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 18 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
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Abstract
This article analyzes and critiques North American and European “clash literature”—a genre of post-9/11 writings that popularize elements of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, with particular reference to putative threats posed to Western civilization by Islam and Muslims. Attention is given to
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This article analyzes and critiques North American and European “clash literature”—a genre of post-9/11 writings that popularize elements of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, with particular reference to putative threats posed to Western civilization by Islam and Muslims. Attention is given to a series of salient themes used by multiple texts and authors, in a manner that creates an overarching narrative of Western moral superiority vis-à-vis a monolithic, authoritarian, and misogynistic Islamic culture; betrayal of Western culture by “politically correct” intellectual elites wedded to ideas of multicultural accommodation; and a cascading threat posed by the rapid influx of unassimilable Muslim immigrants who are poised to mount a demographic takeover of Europe and possibly America as well. The content of clash texts is then analyzed and evaluated in light of its detachment from relevant scholarship, its reliance on highly essentialized identity constructs, its use of demographic extrapolations and alarming anecdotes, and its stark rejection of contemporary pluralism. The article concludes with reflections on how scholars might respond to the identity insecurities revealed by clash literature as they seek to advance alternative narratives based on values of dialogue and coexistence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Religious Observance and Well-Being among Israeli Jewish Adults: Findings from the Israel Social Survey
Religions 2013, 4(4), 469-484; doi:10.3390/rel4040469
Received: 26 August 2013 / Revised: 13 September 2013 / Accepted: 18 September 2013 / Published: 27 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (232 KB)
Abstract
This study reports on analyses of Jewish respondents (N = 6,056) from the 2009 Israel Social Survey. Multivariable methods were used to investigate whether religiously observant Jews have greater physical and psychological well-being. After adjustment for age and other sociodemographic correlates of religion
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This study reports on analyses of Jewish respondents (N = 6,056) from the 2009 Israel Social Survey. Multivariable methods were used to investigate whether religiously observant Jews have greater physical and psychological well-being. After adjustment for age and other sociodemographic correlates of religion and well-being and for a measure of Israeli Jewish religious identity (i.e., secular, traditional, religious, ultra-Orthodox), two findings stand out. First, greater Jewish religious observance is significantly associated with higher scores on indicators of self-rated health, functional health, and life satisfaction. Second, there is a gradient-like trend such that greater religiousness and life satisfaction are observed as one moves “rightward” across religious identity categories. These findings withstand adjustment for effects of all covariates, including Israeli nativity and Jewish religious identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body and Religion)
Open AccessArticle A Perfect Chord: Trinity in Music, Music in the Trinity
Religions 2013, 4(4), 485-501; doi:10.3390/rel4040485
Received: 9 September 2013 / Revised: 24 September 2013 / Accepted: 1 October 2013 / Published: 9 October 2013
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Abstract
The doctrine of God’s Triunity is at the core of Christian faith; this article presents a theological survey of how it has been understood in a musical way during the Christian era. The role of music as a participation in the liturgy of
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The doctrine of God’s Triunity is at the core of Christian faith; this article presents a theological survey of how it has been understood in a musical way during the Christian era. The role of music as a participation in the liturgy of mutual love eternally experienced in the Trinity is first analyzed, with references to the Church Fathers and to modern/contemporary theologians. Later, the three main forms of congregational singing are taken into account (i.e., monody, polyphony and harmony), pointing out how each has been seen in turn as a symbol of the Trinity’s love. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Minority Political Representation: Muslim Councilors in Newham and Hackney
Religions 2013, 4(4), 502-528; doi:10.3390/rel4040502
Received: 24 June 2013 / Revised: 21 October 2013 / Accepted: 23 October 2013 / Published: 28 October 2013
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Abstract
Scholars have long been intrigued by the role of minority elected officials in representing the interests of their communities. There is an on-going debate on whether distinctive minority agendas exist and whether the existence of minority representatives (descriptive representation) is a necessary condition
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Scholars have long been intrigued by the role of minority elected officials in representing the interests of their communities. There is an on-going debate on whether distinctive minority agendas exist and whether the existence of minority representatives (descriptive representation) is a necessary condition to secure the representation of minority interests (substantive representation). This article analyzes original interview data to examine these issues through a case study of Muslim city councilors and the dynamics of local government in the Newham and Hackney Borough Councils of London. It finds that the exceptionally high ethnic diversity of Newham with no dominant ethnic group, the lack of racial or religious divides among neighborhoods, and low racial tensions shapes the political culture of the Council, as well as the Muslim councilors, and yields high responsiveness for all minorities. It also finds that non-Muslim councilors play a significant role in the substantive representation of minority interests, including Muslim interests. In contrast, the case study of the Hackney Council reveals that beyond high party fragmentation, ethnicity and religiosity of the Muslim councilors vary widely and hinder effective representation. In addition, their political incorporation is low, and the leadership positions they hold seem to have symbolic rather than substantive impact. The political behavior and representative styles of Muslim councilors reveal a balancing perspective, whereby they advocate for group interests with a more moderate tone. These factors account for the low government responsiveness to Muslim interests in Hackney. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Towards A New Reading of the Political Thought of the Dévot Faction: The Opposition to Cardinal Richelieu’s Ministériat
Religions 2013, 4(4), 529-549; doi:10.3390/rel4040529
Received: 27 September 2013 / Revised: 23 October 2013 / Accepted: 25 October 2013 / Published: 31 October 2013
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Abstract
For a long time, historiography has considered the political thought of the dévot party, led by Mathieu de Morgues and Michel de Marillac, to be supportive of a traditional monarchy, Catholicism and the extermination of Protestants, while being opposed to the Thirty Years
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For a long time, historiography has considered the political thought of the dévot party, led by Mathieu de Morgues and Michel de Marillac, to be supportive of a traditional monarchy, Catholicism and the extermination of Protestants, while being opposed to the Thirty Years War. This faction’s political thought has been looked upon as being in contrast to that of Cardinal Richelieu, which was comparatively regarded as profoundly absolutist and modern. Such an understanding of the dévots’ political thought, albeit disputed, continues to prevail. The present article intends to demonstrate that the dévots were in fact on the side of the absolutists, which explains their opposition to Richelieu. Indeed, they never criticized absolutism, but rather, the illegitimate leadership of the government by an all-powerful premier ministre, namely, Richelieu. According to the dévots, the ministériat actually betrayed the very essence of absolute monarchy. Before proposing a new perspective on its political thought, it is important to reflect upon the definition of the dévot party. This will be followed by an overview of the lives and work of the principal representatives of this faction, Mathieu de Morgues (1582–1670) and Michel de Marillac (1560–1632). An examination of the historiography on this subject enables this article’s conclusions to be situated in a broader context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Work on Catholicism)
Open AccessArticle New Labour and the Re-making of British Islam: The Case of the Radical Middle Way and the “Reclamation” of the Classical Islamic Tradition
Religions 2013, 4(4), 550-566; doi:10.3390/rel4040550
Received: 22 June 2013 / Revised: 8 August 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 4 November 2013
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Abstract
This article examines the emergence of new forms of Islam in Britain between the 1990s and the present, and in particular the role played by the New Labour government (1997–2010) in encouraging new expressions of Islam. It charts the development of the Islamic
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This article examines the emergence of new forms of Islam in Britain between the 1990s and the present, and in particular the role played by the New Labour government (1997–2010) in encouraging new expressions of Islam. It charts the development of the Islamic tradition in Britain between the migration of mainly South Asian Muslims in the 1950s and 1960s and the Rushdie affair in the late 1980s, before outlining some of the challenges Muslims in Britain have faced transmitting Islamic traditions in a stable state to younger generations. Against the backdrop of increasing public concern about an inter-generational divide among Muslims and its supposed role in allowing radicalism to flourish, the article explores recent attempts to develop and promote forms of Islam that are “authentically British” and that challenge radical perspectives. Using the case study of the Radical Middle Way initiative, it looks into the uneasy relationship between these newer forms of Islam and the supportive New Labour administration, highlighting weaknesses in literature that focuses on the ‘disciplining’ of Muslims. Finally, it explains how the concept of classical Islamic tradition is utilised in creative ways not anticipated or engaged with by advocates of the “clash of civilisations” thesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Music and Spirituality: Reflections from a Western Christian Perspective
Religions 2013, 4(4), 567-583; doi:10.3390/rel4040567
Received: 1 October 2013 / Revised: 6 November 2013 / Accepted: 7 November 2013 / Published: 13 November 2013
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Abstract
Music and spirituality in a Christian view start with faith in the Word of God in response to the initiative of God who, as personal being through the Word revealed in Christ, seeks out persons even when they do not seek God. This
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Music and spirituality in a Christian view start with faith in the Word of God in response to the initiative of God who, as personal being through the Word revealed in Christ, seeks out persons even when they do not seek God. This mystery finds its goal in what is beyond expression in music from a variety of musical styles and syntaxes, from various times and places, in praise and prayer, and in relation to all of life. Matters like memory, health, emotion, time, silence, and community are involved. Paradoxes and a dark side are noted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Religious Racism. Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Italian Society
Religions 2013, 4(4), 584-602; doi:10.3390/rel4040584
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 15 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
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Abstract
Racism and racial prejudice, considered a relic of obsolete and outdated social systems, is emerging in the depths of ultra-modern Western societies with different characteristics from the past but with a surprising and worrying virulence. These waves of prejudice and racism testify to
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Racism and racial prejudice, considered a relic of obsolete and outdated social systems, is emerging in the depths of ultra-modern Western societies with different characteristics from the past but with a surprising and worrying virulence. These waves of prejudice and racism testify to the many fears that fill the horizons of advanced societies, undermining not only their internal reliability, but also just their democratic settings. This paper presents a critical review of Islamophobia as a racial prejudice, showing that two main definitions are at work: Islamophobia as xeno-racism or linked to the so-called clash of civilizations. Then, it presents the outcomes coming from a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) survey led among a representative sample of the Italian population (n = 1,523) on Antisemitic and Islamophobic attitudes. The cogency and structure of anti-Muslim public discourse and connected mass attitudes, revealed by our investigation, confirm the emergency of these two relevant dimensions of Islamophobia, which claim for a more accurate definition of Islamophobia. Moreover, the distribution of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attitudes illustrate an interesting overlapping of Islamophobia and Antisemitism which claims that racism is multi-targeted and that there is not so much options between Antisemitism and Islamophobia. Finally, we use three main variables—anomie, ethnocentrism, and authoritarianism—as predictors of Islamophobia and Antisemitism. We tested the strength of these three predictors with the aid of path technique based on multiple regression analysis, which helps to determine the direct and indirect impacts of certain independent variables on dependent variables in a hypothetical causal system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Has Multiculturalism Really Failed? A Canadian Muslim Perspective
Religions 2013, 4(4), 603-620; doi:10.3390/rel4040603
Received: 30 July 2013 / Revised: 11 October 2013 / Accepted: 12 October 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
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Abstract
In recent years, claims that multiculturalism has created segregated communities, encouraged terrorism, and failed to foster shared national identities in western nations have gained popularity. In this paper, we use young Canadian Muslims’ lived experience of multiculturalism to reflect on this debate. Contrary
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In recent years, claims that multiculturalism has created segregated communities, encouraged terrorism, and failed to foster shared national identities in western nations have gained popularity. In this paper, we use young Canadian Muslims’ lived experience of multiculturalism to reflect on this debate. Contrary to popular rhetoric, our interviews of 50 young Muslim adults show that many maintain a dual Canadian-Muslim identity by utilizing the ideology of multiculturalism, even though they are increasingly stigmatized for their religion. These findings lead us to problematize the discourse surrounding the ‘failure’ of multiculturalism and to highlight the contradictions within it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Silent Bodies in Religion and Work: Migrant Filipinas and the Construction of Relational Power
Religions 2013, 4(4), 621-643; doi:10.3390/rel4040621
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 20 November 2013 / Accepted: 28 November 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
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Abstract
The present article explores the relationship of silences, as vocal and non-vocal bodily practices, to forms of power in religion and work. More specifically, it focuses on Filipina domestic workers in Greece who are members of Iglesia ni Cristo, an independent Filipino church.
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The present article explores the relationship of silences, as vocal and non-vocal bodily practices, to forms of power in religion and work. More specifically, it focuses on Filipina domestic workers in Greece who are members of Iglesia ni Cristo, an independent Filipino church. In the hierarchical contexts of the church and paid domestic work, where the church expands its influence, silence is a dominant embodied religious ethos, an ideal behavior for female workers and an expression of obedience. This silence enhances women’s subordination resulting in strict power relationships. Silencing the body, however, is also an agential practice of Filipina immigrants themselves, a tool to transform power relationships into more reciprocal ones. By reflective and unreflective practices of bodily silence, migrant Filipinas reverse subjection, transform the power relationships in which they are involved and attribute to them a more relational character. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body and Religion)
Open AccessArticle Sport, Islam, and Muslims in Europe: in between or on the Margin?
Religions 2013, 4(4), 644-656; doi:10.3390/rel4040644
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 30 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 10 December 2013
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to reveal how misconceptions—or using the concept of Arkoun, “the crisis of meanings”—about the role and position of Islam in Europe is impacting on the discourse on sport, Islam, and immigration. France is selected as a case
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The aim of this paper is to reveal how misconceptions—or using the concept of Arkoun, “the crisis of meanings”—about the role and position of Islam in Europe is impacting on the discourse on sport, Islam, and immigration. France is selected as a case study for this paper as it is in this country where the debate on religion in general and Islam in particular seem to be more contentious in relation to the questions of integration of Muslim communities to secular (French republican) values. Recent sources of tensions include the ban of the Burqa in the public space; the debate on national identity instigated by the former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, which became centred around the question of Islam and Muslims in France; the provocative cartoons about Prophet Mohamed in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo; opposition against the provision of halal meal in France’s fast-food chain Quick; and resistance toward Qatar’s plan to invest in deprived suburbs of France, to name just a few. The other context which this paper examines in relation to the question of sport, Islam, and identity-making of Muslims in Europe is the phenomenon of “reverse migration” or the re-connection of athletes of Muslim background in Europe, or so-called Muslim neo-Europeans, with their (parents’) country of origin. The paper argues that sport is another highly politicised space to judge the level of “integration” of Muslim athletes in European societies, and the degree of “religiosity” in their (parents’) country of origin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle “To Sing with the Spirit:” Psalms, Hymns and the Spirituality of Late Eighteen Century American Presbyterians
Religions 2013, 4(4), 657-668; doi:10.3390/rel4040657
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 6 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
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Abstract
This paper contends that the contemporary discussion among theologians regarding the relationship between theology and spirituality can offer new insight into the eighteenth century religious world. This theological discussion has wrestled with, among other things, the questions of whether theology and spirituality are
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This paper contends that the contemporary discussion among theologians regarding the relationship between theology and spirituality can offer new insight into the eighteenth century religious world. This theological discussion has wrestled with, among other things, the questions of whether theology and spirituality are mutually exclusive and what exactly their relationship looks like. Resoundingly, theologians such as Alister McGrath, J. I. Packer, and Sandra Schneiders have concluded that any separation of the two represents a false dichotomy within Christianity. Accordingly, Christians are called to “the quest for a fulfilled and authentic Christian existence, involving the bringing together of the fundamental ideas of Christianity and the whole experience of living on the basis of, and within, the scope of the Christian faith.” Sound theology, then, necessitates living by the Spirit and vice versa. The benefit of this theological position for religious history lies in its reevaluation of the common categorization of Christians as either theologically or spiritually focused. By heeding the call of contemporary theologians and blurring these lines of distinction, historians can afford eighteen century American Christians the chance to better define themselves. Considered in this light, the actions of the Presbyterians, for instance, are freed from the manipulative “social control” framework as one of the “establishmentarian” churches. Instead, the Presbyterians reveal characteristics generally reserved for the democratically charged “sectarians,” such as a robust spiritual life compelled by music. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Offence of Beauty in Modern Western Art Music
Religions 2013, 4(4), 687-700; doi:10.3390/rel4040687
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 18 December 2013
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Abstract
In recent decades, beauty has become a largely unfashionable, even offensive notion within art and philosophy. As Eastern Orthodox theologian, David Bentley Hart, has pointed out, this offence has a twofold sense. Firstly, the ‘beautiful’ has been dismissed as philosophically insignificant in comparison
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In recent decades, beauty has become a largely unfashionable, even offensive notion within art and philosophy. As Eastern Orthodox theologian, David Bentley Hart, has pointed out, this offence has a twofold sense. Firstly, the ‘beautiful’ has been dismissed as philosophically insignificant in comparison to the ‘sublime’ by an intellectual tradition tracing itself back to Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Secondly, the making of apparently beautiful art has, especially after the Shoah, frequently been regarded as ethically offensive in the face of suffering in the world. The present essay discusses how these two critiques of the beautiful find themselves reflected in twentieth and twenty-first century musical aesthetics, with particular reference to the writings of Theodor W. Adorno, and asks what solutions have been found by composers of Christian sacred music in the Western tradition confronted by this ‘taboo on beauty’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available

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Open AccessEssay Secularization and the Loss of Love in Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress
Religions 2013, 4(4), 669-686; doi:10.3390/rel4040669
Received: 10 September 2013 / Revised: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
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Abstract
In this paper, I place Bunyan’s popular Pilgrim’s Progress into a cultural context infused with, and informed by, a change from a sacred to secular preunderstanding. I discuss the ways that Bunyan wrestles with these changes in light of Taylor’s work on secularization,
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In this paper, I place Bunyan’s popular Pilgrim’s Progress into a cultural context infused with, and informed by, a change from a sacred to secular preunderstanding. I discuss the ways that Bunyan wrestles with these changes in light of Taylor’s work on secularization, and theorize that Bunyan’s text reveals how the sacred and secular imaginaries were able to merge through a shared embrace of an economic system of rationalization. Additionally, and more tragically, both ideologies share a disdain for love in its vulnerable, intimate, and material forms that has led us to desire security instead of attending to a more humble (but powerful and enriching) need for assurance. I conclude by discussing Adorno’s discussion of love and Auschwitz as a warning still necessary in our 21st century secular age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Writers and Critics on Loss, Love, and the Supernatural)

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