Islam Through Many Lenses: A Multi-Story Mindset
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Kiana Rawji |
• February 2018
When it comes to Islam, public discussion concerning the “true essence” of the religion is often polarized. On one side, many claim that Islam is inherently violent. On the other side, many assert that Islam is a peaceful religion. Both of those claims offer a single, narrow definition of the truth. Caught up in this divisive struggle to define Islam as one thing or another, many people—Muslims and non-Muslims alike—overlook the fact that Islam, like any other religion, is not a monolith. The people who practice Islam are incredibly diverse; in fact, many Muslims themselves might be surprised to learn of the immense diversity within their own religion. There is no one Islam, but instead, as Aziz Al-Azmeh put it, multiple Islams. Dr. Ali Asani says that, whenever we talk or think about Islam, we first have to ask the questions, whose Islam? And in what context? In this talk, Kiana expounds on this cultural studies approach to understanding Islam, showing that interpretations of a religion are shaped by the political, social, economic, historical, and geographic contexts of the believers themselves.