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Cultural Changes in Islam

B091
Session Chair: N.N. | Monday, August 25, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Kieko Obuse

Japan Islamic Congress: a forgotten episode in the history of Islam in post-war Japan

Japan Islamic Congress (JIC, Jap: Nihon Isuramu Kyodan) is a controversial Islamic organization which emerged in the early 1970s and claimed over fifty thousand members (i.e. Japanese converts to Islam) in the 1980s. However, the group is very little remembered within Japan’s Muslim community, and its activities largely shrouded in mystery. This paper discusses JIC’s major activities, through examining published and unpublished (internal) sources, and interviews with former JIC members as well as leading figures in the present Japanese Muslim community, and clarifies what was behind JIC’s expansion and sudden demise, and why it has been forgotten, or ignored, by the majority of Japanese Muslims in Japan. Particular attention will be paid to JIC’s attempts to build connections with major Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, and its unconventional interpretation of, or attempt to Japanise, Islam.

Murtala Ibrahim

Nasfat: The Rise of Born Again Muslims in Nigerian Urban Landscapes

This paper is a result of an ethnographic study of NASFAT (Nasrullahi Fathi) which is one of the largest Islamic religious movements that emerged in the mega city of Lagos in the past decade. The paper has looked into NASFAT’s embodied and sensational spiritual practices that are similar to Pentecostal forms of worship. The paper argued that NASFAT's innovative approach to spirituality has appealed to large number of Muslim youths and somehow checkmate their attraction toward Pentecostal Christianity by giving them immediate access to transcendental reality. This access is believed to foster spiritual empowerment that serves as instrument for facing challenges of worldly life. By avoiding religious base identity politics common to other religious groups NASFAT was able to anchor its religiosity on individual piety through which new image of Islam will emerge as privatized religion that is compatible with modern life.

Shah Hashmi

Adoption of Cultural Change in Islamic Tradition

As a natural phenomenon, cultural change has been faced by every social order throughout history but, at the same time, there are also some in-built factors in human cultures including religion that resist change. The Islamic societies, during their history spread over 14 centuries and all the continents, have experienced diverse cultural interactions. As a result, Islamic culture witnessed modifications and adjustments. This paper will attempt to elaborate how Islamic tradition dealt with new situations occurred within their societies as well as the situations emerged as a result of their contact with other societies? Likewise how natural environment did effect their cultural set-up? The paper will also explain that what has been the methodology & specific tools adopted by Muslim jurists, specially, for accommodation of cultural change and transition? Islamic legal concept such as Ijtehad, ‘Urf, bidhah and maslihah will be reviewed in this context.

Frej Stambouli

The Arab Spring and the assertive return of Islam

The forceful return of Islam during the recent violent uprisings in the Arab world reflects a profound structural transformation of these societies during the post-colonial era. The social forces that felt marginalized and oppressed have now rebelled using Islam as source of inspiration and as a weapon for liberation. This logic is explored through an analysis of the Tunisian “Jasmin Revolution” using the Ibn Khaldun paradigm, according to which, whenever a political power becomes despotic, the Islamic normative matrix based on justice and equity reacts and liberates the oppressed. As the present social system seems unable to deliver either moral values or jobs, violent Islam extends to cities and peripheries alike. In order for Islam to play a sustainable liberation role it must, however, adjust to modernity and promote an open society and the rule of law.

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