Dave Weltman

The Mosaic of Islam

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This book presents a series of critical reflections on the faith and politics of Islam. In the process certain simplistic Western myths about Islam are also undermined.

The book takes the form of interviews with Suleiman Mourad, Professor of Religion at Smith College, Massachusetts, conducted by historian Perry Anderson. The first section explores the composition of the Quran and how this difficult, multi-layered and contradictory text reflects the challenges faced by Mohammed in building up a community of believers.

Socialism...Seriously

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This is a very useful little book which comes in a highly attractive format, especially because it aspires to blend serious revolutionary ideas in a playful soup of self-deprecating humour and light-heartedness. In this way it provides an exceptionally unintimidating entry into an international socialist worldview. Capitalism, Katch notes, “is destructive and inhumane, but it’s also silly, and mocking its absurdities reminds us that a system this dumb can’t possibly be indestructible”.

The rise of Islamophobia

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Anti-Muslim racism is on the increase. Dave Weltman looks at how Muslims have been scapegoated in Britain and across Europe.

The trend towards making anti-Muslim racism "respectable" continues to grow relentlessly throughout Europe. There is the success, for example, of those who look likely in the next few months to win a ban on Muslim women wearing garments to cover the face - whether citing "security" concerns in Belgium or "defence of national values" in France. In Switzerland the recent outlawing of minarets through a referendum is being looked upon by reactionaries across the continent as a step towards normalising the arguments that portray mosques as "alien" and threatening cultural impositions.

Media's Cultural Offensive

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Hassan Mahamdallie's interview with the author of Communists in Harlem (July/August SR) usefully shows how objective racist divisions and inequalities in the US in the 1930s were supported by deep-rooted sensitivities and strictures concerning social mixing.

Today, with regard to British Muslims, however, it is precisely the liberal language of cultural openness and cross-fertilisation which provides the most effective means of dividing people. A distinct formula emerges from a browsing of recent mainstream local media treatment of the 'Muslim issue' in Bristol.

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