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Can Islam Be French?


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi Part One: Trajectories 1 Chapter One: Islam and the Republic 3 Chapter Two: Fashioning the French Islamic Landscape 15 Migration Pathways 16 Residence and Boundaries 19 Religion Rising 21 Authorities 24 State Responses 25 Where to Sacrifice? 27 Where to Pray? 29 Distinctive Features 32 Part Two: Spaces 35 Chapter Three: Mosques Facing Outward 37 In the Unruly Suburbs (Clichy-sous-Bois) 37 Inside the Networks (Saint-Denis) 44 The Work of an Everyday Imam (Lyon) 51 Mosques and Social Divisions 58 Chapter Four: Shaping Knowledge to France 63 Rules, Schools, Principles 63 Hichem El Arafa's CERSI 66 The Science of Hadith 75 The Objectives of Scripture 81 Chapter Five: Differentiating Schools 85 Dimensions of Pedagogical Difference 85 Hichem's View 86 The Great Mosque of Paris 87 Teaching the "Middle Way" 89 Teaching the Four Traditions 92 Objectives and Imam M"lik 95 Foregrounding God's Objectives 96 What Nullifies Prayer--for a Maliki 100 When May a Judge Pronounce a Divorce? 102 Practical Training in an Islamic Ambiance 105 The Future 105 Institute of Useful Knowledge 106 Chapter Six: Can an Islamic School Be Republican? 110 Dhaou Meskine's Success School 111 A Teacher's Trajectory 112 School as Symbol 115 How to Teach a Secular Curriculum in a Muslim School 117 Civics and Gay Couples 118 Religion versus Culture 120 Evolution and Islam? 121 An Islamic Ambiance 124 Muslim Family Camp 125 Arrest 129 Part Three: Debates 133 Chapter Seven: Should There Be an Islam for Europe? 135 Thinking about Riba 137 Different Rules for Different Lands? 143 Confrontations in the Mosque 149 The Transnational Islamic Sphere 153 Chapter Eight: Negotiating across Realms of Justification 157 Between Hal"l and the Hotel de Ville 158 Why the "Halal" Marriage? 162 Convergence I: From Islam to the Secular 165 The Objectives of Halal Rules for Food 169 Convergence II: From French Civil Law toward Islamic Practices 173 Chapter Nine: Islamic Spheres in Republican Space 179 Do Religion-Based Associations Impede Integration? 180 Return to School 182 A National Islamic Sphere at Le Bourget 185 On Priorities and Values 188 The Primacy of Secularism 188 "Assimilation Defects" 191 Toward a Pragmatics of Convergence 196 Notes 199 Bibliography 217 Index 227

About the Author

John R. Bowen is the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. His books include "Why the French Don't Like Headscarves" (Princeton) and "Islam, Law and Equality in Indonesia".


"Mr. Bowen's latest book has a broader and more ambitious canvas. As a good anthropologist, he wants to know not just what the politicians and the media are saying about Islam in France, but what is actually happening on the ground... Mr. Bowen thinks that Muslim values and French secularism could be compatible. But accommodation requires give-and-take on both sides... Can Islam be French? After reading this book, one is inclined to say, 'Yes, but not yet.'"--Economist "[A] major contribution to understanding the real world of Islam in France... An insightful and informative study."--Choice "The book is richly documented, explicitly supportive of the Muslim point of view and deeply sympathetic to them."--Vaidehi Nathan, Organiser "Bowen's study of Islam [in] a lesser-known social context is very welcome."--Jack David Eller, American Anthropology Review "The great merit of this book is not only that it empirically answers the question it asks, but in doing so, it opens up a series of questions pertaining to the place of Islam in France and the complex and different relations between citizenship and French religions in a postcolonial society."--Abdelmajid Hannoum, Contemporary Sociology "[Bowen] makes an important contribution to both the anthropology of France and the anthropology of Islam in the West through his detailed discussion of different Islamic schools of religious interpretation and traditions of jurisprudence. By examining the myriad debates that define a global Islamic space, Bowen challenges stereotypes about the monolithic religion that prevail in the media and across the political spectrum... Bowen does a remarkable job of sifting through and making sense of a vast array of approaches to Islamic norms and of differentiating meaningfully among different Islamic schools."--Susan Terrio, Anthropological Quarterly "Bowen's study gives no quick and easy answers to this question; rather, it does an excellent job of examining the historical background and current developments that highlight the potentials for--as well as the challenges of--a pragmatic convergence between the norms and ideas of Islam and France."--Lee Ann Bambach, Journal of Law and Religion "Bowen once again strengthens his position as one of the leading commentators on the French social landscape. What the study lacks in theoretical rigour is off set by a rigorous and vivid narration of the empirical material and by the author's extensive knowledge of the field. Together with Why the French Don't Like Headscarves, the English-speaking student of France and Islam will find here an excellent introduction."--Per-Erik Nilsson, Temenos

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