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A leap of faith

The tendency among ethnic minority Muslim immigrant communities in Europe towards identification with Islam as a marker of identity is discussed in an array of studies, but seldom have they explained sufficiently how the change took place. Islam and Identity Politics among British-Bangladeshis: A Leap of Faith probes the causes of and conditions for the preference of the members of the British-Bangladeshi community for a religion-based identity vis-à-vis ethnicity-based identity, and the influence of Islamists in shaping the discourse. It also examines whether this salience of Muslim identity is a precursor to a new variant of diasporic Islam. Islam and Identity Politics delves into the micro-level dynamics, the internal and external factors and the role of the state and locates these within the broad framework of Muslim identity and Islamism, citizenship and the future of multiculturalism in Europe.

The internal factors

3 Identity, Islamism and politics: the internal factors A nalytical and ethnographic studies about the British-Bangladeshi community conducted around the turn of the twentieth century1 and the events described in Chapter 2 demonstrate that a Muslim identity has gained salience among a section of British-Bangladeshis, especially the younger generation. ‘More and more young Bengalis now identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims rather than as Bengali or Bangladeshi,’ concluded Gardner and Shukur in 1994.2 Until the late 1980s, the Bengali ethnic identity

in Islam and identity politics among British-Bangladeshis

This book is a study of the English Reformation as a poetic and political event. It examines the political, religious and poetic writings of the period 1520-1580, in relation to the effects of confessionalization on Tudor writing. The central argument of the book is that it is a mistake to understand this literature simply on the basis of the conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism. Instead one needs to see Tudor culture as fractured between emerging confessional identities, Protestant and Catholic, and marked by a conflict between those who embraced the process of confessionalization and those who rejected it. Sir Richard Morrison's A Remedy for Sedition was part of the Henrician government's propaganda response to the Pilgrimage of Grace. Edwardian politicians and intellectuals theorized and lauded the idea of counsel in both practice and theory. The book discusses three themes reflected in Gardiner's 1554 sermon: the self, the social effects of Reformation, and the Marian approaches to the interpretation of texts. The Marian Reformation produced its own cultural poetics - which continued to have an influence on Tudor literature long after 1558. The decade following the successful suppression of the Northern Rebellion in 1570 was a difficult one for the Elizabethan regime and its supporters. An overview of Elizabethan poetics and politics explains the extent to which the culture of the period was a product of the political and poetic debates of the early years of the Queen's reign.

The state as actor

4 Identity, Islamism and politics: the state as actor T he state plays a pivotal, perhaps the central role, in ethnic identity politics, and this is truer for welfare states like Britain. Whilst the members of the ethnic community, especially their leaders, define the parameters of the group identity, instrumentalize these features through various means and claim the representation, the state provides the legitimacy to these identities within the social and political realms. Werbner has aptly described the actions of community members and actions of the state

in Islam and identity politics among British-Bangladeshis

Chapter 4 . Elizabethan poetics and politics The Perills are many, great and imminent. Great in respect of the Persons and Matters. Persons The Quenes Majesty herself as Pacient. The Pope, the King of France, and Spayne as Authors and Workers; and their Associates. The Quene of Scotts as Instrument, wherby the Matters shall be attempted ageynst the Quenes Majesty. Matters For the recovery of the Tirany to the Pope, which of late Years hath bene discovered and so weakened, as, if the gret Monarchies wer not his Mayntenors, and intended his Recovery, the same

in Literature and politics in the English Reformation

Chapter 2 . Edwardian politics and poetics My counsailo[u]rs with suche other necessarie p[e]rsons [that] attend vppon me that daie [St Stephens?] must also be consydered / There maie be no fewer then sixe counsailo[u]rs at the least / I must also have a divine a philosopher an astronom[e]r a poet a phisician / a potecarie / a Mr of request[es] / a sivilian / a disard / two gentlemen ushers besides Juglers / tomblers / fooles / friers and suche other … (Letter from the lord of misrule [George Ferrers] regarding arrangements for the Christmas entertainments of

in Literature and politics in the English Reformation
The Henrician Reformation

Chapter 1 . Pilgrims, poets and politics: the Henrician Reformation Could we, if we knew what we did, go against King Henry VIII, of whom I will say nothing but this: that His Grace’s fame and praise cannot fall but when all good letters fall, which cannot be before men leave the earth and the earth men. (A Remedy for Sedition, Sir Richard Morrison, 1536)1 S ir Richard Morrison’s A Remedy for Sedition was part of the Henrician government’s propaganda response to the Pilgrimage of Grace. It is a sophisticated work with many classical and biblical references

in Literature and politics in the English Reformation
Fiction, theology, and social practice

The politics of Middle English parables examines the dynamic intersection of fiction, theology, and social practice in translated Gospel stories. Parables occupy a prominent place in Middle English literature, appearing in dream visions and story collections as well as in lives of Christ and devotional treatises. While most scholarship approaches these scriptural stories as stable vehicles of Christian teachings, this book characterises Gospel parables as ambiguous, riddling stories that invited audience interpretation and inspired the construction of new, culturally inflected narratives. In parables related to labour, social inequality, charity, and penance, the book locates a creative theological discourse through which writers reconstructed scriptural stories and, in doing so, attempted to shape Christian belief and practice. Analysis of these diverse retellings reveals not what a given parable meant in a definitive sense but rather how Middle English parables inscribe the ideologies, power structures, and cultural debates of late medieval Christianity.

Separate but equal?

Separate but equal? Schools and the politics of religion and diversity in the Republic of Ireland focuses on the historical and current place of religion in the Irish education system from the perspective of children’s rights and citizenship. It offers a critical analysis of the political, cultural and social forces that have perpetuated the patronage system, looks at the ways in which the denominational model has been adapted to increased religious and cultural diversity in Irish society and shows that recent changes have failed to address persistent discrimination and the absence of respect for freedom of conscience. It relates current debates on the denominational system and the role of the State in education to Irish political thought and conceptions of national identity in Ireland, showing the ways in which such debates reflect a tension between nationalist-communitarian and republican political outlooks. There have been efforts towards accommodation and against instances of discrimination within the system, but Irish educational structures still privilege communal and private interests and hierarchies over equal rights, either in the name of a de facto ‘majority’ right to religious domination or by virtue of a deeply flawed and limited view of ‘parental choice’.

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and political discourses.2 The two events of summer 2006 that captivated the Bangladeshi community were the protests against the filming of Brick Lane in the East End of London, and the visit from Bangladesh of Delwar Hossain Saidee, an Islamist leader. These two events came a year after the surprise and highly publicized victory of George Galloway, leader of the Respect Party, representing a constituency in East London inhabited by a large British-Bangladeshi population. Brick Lane is an adaptation of a best-selling novel by an author of Bangladeshi origin and is

in Islam and identity politics among British-Bangladeshis