"Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service and the 'Ground-Zero Mosque' Controversy" with Rosemary R. Corbett
Thursday, March 16 at 12:30pm to 1:45pm
Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, #270 37th and O St., N.W., Washington
Drawing on a decade of research into the community that proposed the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," this book refutes the idea that current demands for Muslim moderation have primarily arisen in response to the events of 9/11, or to the violence often depicted in the media as unique to Muslims. Instead, it looks at a century of pressures on religious minorities to conform to dominant American frameworks for race, gender, and political economy. These include the encouraging of community groups to provide social services to the dispossessed in compensation for the government's lack of welfare provisions in an aggressively capitalist environment. Calls for Muslim moderation in particular are also colored by racist and orientalist stereotypes about the inherent pacifism of Sufis with respect to other groups. The first investigation of the assumptions behind moderate Islam in our country, Making Moderate Islam is also the first to look closely at the history, lives, and ambitions of the those involved in Manhattan's contested project for an Islamic community center.
Rosemary R. Corbett is a Faculty Fellow with the Bard Prison Initiative and has a PhD in Religion from Columbia University with a focus on Islam in the United States. She has previously held positions as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University, and (most recently) a Young Scholar in American Religion with the Center for the Study of American Religion at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. Her research involves examining how racial and religious minorities navigate U.S. Protestant-derived norms by forming shifting alliances around civic or political issues, and her forthcoming manuscript—Muslims in the Middle: Service, Sufism, and “Moderate” American Muslims after 9/11—is under contract with Stanford University Press. In addition to works in edited volumes, her publications appear (under the names of Rosemary R. Corbett and Rosemary R. Hicks) in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (forthcoming, 2015), the journal Religion, The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, American Quarterly, Comparative Islamic Studies, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (2004, New Scholar Award).
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