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Religious Debates Doth Not a Community Make - North American Muslim Counterpublics and the Limits of Community Open Access


Other title
Unity Mosque
intentional community
religious economy
de facto community
Ta’leef Collective
Muslim community
mosque community
Muslim counterpublic
el-Tawhid Juma Circle
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Maseehuddin, Farooq
Supervisor and department
Stewart-Harawira, Makere (Educational Policy Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Mahdavi, Mojtaba (Political Science)
Abu-Laban, Yasmeen (Political Science)
Department of Educational Policy Studies
Theoretical, Cultural, and International Studies in Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Education
Degree level
In the face of a sustained political rhetoric that constitutes Islam as the proverbial ‘other,’ Muslim communities face external pressures of geopolitical proportions. Within these communities too, however, a vibrant and sometimes tense internal discourse has shaped the ways Muslims see authority, identity and belonging. This study seeks to elaborate structural tensions in North American Muslim communities and the frameworks informing the creative responses to them. It connects these tensions to a historical shift toward transnational pan- Islamic paradigms borrowed from twentieth-century Islamist movements. Informed by anticolonial discourses and methodological debates in the anthropology of Islam, this study argues against conflating the notions of ‘counterpublic’ and ‘community.’ Through a mixed media comparative case study of two North American Muslim organizations, Ta’leef Collective and the el-Tawhid Juma Circle/Unity Mosque, this thesis employs the model of religious economy to analytically map perceived tensions and their responses. The study concludes by developing a new conceptualization of Muslim community that distinguishes between intentional communities and de facto communities, demonstrating that a more localized vision of community might better address perceived tensions.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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