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Postmodern Obscurantism and ‘the Muslim Question’

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Author(s): Aziz al-Azmeh

Journal: Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies
ISSN 1583-0039

Volume: 2;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 21;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: Muslim Question | postmodernism | political Islam | identity | political culture | orientalism

ABSTRACT
The all-too-human proclivity to short-sightedness colludes with political perspectives of the moment, to project a fragmentary image of the present instant into the essence of eternity, and to postu- late Islam as the trans-historical protoplasm in the life of all Muslims. I shall propose to you that this construal of Islam as a culture which in itself explains the affairs of Muslim collectivities and overdetermines their economies, societies, and non-religious cultures, is the fundamental element in the culture of misrecognition that I am address- ing, the condition of possibility for valorising the trope of return. What I do intend to do is to return to the present point in time, and to try and understand why it is that misrecognition is so passionately willed; to probe the conditions for the exceptionalism attributed to Muslim peoples, which places them outside the remit of the historical and sociological understanding and relegates them to ethnological folklore, to consider why it is that I, like many others, have to waste so much of your time on matters that ought to be taken for granted.
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