Saturday, June 18, 2016

Two Important New Publications From Moha Ennaji

Moha Ennaji is a prominent Moroccan academic with research interests in culture and society, migration, gender issues, and linguistics. He is co-founder and president of the International Institute for Languages and Cultures at Fès, Morocco. He has numerous publications on linguistics, cultural studies, migration, education, and women’s studies. His latest publications are Minorities, Women, and the State in North Africa and New Horizons of Muslim Diaspora in North America and Europe

Minorities, Women, and the State in North Africa has recently been published by Red Sea Press in the USA.

This book, which is a collection of chapters from prominent international scholars, aims to unravel the problems and injustices suffered by minorities and women in North Africa. It focuses on the strategies adopted in each country to integrate their populations and to respect cultural diversity. The book equally discusses the role played by the state and civil society organisations on the ground to combat discrimination and totalitarianism. It examines in depth the interconnection of gender, nation, state, citizenship, and language.

Following the 2011 revolutions, minorities and women across North Africa have faced increasing risks to their lives.  The remarkable changes taking place across the region as the result of the Arab Spring continues to significantly affect the social order.  While increasing hopes for democratisation, the impact of the Arab spring has produced, perhaps, the most dangerous period since the end of the Cold War.  Its specific impact on both minorities and women is astounding.

The book emphasises the close links between democratisation, human rights, cultural diversity and rights of minorities and women in North African states.  Minorities and women’s rights are addressed in connection with their impact on democracy as political and cultural practice.  The book offers a pioneering theoretical and empirical approach to the study of minorities and women in North Africa in the post-revolutionary uprisings or awakening, especially as it relates ethnicity and women’s rights. The book argues that women and minority rights should be protected in order to promote equality. Societies need to become more inclusive than they are currently in respect of group rights.

The book underlines that all countries are bound by international law to recognise and to protect minority rights. The 16 chapters of the book stress the multiple identities that characterise multicultural North Africa, which includes Jewish roots, Christian, Arab, Berber, Muslim, African, European, and Andalusian legacies, that are still strong and dynamic today.

According to Ennaji, these societies should eradicate gender-based discrimination and violence and protect and consolidate women’s rights as a way to reinforce democratic ideas and culture. The hope for women’s emancipation and minorities’ liberation is truly a hope for a civilised society in which equal opportunities and development for all are paramount.

New Horizons of Muslim Diaspora in North America and Europe is published by the prestigious American publishing house Macmillan-Palgrave.

The book explores the situation of the Muslim communities in North America and Europe, with the participation of sixteen international experts and scholars. In addition to its theoretical perspective, the book includes an empirical dimension and case studies about Muslims in Canada, the United States, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and Britain, for the purpose of comparison.

The book deals with issues related to freedom of religion and human rights, cultural diversity and its role in the consolidation of democracy, development and social cohesion in the Western world. It focuses on the Muslim diaspora in Europe and North America, and the challenges facing Muslim minorities, as well as their contribution to sustainable development and dialogue between religions in the host countries.

This book aims to expose readers to scholarship on Islam and Muslims in Europe and North America, and to the wider historical and structural processes that have set the stage for the formation of Muslim minorities in these Western societies. It also aims to help readers and students cultivate a greater command over current trends in social analysis and theorisation about citizenship, integration of Muslims in secular states and the emergence of a European and American Islam.

Another major goal of this book is to open new avenues of thought and other prospects to move to another phase of the debate on Muslim diaspora that would link policy based on cultural difference to democratic culture and to social justice.

The objective also is to deepen knowledge about Muslim communities in Western countries, the ways their cultures intersect with the West, and their contribution to democracy, diversity, development and social cohesion in the West.

The book criticises the essentialist approach to the concept of culture which reduces all diasporic Muslims to one category and ignores other important factors that shape the attitudes and behaviours of Muslims in the West, particularly their socio-economic status, gender, age, education, social class, and attitude toward religion and the Western lifestyle. The majority of Muslims in North America and Europe are reluctant to be reduced to 'Muslim,' although some of them feel obliged to accept the label. In this volume, the various chapters reveal that diasporic Muslims are heterogeneous given their diverse cultures and ethnicities; they are actually divided, not united, and have different views and interpretations of Islam and various attitudes and representations of Western realities. Due to their marginalisation and often low social status, some Muslims turn to religion and traditional values and practices to overlook for their socio-economic exclusion from the European or American society.

The book is divided into four broad parts: i) historical and anthropological background of Muslim diaspora, ii) Muslim diaspora, cultural diversity, and shifting identities Issues , iii) reflections on Muslim diasporic women, and iv) aspects of integration, discrimination, and Islamophobia. Each part brings to light a particular outlook and includes enlightening chapters that discuss relevant topics such as ethnicity, diversity, family, food, gender relations, and case studies on Muslim communities in Europe and North America.


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