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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
Abdulaziz A. SACHEDINA
The question of a Muslim minority in the Western context has
become an important one in view of some“fear and hysteria literature”
that continue to depict them as a threat to Western liberal values and
socio−political system. Immigrant Muslims have been preoccupied
with ensuring their survival in the West, and, hence, have not responded
to this“hate literature”adequately, especially in view of the fact that
in the Western context, in general, and the North American setting, in
particular, Islam and Muslims remain widely misunderstood and tend
to be perceived quite monolithically. In fact, however, diversity in the
Muslim community is evident in a variety of ways, from different
national and cultural groupings even among Arabs to the
various schools of thought to which Muslims belong. Nationality,
culture and sectarian affiliation in turn influence their religious prac−
tices, whether they are classified as either Sunnites or Shi‘ites.1)
Moreover, the complexity of theological and practical religious differ−
ences among the immigrant Muslim community has been virtually
incomprehensible not only to outside observers but also to many
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
Muslims who in their native countries have belonged to one particular
school of thought to the exclusion of others. Only in fairly unusual
cases such, for example, as in Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and India−
一 have Muslims acknowledged the existence of other minority Muslim
groups within the majority. In some cases, such as that of Saudi
Arabia, for instance, it has been the Wahhabi government policy to
particularly deny the existence of the Shi‘ite minority within its borders
to give an impression of a factionless Muslim society.
The governments of the Middle East countries in general have
exercised much influence over the immigrant Sunni community by
providing them with badly needed financial assistance to set up Islamic
centers and other such orgrnizations, with the two−fold aim of fostering
asense of loyalty to those governments and preserving the Islamic
characteristics of the minority in the West. These very efforts, how−
ever, have many times been obstacles in the way of adequate recogni・
tion of the vibrant Shi‘ite Muslim minority that is equally engaged in
providing religious centers and facilitating systems of organization to
protect the Islamic identity of its members. Until recently little ac−
knowledgement was made of Shi‘ite realities or information provided
about Shi‘ite communities in Europe and North America in conferences
and studies on Islam in the Western context. The obvious reason for
this belated interest in Shi‘ites, of course, is the Islamic revolution of
Iran, followed by Shi‘ite activism in Lebanon in the aftermath of the
Israeli invasion of 1983. These events in Iran and Lebanon, in addition
to the Iran−Iraq war which was reduced by both the Western press and
the Arab nationalists to a Sunni−Shi‘i and Arab−Persian struggle, have
produced a negative image of the Shi‘ites and Shi‘ism.
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
In this paper I will be concerned with general observations regard・
ing Islam and the entire Muslim community, the Sunnites and the
Shi‘ites, in the West, including North America. My long term involve−
ment with Islamic studies as a Muslim academician and with the
community as an active participant−believer permits me to undertake
the following presentation with necessary objectivity and empathy
connected with the cultural and religious adjustment of a Muslim
minority in the Western environment.
Long before the Muslim jurists undertook to provide religious
rationale for the historical practice ofブ2’had by developing the politica1−
legal terminology like dar al−islam(the sphere of“submission[to
God])and dar al−harb(the sphere of war),the Qur’an had implicitly
divided the world into dar al−i〃zan(the sphere of belief)and darα1−
fezafr(the sphere of disbelief). There is, however, a difference in the
way Islamic religious law defined the two spheres and the way the
Qur’an projected the realm of“belief”and“disbelief.” For Islamic law
the division of the world into the spheres of‘‘submission to God”and
“war”was in terms of spatial−temporal as well as religious hegemony
of Islam;whereas for the Qur’an the spatial division was simply in
terms of spiritual and moral distinction between the spheres of“belief”
and‘‘disbelief.”
The Qur’an, according to Muslim belief, is not only the record of
the divine revelation received by the Prophet. Existentially, it also
reflects the history of individual and collective Muslim religious
endeavor in creating the sphere of ‘‘belief,” the sphere of ‘‘sound,
integral existence.” @This endeavor of creating the sphere of“belief,”
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
the dar al−i〃zan, is related to infusion of the necessary religious
attitude prior to its concretization in any part of the earth.
There is no concept of eschatological“promised land”or“holy
land”in the Qur’an to suggest‘‘diaspora” the dispersion of its
adherents from it even in the remotest sense of the word. The
entire earth, according to the Qur’an, belongs to God, and it has been
created for humanity to seek its own advancement towards the moral
and spiritual goals in any region of the world as long as no injustices are
committed against fellow humans. The Qur’an in this sense is propos−
ing a universally recognizable ethical order on earth founded upon
moral and spiritual consciousness in which exclusivist historical claim
to any territory has to be subjected to the universal litmus test of faith
in God. Moreover, any exclusivist claim of monopoly over religious
truth has to be rectified by the moral conduct based on justice and
equity. This interdependency between religious claim and personal
morality was supposed to humble human self−righteousness and serve
as the foundation for the principle of religious tolerance and religious
pluralism.2)
The evidence for,my assertion that we cannot speak about
“diaspora”of Islam, and hence of contemporary Muslims, is provided
by the historical status of the city of Mecca and those who inhabited it
before its conversion to Islam. Mecca was regarded as dar al−kufr
(the sphere of“disbelief”)as long as the people of Mecca had not
accepted Islam. The“submission”of the people to the Islamic order
brought about the conversion of Mecca to dar al−iman(the sphere of
“belief”). The religious distinction is thus attached to the spiritua1−
moral condition of the people, and not necessarily to the land where
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
everyone should aspire to return as part of the divine promise. There
are no such prophetic promises in Islam at all that would make Muslims
endeavor to return from the“diaspora”to their“holy land”10cated
somewhere in Arabia. Moreover, and perhaps pertinently, there are no
divine guarantees that once the sphere of“belief”is established it will
not revert to the sphere of“disbelief.” The maintenance of the sphere
of“belief”from turning into a corrupt and tyrannical sphere of“dis−
belief”is human responsibility. Furthermore, there is no covenant
between God and Muslims that certain parts of the earth will be
immune from becoming the“city of wrong”(qaryat 2alima). Ulti・
mately, human response to the divine challenge of becoming morally
and spiritually attentive would decide the“sacredness”or“otherwise”
of any part of the earth.
However, can a human being become spiritually homelessP, morally
homeless?, culturally homeless?Can a human being find himself/her−
self metaphorically in“exile”with a hope of ultimate return to his/her
homeP This brings me to consider the concept of dar al−hij”ra in lslam.
Hijra which literally means“cutting oneself off from friendly or loving
communion,”technically signifies‘‘an emigration from the territory of
the unbelievers to the territory of the believers or to any place of safety
or refuge on account of religious persecution, and so on”.3) In a
distinct sense, it is a journey undertaken to overcome spiritual or moral
“homelessness”to the sphere which holds promise to alleviate this
unfavorable condition. To this early signification of emigration of a
person or persons from a particular place or set of surroundings to seek
protection is added emigration for the sake of seeking economic advan−
tage temporarily or permanently somewhere else.
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ISLAM AND MUSHMS IN DIASPORA
砺ηin both these technical meanings has been a prominent
feature of Muslim experience from the early days of Islam. The
Qur’an orders Muslims to depart from the places where they are
persecuted and seek to settle anywhere in the earth(8;72,74,75). To
live under disbelief is more tolerable than to live under persecution and
tyranny.“Whoso emigrates in the way of God will find in the earth
many refuges and plenty”(4:97). Moreover, it encourages them to
‘‘
[email protected]ty,”(62:10). 珊゜ra, then, is
not an act that leads to permanent state of homelessness;nor is darα1一
妨’ra the sphere of“homelessness.” On the contrary, the illustration
provided by the city of Yathrib, which became permanently the
madinatα1−nabi(the city of the Prophet),that is, Medina, shows that
with the construction of the space that related the believers to their
religious and moral practice, that is, the first mosque in Medina, the
sphere of“emigration”was converted to the sphere of“belief.”
Consequently, the sphere of“emigration,”became the abode of“secu−
rity and sound, integral existence,”as the lexical sense of the term
iman signifies.
In other words, the concept of dar al一妨’ra(the sphere of emigra−
tion)not only suggests that every corner of the earth is open to such
emigration to seek God’s universal bounty;it also considers any part of
the earth unrestrictedly and potentially capable of providing humanity
with all the necessary conditions to direct it towards obedience to God.
However, the Qur’an warns about the challenges that the process of
吻゜ra and the conversion of dar al一吻’ra to a Muslim“home”involve.
It regards the process of乃〃°ra as requiring Perseverance, steadfastness,
and tolerance in the face of the inevitable hardships that any human
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
encounters upon leaving the security of one’s familial and social sur−
roundings.“And those who emigrated, and were expelled from their
habitations, and those who suffered hurt in My way, and struggled, and
were slain, them I shall surely acquit of their evil deeds, and I shall
admit them to gardens underneath which flow rivers”(3:195). In this
sense the act of“emigration”becomes equated with a iihad a
“struggle and striving” undertaken to make God’s purpose of
creating an ethical order on earth successful.
This understanding of the relationship between faith and space in
Islam is central to our comprehension of the situation created by the
increasing numbers of Muslim immigrants seeking to share the capital−
istic prosperity of the West. Whereas the inability of the Muslim to
integrate themselves fully in their new“home”in darα1一勿゜ra seems to
be related more to their cultural roots than their religious orientation,
the inability of the Western societies to integrate these immigrants
appears to be linked to the lack of adequate and candid acknowledg−
ment of the adverse conditions created by the inseparable accompani−
ments of a universal consumerist culture in their social universe.4)A
factual evaluation of the existing fear, hatred, and even hysteria among
the Western population about the Muslim immigrants living among
them will lead to inevitable conclusions about the effects of a material−
istic consumerist culture, which has in large measure generated spiri−
tua1“homelessness”and the breakdown of familial and communal
relationships necessary to sustain healthy human nature among the
peoples in the West. The argument for the universalization of the
Western political and economic experience through liberal democracy
can become persuasive only when the West could conceretly demon一
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
strate within the context of its secular liberalism ways in which it could
satisfy the search for absolutes and for community within the soul of
individuals. In the contemporary world, in view of the collapse of
communism, Islam, despite its inherent exclusivism as a religious ideol−
ogy, has offered the only political alternative to both liberalism and
communism.5)
Having said this I would like to remind you that both the Western
scholarship and media describe and interpret Islam and the Muslims in
the West as“alien”against the idealized, ahistorical Judeo−Christian
mirror. The Muslims are“others,”because of their relationship to
their religious beliefs which continue to dominate their interactive
relationship in the family and in the host society. What is overlooked
in this distorted image of the“other”is the common ethical presupposi−
tions generated by shared monotheism on which the Judeo−Christian
and Islamic attitudes towards life and its purpose are constructed.
Overall, this method of looking at Muslims as“others”has resulted in
erroneous conclusions about their strongly community and family−
oriented belief system and their particularistic cultural−ethnic identity
in the new“sphere of emigration.”
There is no doubt that under the impact of secular humanism and
liberal democracy in the West a culture war has been waging all over
to determine the direction of the future generation.6)The culture war
is taking place on a variety of issues relating to abortion, a marriage
that ends in divorce, a youth who has become homeless because of drug
addiction, a local school teaches values people deeply disagree with, and
so on. In other words, the culture war is being waged over the moral
and religious content of public education and its impact upon the
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
character of the nation, as it would be inherited by posterity. In some
ways this process has been the experience of the German kulturkampf
of the last decades of the nineteenth century, when efforts were made
to unify disparate Prussian empires into a unified nation−state.
It is indeed a common feature of human life to reflect upon the
cultural and religious similarities and dissimilarities between them−
selves and others and to nurture oppositional attitudes to some features
of historical cultural configuration and to adhere to others which afford
absolute responses to the problems of relative existence, Antagonism
towards certain views of life and ambiguity concerning numerous
unresolved conflicts and inner stresses that have become a common
destiny of modern humanity, is shared by many peoples, including
Muslims, in their interactive relationship with the society in the West.
When these unresolved conflicts and stresses are voiced in the context
of the nation−state they function aS an important medium of inter−
cultural communication about real lives of individuals as they unfold in
real communities all across the world.
In the Fall of 1991 the annual convention of the Islamic Society of
North America(ISNA)・was held in Dayton, Ohio. More than 6,000
Muslims from across North America attended to listen to and partici−
pate on the theme of:“Developing an Islamic Environment in North
America.” The President of ISNA, Dr. Imtiyz Ahmad, in his opening
address, remarked that the theme of the convention would be rendered
an empty slogan if Muslims did not involve themselves in solving the
problems that plague North American Society, in genera1, and the
Muslims who live in it, in particular. He reminded his audience the
religious obligation that demanded from each Muslim to reflect on the
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
condition of the place where he/she chose to make his/her home and to
decide what role he or she would play to help create a healthy, peaceful
environment here.
The theme and the organization of the convention reflected the
three primary domains through which the Muslims interact in a social−
cultural environment in the West. These three domains pertain to
inherited normative Islamic tradition, specific ethno−cultural identity,
and the larger Western secular society.7)These three domains are the
primary sources for developing interactive direction for the evolution
of a new integrated identity of American−, Canadian−, or European−
Muslim. The interactive strategy accentuates the commonalties and
contradictions in the Muslim and host cultures. Moreover, the cultural
discourse becomes the source for furthering the ways that are neces−
sary to relate to each other as individuals, as members of a family and
acommunity, and as citizens living in dar al−sulh(the sphere of peace).
Dar al−sulh as a spatial−religious conception conveys the essence
of Muslim cognition of their emigration in the West. As a minority, in
spite of some difficulties in making cultural adjustments in a society
where their Islamic values are in conflict with the secular liberal ones,
they are relatively able to continue to live in peace and to practice their
religion freely. I have been often asked, both by my American col−
leagues and students, if I am able to follow practically all the require−
ments of Islam And, I have always responded with an emphatic
affirmation that having lived in the various parts of the world, person−
ally I find that I am able to follow my faith in America even more freely
than in other parts of the world。 It does not mean that I do not
encounter any difficulties and conflicts in making some decisions
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
regarding my children’s moral and social life. But in that respect I am
part of all those American parents who are struggling to define their
spiritual and moral goals in education and society and I share with them
all my common human concerns for creating a sound, integral exis−
tence.
The first area of the interactive relationship with the cultural−
social environment in the“sphere of emigration”is the one in which the
inherited form of the Islamic tradition plays a dominant role in defining
the parameters of the necessary social and political adjustments in the
West. Depending upon the different schools of law and theology which
they follow, Muslim immigrants have demonstrated the ability of
Islamic tradition to allow required flexibility within the context of
modern Iiving. Moreover,1evel of education and exposure to Western
secularism, lay humanism, nationalism, and other such ideologies have
caused a significant variation in the ways in which Muslims in the West
interact with their religious heritage.
For the majority of Muslims who have immigrated in the last
decade or so, Islam is essentially an all−embracing ethical and social
code:away of life embodied in the Sacred Law of Islam, the Shari‘a.
For others who have been in the West much longer Islam is a form of
culture that does not depend on anything specifically Islamic except a
spiritual path in a particular Sufi Tariqa, and a kind of humanistic
ethics which is a personalized religious experience. Still others, in the
wake of the political upheavals in the Islamic world, regard Islam as an
ideology and political force capable of serving as an alternative to the
godless secularization of the West.
What emerges from my own personal observation of the Muslim
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
community, whether in North America or Europe, is that there is no
monolithic Islam to which different groups and even different individ−
uals within a given community adhere to suggest a unified Islam among
the Western Muslims. In interacting with Islam as a belief system
Muslims in the West tend to freely exercise their preference of the
religious orientation they seek from their Islamic heritage. In addi−
tion, in the absence of a unified religious leadership which can actually
bring about religious uniformity in the community at large, Islamic
allegiance has become a matter of cultural identity first and then a
religiOUS COmmitment.
Nevertheless, there is much influence exercised by the representa−
tives of these various trends in Islamic identities who are imported
from the centers of traditional Islamic learning in the Middle East or
South Asia. In many cases Muslim encounters in the West are deter・
mined by these preachers and teachers of Islamic knowledge, who, in
the last decade, due to their prolonged sojourn in the West, seem to be
better informed about Western society and socia1−political thought.
Still, there is much dissatisfaction among the younger generation of
Muslims, both male and female, in their interaction with the Islam of
the preachers coming from“outside.”
In response to the critical situation stemming from religious
disinterest among this Iatter group, in the last year or two, centers for
training the new generation of Muslim preachers and teachers who can
interact with the youth in the secular context effectively have been
established both in Europe and America. Religious and cultural plural−
ism of the West has been one of the major driving forces that has
prompted some Muslim leaders to emphasize the Qur’anic teachings
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about the divine purpose in allowing diversity of spiritual and moral
responses in the world religions. I must point out that the very fact
that Muslims have had to come to terms with the realities of modern
life has ushered a creative era in their interaction with their Islamic
heritage. It has made possible for them, courageously and honestly, to
make a necessary distinction between the original teachings of Islam
and the diverse cultural norms, both Arab and non−Arab, that had
attained through a long process of assimilation the status of a nor−
mative tradition, and to adhere to the former, and call for reexamina−
tion of the latter.
The second area of the interactive relationship with the cultural−
social environment in the“sphere of emigration”is the specific ethno−
cultural identity. The major issue in this interaction is related to the
preservation of certain traits in one’s identity while adopting others as
anecessary consequence of cultural symbiosis. However, the cultural
as well as linguistic diversity of the immigrant Muslim community has
not permitted a unified interactive direction to satisfy specific ethno−
cultural predilections among different nationalities in the matter of
fostering a new integrated identity of the Western Muslim. The
problem is even greater when for many being a Muslim is a cultural
identity, which overlooks or even ignores the universal aspect of the
faith, relegating it to an ethnic identity. Thus, the problematic of
interaction with the host socio−cultural environment, however selec−
tively, becomes incoherent, causing many a Muslim to impose an
aloofness in the name of Islamic identity, whereas the actual source of
impediment is the ethno−cultural distinctiveness and not the trans−
cultural Islam.
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
Consequently, it is not surprising that many times when Muslim
parents complain that“ninety−nine percent of the Muslim youth in
North America[, for instance,]are losing their Islamic identities,”8)
what they really have in mind is the specific ethno−cultural identity
which has Islam as one of its basic components. In her reaction to the
situation of Muslim youth losing their Islamic identities Aminah Jun−
dali, a first generation American Muslim mother of four children, says:
“Ifind this very common that parents don’t remember Islam until their
children are teenagers, and suddenly they want to cure the ills their
children have been acquiring all these years. Well, obviously Islam is
from the birth of the child, and if you haven’t been educating your child
on what Islam is all these years, it’s going to be difficult.”9)
This question regarding religious identity as raised by Muslim
parents is an important issue running across North America and
Europe among the religiously oriented peoples (call them“fun−
damentalists,”if you like)of all traditions who are engaged in identify−
ing the proper moral and spiritual direction for their future generation
in the secular culture. But, for Muslim families, who interact with the
outside world within their particular ethno−cultural matrices, the ques−
tion is critical in developing strategies to assist them in their adaptation
in the new environment.
An important sociological characteristic of different ethnic groups
in the immigrant community in general is highly integrated en−
dogamous, kinship−based units. This characteristic is one of the major
factors in preserving the ethnic identity of the immigrant community.
Yet, the preservation of this ethno−cultural peculiarity shared by
Muslims with other immigrant communities has raised questions about
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the extent and feasibility of assimilative interaction with the host
environment and its implications for the ethno−cultural future of the
group。 In fact, my observation in the cultural dynamics of the Muslim
community in North America indicates that the assimilative interaction
even within the diverse cultural and linguistic groupings in the Muslim
community until recently had not advanced beyond the realm of com−
mon theology. The difficulty of cross−cultural communication can be
discerned even now within the cultural and linguistic groups of the
Muslim community.
However, within certain groups of Muslim immigrants, more
particularly among the South Asian and Arab Muslims, one can detect
two common sensible strategies adopted to nurture the ethno℃ultural
peculiarity:first is to create analogous social units in the new environ−
ment;and second is to rely extensively on the homeland for social and
cultural reinforcements through regular visits and importation of
required paraphernalia for maintaining such ethnicity. Islamic centers
in the West have been used by different groups to further this ethno−
cultural interaction. In addition to the traditional function of the
mosques as places of religious services and education, Islamic centers
have assumed a much wider role as community centers in the dissemi−
nation of cultural paraphernalia.
Nevertheless, overemphasis on ethno−cultural identity among
Muslims runs in the teeth of Islarnic universalism. However strong,
ethno−cultural peculiarity, from the point of view of transnational and
transcultural Islamic ideology, suffers from inherent disability. Can
one emphasize one’s cultural identity over an Islamic one? Am I a
Muslim−Indian or an Indian−Muslim?And now, am I an Indian一
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
Canadian−Muslim or simply a Canadian−Muslim or Muslim−Canandian?
This question of identity in the“sphere of emigration,”on the one hand,
touches upon the quality of intra−community interaction through the
requirements of universal Islamic heritage and the Muslim ethno−cul−
tural identities;and on the other, they deal with the central issue of
inter−community interactive relationships of individual Muslims and
their families within the Western social universe.
“Can Muslims avoid assimilation?”was the theme of the 1991
annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. The topic
has assumed urgency in the wake of the realization that more than the
youths it is the parents who are in need of internal adjustments to foster
better relationship with their children. Communicating with the sec−
ond generation of Muslims in the West has required parents to develop
special skills in dealing with the social and moral problems faced by
young Muslim men and women. Muslim youth who have grown up in
the secular society with an educational curriculum geared towards
nurturing secular humanism and liberal democracy, and popular culture
based on TVs, videos, and so on, are on the verge of loosing their
Islamic, ethnic personality that held the family together all this time.
Dictatorial traditional methods of bringing up children that had worked
adequately in the homeland are met with much resistance and resent−
ment by the Muslim youth in the West.
In this domain of ethno−cultural interactive relationships leading to
partial or complete assimilation of the Muslims in the Western environ−
ment, Muslim women are under enormous pressure. The firmly rooted
Islamic belief among those who promote kinship−based social units
dictate that Muslim women, in their role as the nurturers of the familial
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relations, should undertake the responsibility of molding the future of
Islam in the West. Advising the Muslim women who participated in
the annual convention of ISNA, Aminah Jundali gives expression to
this belief. She says:“lf Muslim youth don’t survive, it’s all over for
the Muslim community in North America. So Muslim women should
be serious about their responsibility to raise and nurture the future of
Islam. I would like to say to the second generation[Muslim women],
beware of following the American way... especially the women... of
putting one’s profession, one’s career above that a11−important goal of
being a mother, the goal which God gave and blessed, and gave the
honor to women, which unfortunately in this society is given the lowest
priority.”10)
The nature of issues contested in the domain of familial interactive
relationship, especially over the status and role of women, are central
to the contemporary culture war in the West and are perhaps fateful for
other battles being waged to preserve the relative strength of the
institution of family under the concrete social and economic circum−
stances. In the context of the Muslim family what appears to be at
stake is a male−dominated nuclear family that both sentimentalized
childhood and motherhood and, at the same time, celebrated domestic
life as a utopian retreat from the harsh realities of materialistic con−
sumerist society. Conservative Catholics, Mormons, and Evangelical
Protestants generally share this Muslim view of family not just because
it was believed to be established in nature and ordained by God, but
because it is believed to foster social harmony.11)
Sharifa a1−Khateeb, president of the Muslim Education Counci1,
based in Herndon, Virginia, believes that if fathers and mothers do not
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
actively work to develop their children Islamically, they will find, as
others in the West have, that their children will not turn out as they
would have liked. Moreover, sometimes Muslim youth grow up with
weak Islamic identities because parents uncosciously emphasize weak−
ness, developing a philosophy of‘‘Just fit in. Don’t rock the boat.”
Those children, according to al−Khateeb,“grow up with absolutely no
cultural consciousness, no Islamic consciousness. They are not proud
of themselves. They lack a self−identity, and they very often become
very confused adults.”12)
The solution to this growing problem of alienation among the
youths has been found in community development. Community sup・
port in fulfilling one’s moral and spiritual obligations has been an
important part of Islamic social identity. Muslims living in the larger
cities are aware that the secular non−lslamic society’s way of life poses
athreat to Islamic social and familial values because it practically
drags individual Muslims away from their religion. Consequently,
according to Al−Amin Abdul Latif, Imam of Masjid al−Mu’minin in
New York, who is trying to create such a physical community in Long
Island, New York, a consensus has emerged in certain quarters of
Islamic leadership that the only way to start saving Muslims in the
Western environment is to establish physical Muslim communities, as
the early Muslims did in Arabia. Abdul Latif gives further justifica−
tion for building a physical community when he says:“Once we begin
to live together, like we are supposed to, as Muslims in this environ−
ment, we will have an impact on this(i.e., American)society. Y∂za
will have an impact on this society. Your numbers, your presence,
your culture. Your children, you will not lose your children. Islam
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
will no longer be abstract to them. It will be real. It will become
relevant now_because they will see the Islamic society within this
society.”Citing the examples of thriving non−Muslim ltalian, Chinese
and German communities in New York, Abdul Latif believes it to be a
solution to many problems encountered by Muslims in the“sphere of
emigration.” @However, there are others in the community who think
that forming physical Muslim communities separate from others would
hamper their recognition as full citizens in host countries.
This brings us to consider the third area of interactive relationship
developed by the Muslims in the West to identify themselves as
members of the society among whom they have created the“sphere of
peace”as a minority. It is also this domain of Muslim interaction with
the Western society that has been criticized by some social analysts as
“isolationist”or“exclusivist,”and so on. Undoubtedly, there is a
fundamental difference in the way Muslims have conceptualized their
orientation and authoritative perspective of the world and the way the
Western secular ideology has defined its world view. This difference
has, in large measure, to do with the way tradition and morality are
perceived by a Muslim and a Westerner. Muslims generally seem to
cherish ancestral tradition in community life and maintain that Islamic
cultural tradition provides one with a sense of continuity with the
authoritative custom. As a consequence of secular pluralistic culture
in the West such an attachment to one’s tradition is almost absent. In
the realm of morality and moral values Muslims believe in the abso−
lutes which are believed to have been prescribed by the timeless divine
revelation and the normative tradition. With the emphasis on secular
humanism as the main source of moral values in the West, morality has
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
been relativized. In order to protect individual freedom of conscience
no particular value system is accorded the status of the absolute and
hence binding on all. Religiously fostered values are generally privat・
ized, with the result that there is a discernible decline in individual and
SOCial mOrality.
This difference in the understanding of the centrality of tradition
and morality in the society also points to the existing contradictions in
developing effective interactive strategies that would make social
integration by the immigrant Muslims in the areas of commonalties
more successful. The situation of integration is far more complex
than what I have been able to show in the context of this paper.
Nevertheless, it reflects the dilemma of Muslim families, who, on the
one hand, are desirous of full social integration in the Western society;
and, on the other, they are afraid of what they consider to be the West’s
inferior moral standards, especially the sexual laxity, criminality, and
drug abuse among juveniles. Western liberalism that had been found
to be almost infatuating by the first generation of Muslim immigrants
has lost its prestige as a source of hope and conviction to foster a new
identity of a“Westernized Muslim.”The second generation that grew
up in the West and is more integrated both culturally and through
education than the previous generation is painfully aware of the serious
moral problems facing their age group in the high schools and the
colleges.
In view of this pessimism regarding Western liberalism, all under−
takings of the community administrators and religious leaders are
directed in defining their moral−spiritual space and the entailments of
this definition in guiding the corporate life of the community in the
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
“sphere of emigration.” Of course, much effort would be required to
provide practical solutions to the growing problem of communication
between the almost fully integrated, college attending second genera−
tion and the conservative, half assimilated first generation of the
Muslim immigrants. The problem of communication, as discussed
earlier, is actually related to the first domain of interactive relationship
between the immigrants and their Islamic heritage as preserved in the
normative tradition. Hence, community leaders have lately acknow1−
edged that by merely establishing social−religious institutions like the
Islamic centers without qualified religious leadership to guide the
Muslim communities intellectually in the new social environment would
be difficult if not impossible to provide the urgently needed moral−
spiritual support for the survival of a Western Muslim identity.
Through their various educational and religious services the centers,
however, continue to generate a resourceful fount to draw from in the
situation of insecurity experienced by almost all the Muslim immi−
grants from different ethno−cultural backgrounds in the West.
So far the paper has dealt with Islam and Muslims in the West in
general without any reference to the status of the Muslim community
as a minority. Of course, that was implied when I introduced the
concept of dar al−sulh the sphere of peace, where Muslims live as
aminority but with freedom of religion and in peace with fellow
citizens. We should consider one more spatia1−temporal concept
which is peculiar to a Muslim minority within the larger Muslim
,ノ
community. Here I speak abou壬the experience of the Shi‘ites as a
minority within a minority that continues to formulate their religious
identity in the West through their distinctive interactive relationship to
129
ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
atheological−legal concept of dar al−ta(7iyya, the sphere of‘‘prudential
COnCealment.”
As discussed earlier, Islamic religious law defined space in terms of
Islamic political hegemony. Accordingly, the world was divided into
two spheres:those of“submission to God,”that is, Islam, and“war.”
The Shi‘ites, while accepting this general division of space under the
Sunni ruler, in the absence of the political rule of their Imam, who
alone, according to their doctrine, could and would create the sphere of
‘‘
b?撃奄??h (dar al−i〃zan), have defined their space as the sphere of
“prudential concealment.”
The sphere of‘‘prudential concealment,”then, is the place where
the Shi‘ites as a minority continue to exist and to await for the final
restoration of the just public order. Furthermore, this willingness to
exist in the midst of perceived imperfections and even unbearable social−
moral conditions has allowed the Shi‘ite minority living under different
conditions to adjust. Functionally, then, the sphere of‘‘prudential
concealment”is close to the sphere of“emigration”(dar al一勿’ra)
which allows Muslim to migrate to other places when they find situa−
tions in their homeland oppressive. This understanding of space in
relation to a theological concept allows one to explore the process of
adjustment for a“minority within a minority,”that is, the Shi‘ites, in
their newly adopted places of residence in the West.
What I propose to do in the rest of my presentation is to deal with
the question of a Muslim minority within a minority in the Western
context and underscore the importance of such an investigation in the
study of Muslim communities in the West.
The Shi‘ite minority with which this paper will be concerned
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
constitutes the major group of the Shi‘ite sub−division who believe in
the line of the Twelve Imams after the death of the Prophet(A.D.632).
They are known as the lmamdyya or Ithna‘Ashar勿a, or simply the
S雇物s.Other Shi‘ite sub−divisions, such as the Isma‘iliyya, both the
Nizari(followers of the Aga Khan)13)and the Must‘ali(Bohra)
branches, and the Zaydiyya are not part of this study. Moreover, I
shall limit my discussion of this group in the context of North America
because so far my investigation has been carried out only in the U.S.
and Canada. Nevertheless, having established contacts through per−
sonal visits among the Shi‘ites in England and France, my observations
about the problems faced by the community in making necessary social
and cultural adjustments in North America more or less holds true in
the context of Eur6pe.
It is uncertain exactly when the early Shi‘ite immigrants began to
settle in North America. Immigration records are not of help in this
matter, because no sectarian affiliations are registered there;nor do we
have any sources compiled or maintained by the Shi‘ite families in
North America to give us a definite word on the background of the
community. Their history on this continent still needs to be written.
The speculation is that some Shi‘ite families from India and
Lebanon settled in Canada well before the middle of this century, a
reasonable guess considering the numbers of Muslims who emigrated in
the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The appearance of the well−
educated middle class professionals in considerable numbers on the
American scene is a comparatively recent phenomenon.14)The exis−
tence of the distinctly Shi‘ite Muslim community was known through
their distinctive religious participation in the annual commemoration of
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
the martyfdom of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, the third
Iman of the Shi‘ites, Husayn b.‘Ali.15)Some of these annual gather−
ings of the Shi‘ites, according to the oral history transmitted by some
families from Hyderabad, India are dated to this period.16)It is certain
that if individual Shi‘ites existed anywhere they would have made every
effort to come together for these annual devotional meetings.
It is important to qualify this statement on the basis of the research
done by Abdolmaboud Ansari about Iranian Shi‘ite immigrants in the
United States who had by and large paid Iittle attention to preserve
their religious indentity prior to the victory of the Islamic revolution in
1978−79.Following the revolution, according to Ansari, only the reli−
giously oriented Iranians have asserted theif religious identity.
Accordingly, the sense of religious cohesiveness among a segment of
Iranian immigrants is a recent phenomenon.17)At approximately the
same time or a little earlier the nationwide Persian Speaking Group of
Muslim Students Association,(MSA/PSG, made up of Shi‘ites, of
course)separated from the larger group in which the Wahhabis and pro−
Wahhabi elements of the Sunni community supported by the Arab
governments in the Middle East dominated the organization. Besides
the Iranians, one should also mention the Shi‘ite Arab students from
Iraq, Lebanon and the Persian Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia.
Their organizations like the MSA/PSG are centered within the univer−
sity student administration and they mainly cater to the religious
interests of the Shi‘ite students and their immediate families with only
peripheral concern for migrant Shi‘ite families. Among these Shi‘ite
students, especially among the PSG, a number of them are married to
American woman, and, after the Islamic revolution in Iran have for
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some persopal as well as political reasons chosen to make the U.S. their
permanent home. Whereas some of these American Muslim women
have conformed to the revived norms of Islamic social ethic in Iran, a
large number, it seems, have found it difficult to follow the strict code
introduced under the“lslamization”program regarding the role of a
Muslim woman in a modern society. Moreover, the deterioration of
the economic situation in the aftermath of the Iran−Iraq war has
discouraged a number of highly qualified and conscientious Iranian
students to return to Iran.
In any case it is certain that by the 1950s there were small clusters
of Shi‘ite families in some major cities of Canada and the United States.
The main venue of their ethno−cultural expression was their religious
gatherings during the month of Muharram. It is probably correct to
say that those Shi‘ites who did not participate in these annual rituals
were not known to the leaders of the community who organized their
members around these annual commemorations. If one takes into
account newly arriving Iranians and, in small numbers, Iraqi and
Lebanese Shi‘ites, it is reasonable to estimate that Shi‘ites make up at
least 30 percent of the total Muslim population in North America.
Since the 19th century the Shi‘ite community around the world has
acknowledged the centralized leadership of its religious scholar/jurists,
the Ayatullah, who have been centered mainly in the Shi‘ite holy cities
of Iraq and Iran. Recognition of a centralized leadership(whether
that be of the Imam or his deputy)among the Shi‘ites has a long
tradition and a doctrinal foundation in their belief system according to
which the Imams from among the descendants of the Prophet are
regarded as the sole leaders of the Muslim community. In the absence
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of the last of these, the twelfth Imam al−Mahdi, who went into conceal−
ment in the 10th century is to return as the final restorer of the Islamic
faith in the Last Days. The Shi‘ites have regarded their religious
scholars as the deputies and spokesmen of the Hidden Imam on whose
behalf they direct the spiritual as well as social activities of their
followers.18)
This institution of religious leadership developed into a powerfu1,
highly centralized authority of the辮α加‘al−taqlid among the Shi‘ites.
The初α加‘α1一吻1ゴ4 which means“the most learned juridical authority
in the Shi‘ite community whose rulings on the Shari‘a are followed by
those who acknowledge him as such and commit themselves to base
their religious practice in accordance with his judicial opinions”has
provided a sense of unity as much as direction in all matters pertaining
to living a religio−moral life for the Shi‘ites since the concealment of
the twelfth Imam. Moreover, the institution of religious leadership has
remained independent of any political control by the governments.
The reason is that it has been able to preserve its independence by
depending solely on donations derived from the religious taxes paid by
the Shi‘ites for the maintenance of the religious institutions administer−
ed by the Ayatullah. Besides the zakat(alms−levy)that all the
Muslims, including the Shi‘ites, pay voluntarily as part of their social
obligation to the underprivileged in the community, the Shi‘ites contrib−
ute 20 percent(one−fifth)of their gross savings as the Khzams. The
Ayatullah authorizes the manner in which these religiously ordained
contributions are to be allocated to various religious projects in the
Shi‘ite community. One of the major projects funded by these dona−
tions is the construction of the Islamic centers and the salary of the
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religious preachers and teachers who are not usually supported by any
other community generated revenues, such as annual dues, and so on.
Accordingly, pious donations in the Shi‘ite community have been an
important source of religious independence from outside interference
for the Shi‘ite centers in North America and Europe. Moreover, the
preachers supported by this fund have found themselves in a better
position to serve the community freely in their capacity as religious
guides and teachers.
Most importantly, the independent nature of the highest religious
authority(especially independence from any political control in a
modern nation state)acknowledged by the Shi‘ites of their own accord
and the self−generated and self−managed financial structure of the
Shi‘ite religious organization has made it possible for the Shi‘ite com−
munity in North America to organize its affairs substantially and
independent of any control from the Muslim governments in the Middle
East or elsewhere. Accordingly, the problems of direction faced by
some of the Sunni Islamic centers funded by Saudi Arabia or Libya,
whether religious or political, do not exist for the Shi‘ite community at
all. Much of this independence in developing responsive interactive
strategies among the membership in the community and with the host
environment is a direct result of the pioneer immigrants’vision and
their attachment to their religious heritage. In recognition of their
leadership the supreme Shi‘ite religious authority also appoints them as
its representatives in the community to manage their religious and
other social affairs.
However, as among other immigrant groups in general, the Shi‘ite
minority faces the problems of creating a unified community out of
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diverse ethno−cultural interests and goals. Additionally it has to
define the matrices of ethno−cultural particularistic relationship to the
universalistic Islamic identity. It is this latter identity that effects the
necessary pluralism in interactive relationships among individuals and
national groups. As yet it has not been possible for the various Shi‘ite
groups from around the world to come together as a unified Shi‘ite
Muslim community. Although efforts to create some sort of national
and international federation of these communities in North America
and Europe have succeeded, the unity of minds has remained marginal
because that which actually unites each group seems to be the common
language and common national ties, rather than religious affiliation as
such. In the recent years, some South Asian Shi‘ite communities from
East Africa, Pakistan and India, who share the common ethno−cultural
heritage, have formed regional and world wide organizations to benefit
from its common pool of religious as well as financial resources.
Evidently, ethno−cultural differences have made it difficult for the
leadership committed to the new vision of a North American Islamic
community and new integrated identification of its individual members
in North America to create a degree of social cohesion. More and
more, the domain of ethno−cultural identities has encroached upon the
universal ideology of Islam, making the complex interactional relation−
ship in the Western socio−cultural environment difficult. It is, I
believe, the cultural rather than monotheistic religious heritage that
tends to augment problems of adjustment within and create a sense of
opposition to the social universe of North America. Consequently,
“regionalism”and“exclusivism”among the Muslim immigrants in
general can be attributed to the religious emphasis on the community
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building that gives an uncommon character to the interface of ethnicity
and religion. Moreover, this interface gives rise to tensions in the
interrelationship between the domains of inherited religious and ethno−
cultural heritage.
Ironically, one of the main obstacles in creating a kind of primary
allegiance to Islam has been the religious leadership provided by the
imported preachers who use their local languages in teaching Islam to
the believers. While the community leaders have adopted languages of
the region in their administration of the community affairs, the use of
other languages by the Muslim preachers has given rise to dual leader−
ship in the communities with clear conflicts of interest. The conflict of
interest in the two types of leadership can be seen in their attitude to
the question of social integration in the West. The community leaders
who have either lived for a lengthy period of time in this country or
were brought up in the North American environment have a thorough
grasp of the problems of adjustment for the Muslim immigrants in the
new environment. Hence, their solutions are pragmatically formulat−
ed. On the other hand, religious leadership imported from mother
countries have a thorough grounding in the tradition but often very
little understanding of the problems of adlustments encountered by the
believers in their day−to−day surviva1. Moreover, the narrow minded−
ness and indiscriminate negative attitude towards the Western society
has made the religious Ieadership even handed authoritative in their
religious idealism. The situation has created immense difficulties for
the community in keeping their younger generation interested in the
Islamic faith. Solutions worked out by the community leaders so far
have produced temporary results。 Long term resolution would require
137
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
training of religious leadership that would combine the traditional and
modern Western education necessary to provide practical religious
guidance to the second generation Muslims who are more and more
finding themselves in a traditionally imposed“homelessness”in the
West.
In the domain of political interaction with the society at large,
events in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon since the late 1970s have played a
particularly important role in developing Particular interactional
encounters between the Shi‘ites and the North American society. In
the first place, the events in Iran have served to awaken religious
sentiment and pride in the Shi‘ite community in general. Moreover, in
some Sunni communities where the Iranian revolution is interpreted in
non−sectarian terms it is viewed as an Islamic response to the Western−
American cultural imperialism.19)In some concrete sense the Islamic
revolution of Iran has been of immeasurable and unprecedented influ・
ence in the Shi‘ite community in North America because it has been
used by the leadership in neutralizing the psychologically damaging
effects of the“cultural colonization”20)of the Muslim peoples. A
number of young men and women in Shi‘ite organizations have adopted
Islamic codes of behavior and have forced the Sunni leaders to view
them as authentic Muslims who follow the Ayatullah’s teachings. For
these young men and women Ayatullah Khumayni was a truly Muslim
leader in comparison with the other Muslim leaders around the world.
In the Iast decade events in Iran have given Muslims a renewed confi−
dence in preserving their identity in a secular cultural setting. In
addition, dissatisfaction with the Sunni Arab interpretation of Islam,
which tends to legitimize and afford support to the Arab Muslim
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
governments, and attraction towards the activist leadership of the
Ayatullah Khumayni has given Shi‘ism not only a visibility but also a
sort of alternative to a number of Afro−American Muslims in North
America who have changed their affiliation from Sunnism to Shi‘ism in
the last twelve years. It is difficult to give any definite figures on Afro−
American Shi‘ites, but the growing number of Afro−American Shi‘ite
centers indicates that their number is steadily increasing.
It is important to note, however briefly, that the Shi‘ite commu−
nities have created some important institutions for the well being of
their members. Besides the Islamic Centers built in the major cities of
the U.S. and Canada, including New York, Washington, Los Angeles,
Chicago, Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, the Shi‘ites have concen−
trated on creating highly efficient educational institutes of ‘‘Sunday
Religious School System”in these cities. This school system is rightly
regarded as the second most important institute to ensure the continua−
tion of the Islamic moral−religious education, the first being the weekly
and annual gatherings to commemorate Imam Husayn b.‘Ali’s martyr−
dom. The latter gatherings have provided the best platform for the
spread of religious education to the adults. However, a traditional
outlook and conservative spirit have dominated these gatherings. The
role of Muslim women in the West or the concerns of the Shi‘ite youths,
who have grown up in the American environment, receives minimal
attention. Shi‘ite women are pressing for reform of some of the
traditional institutions that are discriminational to women and which,
as the argument goes, are the product of Muslim culture rather than the
essential teachings of Islam. The guidance of the supreme religious
authority in these reform measures has been sought from time to time,
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
and surprisingly, the religious leaders in Iraq and Iran, being fully
informed about the essential teachings of the Qur’an and the spirit of
Islamic religious−moral law, the Shari‘a, have been found to be far
progressive than their Shi‘ite followers in the West on many issues.
Thus, for instance, some Shi‘ites were opposed to the idea of introduc−
ing closed circuit televisions to allow women, who usually sit separate−
ly, behind a partition in these gatherings, to watch the male speaker
during the religious Iectures. However, the religious authority issued
aruling granting the permission to introduce such technological devices
as a religiously commendable act because it furthered the religious wel1−
being of the women.
The reform to accommodate the religious needs of the second
generation Shi‘ites depends upon the local English−speaking preachers
for whose training a seminary type of institution has been recently
established in Medina, New York. The seminary has two components:
The Jami‘a Wali al−‘Asr for male students;and the Madrasa al−Khadija
al−kubra, for the female students. The first batch of Shi‘ite youth,
nine males and three females, has begun its four year training after the
completion of a high school diploma under some prominent teachers of
Islamic sciences in this seminary. These teachers have been trained in
the Shi‘ite centers of Islamic learning in Qumm, Iran, and Najaf, Iraq,
by prominent scholars. As such, they impart thorough training to
these students in the traditional sources, which include Arabic and
Islamic theological−juridical studies as taught in the Shi‘ite Islamic
seminaries in Iran and Iraq. Perhaps, the most remarkable feature of
this seminary in Medina is the inclusion of female students who receive
the training that was traditionally reserved for males. After the
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
completion of their studies in this seminary these graduates will be
qualified to become the imams and teachers in the community school
system. Some of them would continue their education by going for
further studies in Iran or Iraq or become graduate students in the
secular universities to return as the teachers of the seminary and
preachers in the community. The program is bound to have positive
implications for the future integration of Muslim youths because the
students at this seminary are recruited among the second generation
Muslims in the West, who, in all probability will emerge as the ful1−
fledged American Shi‘ite leaders of the community in the West.
The Shi‘ite adjustment in Western society underscores the signifi−
cance of an interactive relationship between socio−cultural background
and Islamic tradition to generate both organizational strength and the
identification of the Shi‘ite community with its new social universe.
Two reasons can be cited for the relatively successful social integration
without completely succumbing to secularism:independence of all the
Shi‘ite communities from any control of foreign Muslim governments
or their agencies in North America;and a strong tradition of dynamic
Shi‘ite religious practices that nurture shared social identity and pro・
vide the necessary moral support in times of psychologically stressful
periods of se毛tling in the new environment. These extra religious
practices have functioned as successfu1, regular media for bringing
together members of the community to engage in a religious discourse.
They have, additionally, provided an intellectual platform for the ever
growing number of professionals and highly educated second genera−
tlon to come together to form a pressure group for introducing changes
that are imperative for pnaking North America part of the sphere of a
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
‘‘
[email protected].”
In conclusion it can be pointed out that perhaps it is the will of a
minority to achieve it to its goal that has enabled Muslims and Islam to
survive and even flourish in the secular West, where the word“Muslim”
and“Shi‘ite”is too often used as an adjective to describe Middle
Eastern terrorists. Many Westerners view Islam, one of fastest grow−
ing religions of the world in this age of technicalization and mass
education, as something alien, mysterious, and threatening to the Judeo−
Christian heritage of the West. This is in spite of the fact that Islam
shares common roots with Christianity and Judaism and has interacted
with the West not only militarily but also intellectually and culturally
for hundreds of years. Undoubtedly, that which often puts Muslims in
conflict with the dominant Western culture is a set of values derived
from their religious faith that, for instance, puts emphasis on public
modesty which prompts many Muslims to cover themselves up, and
strictly prohibits premarital and extramarital sex.
As I have shown in this paper, for immigrant Muslims the greatest
challenge remains in developing adequate interactional strategies that
would strike a balance between full integration in the society of their
adopted land and their Islamic and ethno−cultural values that seems
often at odds with modern Western society. My own estimation is that
efforts are directed towards selective assimilation by absorbing useful
elements of the dominant culture, accompanied by critical evaluation of
the inherited ethno−cultural norms and their adequacy and applicability
in the social universe. Moreover, as the historical spread of Islam in
different parts of the world and its dynamically interactive relationship
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with the diverse local cultures has demonstrated, I believe Islam in the
West also is bound to foster a characteristically Western Islamic
identity for its adherents. There are all indications to suggest that in
the war of cultures the confrontation is not entirely one−sided. Like
other concerned citizens of the secular societies who are engaged in
defining the moral and spiritual boundaries for the future of their
children in the age of moral decadence, Muslims are also getting
involved in local governments, school boards, parent−teacher associa−
tions, and their influence is beginning to be felt. An illustration of this
integration and influence is provided by Lila Amen, a Muslim mother in
Dearborn, Michigan. She wears a fu11−length modest dress and head
covering and was concerned to discover open shower stalls in the gir1’s
Iocker room at the public elementary school her 11−year old daughter
attends. She went to the principal and explained that it violated
Muslim standards of modesty. Shower curtains were quickly
installed.21)
The process of cultural contact between the Muslims and their new
sphere of‘‘belief”and‘‘peace” darα1−iman wa al−sulh is irrevers−
ible. To borrow Bassam Tibi’s conceptualization of“acculturation,”22)
which looks a七the inter−cultural process of communication as an
inevitable outcome of the technicalization of the contemporary World
Society, neither Islam nor the Muslims anywhere in the world can
choose to remain indifferent and non−contributive to the process that is
determined by the World Society as a whole.
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ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
NOTES
1)Thus within the Sunnites one can speak about the Wahhabi generated“conser−
vativel’beliefs and strict adherence to the letter of the Shari‘a, or mystically
oriented Sufi beliefs and practices. Whereas, among the Shi‘ites one can speak
of non−Shar‘i, esoterically oriented Nizari Isma‘ilism, Shari‘a oriented Must‘ali
Isma‘ilism and so on.
2)Ihave treated the Qur’anic view of religious pluralism and freedom of con−
science by examining the traditional exegeses of the Qur’anic passages dealing
with the divine mystery in not coercing a uniform belief on humanity in my
chapter on:“Freedom of Conscience and Religion in the Qur’an,”in Human
戯ψおand the ConL17ictげCultures, coauthored with David Little and John
Kelsay, Columbia, University of South Carolina Press,1988.
3)Lane, Lexicon, VIII/2880, column three.
4)The phrase is adopted from Francis Fukuyama’s article entitled:“The End of
History?”in The National Interest, Number 16/Summer 1989, pp.3−18.
5)Ibid., p.14, Fukuyama concedes to Islamic ideology that role, but goes on to
dismiss it by saying“the doctrine has little appeal for non−Muslims, and it is
hard to believe that the movement[that is, Islamic Fundamentalism]will take
on any universal significance.” He offers no more explanation to supPort his
latter assertion, except that because of its religious nature it is bound to have
limited appeal. On the contrary, empirical evidence in the Third World sug−
gests that an Islamic alternative by its commitment to the ethical order under
the aegis of divine guidance has much universal application to redress social
and political injustices.
6)In his recent work, American sociologist James Davison Hunter has treated in
great detail the struggle to come to grips with American identity in the last
decade of this century. See:Culture レレ勧zsr The Stmggle to Define/1〃zen’cα,
Basic Books,1991.
7)These three domains are identified as sources for commonalties and contradic・
tions for Muslim immigrants who are trying to make sense of their new socio−
cultural identity in the West. See:Mzaslim Fa〃zilies in〈lorth Ameri’ca, edited
by Earle H. Waugh, et. al., Edmonton, University of Alberta Press,1991.
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国際大学中東研究所 紀要 第7号 1993年
8)The Dayton, Ohio, convention of ISNA in 1991 has been covered in Isla〃¢ic
飾瘤oηs,Winter 1991 issue in which Aminah Jundali discusses this problem in
her article entitled:“Muslim Parents:First Line of Defense,”pp.10−13.
9)乃id.
10) Ibid., P.12.
11)Hunter, CultureレVars, p.181.
12) Isla〃zic、肋η滋072s, P.13.
13)For the followers of the Aga Khan in North America see:Azim Nanji,“The
Nizari Ismaili Muslim Community in North America:Background and Develop−
ment,”in The Muslim Community in IVorth Ameri’oα, ed. by Earle H. Waugh,
Baha Abu−Laban, and Ragula B. Qureshi, Edmonton, University of Alberta
Press,1983, pp.149−164。
14)Abdolmaboud Ansari, Iranian lmmigrants in the乙xnited States:.4 Case Stuめノ(ゾ
Z加1ルlarginality, Millwood, NY., Associated Faculty Press, Inc.,1988, discus−
ses Iranian Emigration and Patterns of Emigration which, more or less, holds
true for other educated middle℃lass emigrants from third world countries to
Canada and the U.S.
15)For the significance of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn and the religious
practices that grew out of this commemoration, see:Mahmoud Ayoub,
“Redemptive Suffering in Islam. A Studゾof the Devotional Aspects of
‘Ashura’,”in Twelver Shi ‘ism, The Hague, Mouton Publishers,1978.
16)Oral communication by some old families now residing in Toronto, Canada.
17)See Ansari, Iranian im〃zigrants, pp.116−121.
18)For the doctrinal basis of the deputyship of the Shi‘ite religious scholars, see my:
Isla〃¢ic /lfessianis〃z:The 1と!θα(ゾ theルlahdi in Twelver Shi ‘is〃z, Albany, State
University of New York,1981. For the leadership of the deputies and their
powers see my:Theノ”ust 1ぞuler in Shi ‘ite Isla〃z: The Co吻rehensive/l utho7z’砂
げtheノ勿η’st in Ima〃zite.luri’Spradence, New York, Oxford University Press,
1988.
19)See an informative article on the impact of Iranian revolution on the Syrian
Sunni Muslims by Yvonne Haddad,“The Impact of the Islamic Revolution in
Iran on the Syrian Muslims of Montreal,”in The Musli〃z Co〃zmunity in 1>∂励
145
ISLAM AND MUSLIMS IN DIASPORA
/1〃zen°ca, pp.165−181.
20)The phrase has been employed by Nikki R. Keddie,“Islamic衰evival as Third
Worldism,”in五θCuisierθ’le Philos(助♂Hom〃zage a撫翻θ1∼o伽son,
Etudes d’Ethnogア妙hie Histon’qnte du Proche−On’ent, reunies par J.P. Digard, PP.
275−281,in her discussion about the social classes to whom“third worldism”
appeals. Islamic revivalism is also, in her opinion, a form of“third worldism”
that appeals to the militantly oriented classes who have a poorer place on the
socio−economic ladder.
21)“Islam in America,”ひS.1>伽s and W∂rld Repo7t, October 8,1990, p.71.
22)Bassam Tibi, The Cη眺qズ〃∂4〃n Islam:∠4. Pre−1勿伽s’珈1 Culture in the
Scien tzfic−7セ6勿zo1ρgガoα1!1gθ, trans. by Judith von Sivers, Salt Lake City,
University of Utah Press,1988, pp.12−13.
Key Words:Minority, Integration, Darα1−Hl物,
Ethno−Cultural Identity, Interadctive Strategy
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