In August, New York University Press will release Contemporary Israel: New Insights and Scholarship edited by Frederick E. Greenspahn (Florida Atlantic University). The publisher’s description follows:
On September 22, the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center will host a conference entitled “Islamophobia in Focus: Muslims & the Media.” Panelists at the conference will include Dr. John Esposito (Georgetown University), Ayman Mohyeldin (NBC News), and Dalia Mogahed (Institute for Social Policy and Understanding). The Religious Freedom Center’s description of the event follows:
Research shows that 9 in 10 of all news reports about Muslims, Islam, and Islamic organizations are related to violence – war or terrorism. In fact, most Muslim newsmakers are warlords or terrorists. Alarmingly, media representations of Islam were worse in 2015 than any other time since 9/11. Are such portrayals representative of today’s global realities? Are Muslims simply over-sensitive? Are concerns with media depictions of Muslims and Islam in the West reflective of a liberal culture obsessed with political correctness? If not, are there opportunities for change?
In September, Brill Publishing will release “Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil,” by Bettina E. Schmidt (University of Wales Trinity Saint David), and Steven Engler (Mount Royal University). The publisher’s description follows:
The Brill Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil provides an unprecedented overview of Brazil’s religious landscape. It offers a full, balanced and contextualized portrait of contemporary religions in Brazil, bringing together leading scholars from both Brazil and abroad, drawing on both fieldwork and detailed reviews of the literatures. For the first time a single volume offers overviews by leading scholars of the full range of Brazilian religions, alongside more theoretically oriented discussions of relevant religious and culture themes. This Handbook’s three sections present specific religions and groups of traditions, Brazilian religions in the diaspora, and issues in Brazilian religions (e.g., women, possession, politics, race and material culture).
In September, Oxford University Press will release Beyond Jihad: The Pacifist Tradition in West African Islam by Lamin Sanneh (Yale University). The publisher’s description follows:
Over the course of the last 1400 years, Islam has grown from a small band of followers on the Arabian peninsula into a global religion of over a billion believers. How did this happen? The usual answer is that Islam spread by the sword-believers waged jihad against rival tribes and kingdoms and forced them to convert. Lamin Sanneh argues that this is far from the whole story. Beyond Jihad examines the origin and evolution of the African pacifist tradition in Islam, beginning with an inquiry into the faith’s origins and expansion in North Africa and its transmission across trans-Saharan trade routes to West Africa. The book focuses on the ways in which, without jihad, the religion spread and took hold, and what that tells us about the nature of religious and social change.
At the heart of this process were clerics who used religious and legal scholarship to promote Islam. Once this clerical class emerged, it offered continuity and stability in the midst of political changes and cultural shifts, helping to inhibit the spread of radicalism, and subduing the urge to wage jihad. With its policy of religious and inter-ethnic accommodation, this pacifist tradition took Islam beyond traditional trade routes and kingdoms into remote districts of the Mali Empire, instilling a patient, Sufi-inspired, and jihad-negating impulse into religious life and practice. Islam was successful in Africa, Sanneh argues, not because of military might but because it was made African by Africans who adapted it to a variety of contexts.