Demystifying the Caliphate: Historical Memory and Contemporary Contexts

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Madawi Al-Rasheed, Carool Kersten, Marat Shterin
Oxford University Press, 2012 - Religion - 320 pages
In Western popular imagination, the Caliphate often conjures up an array of negative images, while rallies organised in support of resurrecting the Caliphate are treated with a mixture of apprehension and disdain, as if they were the first steps towards usurping democracy. Yet these images and perceptions have little to do with reality. While some Muslims may be nostalgic for the Caliphate, only very few today seek to make that dream come true. Yet the Caliphate can be evoked as a powerful rallying call and a symbol that draws on an imagined past and longing for reproducing or emulating it as an ideal Islamic polity. The Caliphate today is a contested concept among many actors in the Muslim world, Europe and beyond, the reinvention and imagining of which may appear puzzling to most of us. Demystifying the Caliphate sheds light on both the historical debates following the demise of the last Ottoman Caliphate and controversies surrounding recent calls to resurrect it, transcending alarmist agendas to answer fundamental questions about why the memory of the Caliphate lingers on among diverse Muslims. From London to the Caucasus, to Jakarta, Istanbul, and Baghdad, the contributors explore the concept of the Caliphate and the re-imagining of the Muslim ummah as a diverse multi-ethnic community.

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The Caliphate Nostalgic Memory and Contemporary Visions
1 The Abolition of the Caliphate in Historical Context
2 South Asian Islam and the Idea of the Caliphate
The Indian Khilafat Movement and its Aftermath
4 Mustafa Kemals Abrogation of the Ottoman Caliphate and its Impact on the Indonesian Nationalist Movement
The Memory of Historical Antagonism
The Case of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood
7 The Caliphate in Contemporary Arab TV Culture
Religion and State in the Thought of Nurcholish Madjid
Debates and Advocacies of Hizbut Tahrir Student Activists in Indonesia
The Ideological Transformation of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
The Diaspora and the New Muslims
12 Caliphate in the Minds and Practices of Young Muslims in the Northern Caucasus

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About the author (2012)

Madawi Al-Rasheed is Professor of Anthropology of Religion at King's College London.

Carool Kersten is Lecturer in Islamic Studies at King's College London. He has a PhD in the Study of Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), an MA in Arabic Language and Culture and a Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies. He worked for many years in the Middle East and has taught Asian history and religions in Thailand.

Marat Shterin is Lecturer in Sociology of Religion at King's College London. He has published widely on religion, society and law in Russia.

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