Why Muslim opinion started to tend towards aniconism

by Rashmee

Posted on September 7, 2020


The tendency towards aniconism and the erasure of the secular-religious distinction is a bit of a conundrum. Some scholars posit that it was part of a trend from before the rise of Islam. Indeed, even in the 6th century, before the coming of Islam, there was already starting to be a drift away from representational … Continue reading “Why Muslim opinion started to tend towards aniconism”

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Muslim opinion gradually hardened towards aniconism

by Rashmee

Posted on September 6, 2020


There are many examples of the gradual hardening of Muslim opinion towards aniconism. Aniconism, not iconoclasm. It’s important to note the distinction. Aniconism refers to cults where there is no iconic representation of the deity [anthropomorphic or theriomorphic, which is to say in animal form] to serve as the dominant or central cultic symbol. As … Continue reading “Muslim opinion gradually hardened towards aniconism”

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Early Muslims’ attitude to art in the sacred space

by Rashmee

Posted on September 5, 2020


What’s clear is that early Muslims maintained a separation between art considered appropriate for sacred and secular spaces. In the religious space, the Abbasids, the second Muslim dynasty, followed their predecessor Umayyads. Both employed great restraint in terms of decoration. So the Dome of the Rock, built by the Umayyads, followed Christian techniques of construction … Continue reading “Early Muslims’ attitude to art in the sacred space”

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Early Muslims’ attitude to art and creative expression

by Rashmee

Posted on September 4, 2020


  In the beginning, there was art. Lots of it, in fact, in the secular space. Consider this. Within 30 years of Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, there was abundant art for the secular space. The palaces and bathhouses of the Umayyads, the first Muslim dynasty (661-750), were rich with exuberant figural art. Three Umayyad … Continue reading “Early Muslims’ attitude to art and creative expression”

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Is there an inherent Islamic hostility to representation?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 3, 2020


  The issue of Islam’s attitude to free expression is back in the news with the trial having begun of 14 alleged accomplices of the gunmen who massacred ‘Charlie Hebdo’ staffers in January 2015. The massacre, remember, was supposed to be revenge for ‘Charlie Hebdo’s’ 2006 republication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which were … Continue reading “Is there an inherent Islamic hostility to representation?”

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In France, it’s yesterday once more with ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Prophet cartoons and a terrorism trial

by Rashmee

Posted on September 2, 2020


  Except for the pandemic, it feels like 2015. The French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ has republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, deemed blasphemous by some Muslims. And the trial has begun (Sept. 2) of 14 alleged accomplices of the gunmen who massacred ‘Charlie Hebdo’ staffers in January 2015. The magazine’s cover featuring the cartoons bears … Continue reading “In France, it’s yesterday once more with ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Prophet cartoons and a terrorism trial”

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Yes, Donald Trump is the commander-in-chief – but of ‘citizen soldiers’

by Rashmee

Posted on September 1, 2020


President Trump’s fellow Republican, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, has been on the airwaves to champion “citizen soldiers”. Presumably the senator meant people like 17-year-old Trump-supporter Kyle Rittenhouse, who crossed state lines from Illinois into Wisconisn with an assault rifle, which he used to shoot dead two anti-racism protesters in Kenosha last week. The senator … Continue reading “Yes, Donald Trump is the commander-in-chief – but of ‘citizen soldiers’”

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Dreaming of Sitopia in Britain

by Rashmee

Posted on August 31, 2020


  BBC Radio 4 has aired one of the more unusual – and inspiring – food programmes I’ve ever heard. ‘Sitopia – a land with food at its centre’ is set in 2030. It features a Prime Minister Carolyn Steel, who led her Sitopia Party to victory in the 2022 general election and proceeded to … Continue reading “Dreaming of Sitopia in Britain”

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The grey areas in America’s understanding of race

by Rashmee

Posted on August 30, 2020


Why should it have taken a Kamala Harris – half Jamaican, half Indian, all American – to show the United States that race isn’t a Black or White matter? Perhaps because people can be fairly “illiterate” about multiracial identity. So says Nitasha Tamar Sharma, a professor at Northwestern University specializing in African American and Asian … Continue reading “The grey areas in America’s understanding of race”

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Pakistan…Palestine: Sacred vs secular spaces in ummah politics

by Rashmee

Posted on August 29, 2020


  Does the “Arab street” still exist? I mean in the sense of the broad swath of Arab public opinion, passive, non-violent and emotionally attached to the idea of helping Palestinians achieve justice and self-determination. Does the politics of ummah still work? I mean in the sense of Muslim solidarity on certain core issues to … Continue reading “Pakistan…Palestine: Sacred vs secular spaces in ummah politics”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK