Category: Libya

Matthew Derrick on the Geography of the Umma

The notion of “the umma” — the community of Islamic believers — is often thought to be at odds with modern (post-Westphalian) notions of national territory. Islam, it is said, transcends the geographic boundaries of the nation-state and this may present unique problems for how societies understand and interact with one another. Prof. Matthew Derrick discusses the role of territory in history and how the umma fits into this, taking on scholars such as Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis who see a disjuncture between the umma and national territory. Prof. Derrick, a geographer, argues that territory is still important and often trumps transnational religious identity, or is at least a concept that cannot be discarded so easily.

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William Inboden on Religious Liberty, Foreign Policy, & the Arab Spring

With events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East changing rapidly, we take a look at how the issue of religious liberty is taking form in countries touched by the Arab Spring (or Arab Awakening). Prof. William Inboden of the University of Texas, and a former policy advisor, explains what the Arab Spring is, how it came about, and how issues of religious freedom play into the political changes we are witnessing in that region of the world. We also discuss whether the US should be promoting religious liberty in its foreign policy as a means of limiting extremism and violence.

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