In Jonah Blank's important, myth-shattering book, the West gets its first look at the Daudi Bohras, a unique Muslim denomination who have found the core of their religious beliefs largely compatible with modern ideology. Combining orthodox Muslim prayer, dress, and practice with secular education, relative gender equality, and Internet use, this community serves as a surprising reminder that the central values of "modernity" are hardly limited to the West.
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Jonah Blank, an anthropologist and journalist, is South Asia policy advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana through India.From Library Journal:
Policy adviser to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report, Blank (Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God) here focuses on the Bohras, a community of Shia Ismaili Muslims from Gujarat numbering upwards of a million worldwide. This is a groundbreaking work for two reasons: it is the first full description of a community never before studied from outside, and it demonstrates that an orthodox Islamic community can also embrace Western ideas and technology by adopting all aspects of modern culture that are not forbidden to it. The Daudi Bohras are both "traditional" and "modern." Blank reviews the community's history, organizational structure, rituals, domestic life, orthopraxy, and maintenance of community boundaries. The Bohra have dramatically improved orthopraxy among members, creating a high level of observance of basics while increasing the educational level and scientific sophistication of the community ("there is no conflict whatsoever between science and faith"). The author demonstrates the extent to which Westerners have adopted a view of Islam distorted by stereotypes, fostered by media reports, and sustained by a triumphalism about values that Westerners believe are exclusively theirs. What the Bohras have done, Blank concludes, is to "break down the false dichotomy between modernity and tradition, to let members of the community revel in both." This brilliant study is both academically rigorous and a welcome introduction to the real success of this Islamic community in the modern world. Highly recommended for all academic libraries and large public libraries. William P. Collins, Library of Congress
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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2nd ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The values of traditionalist Islam are often portrayed as inherently hostile to those of a modern, pluralistic society. This book shatters many of these stereotypes. Jonah Blank provides a first-hand account of the Daudi Bohra community, a Shi a denomination numbering 1 million, concentrated in South Asia but spread worldwide. This society has no contradiction between Islamic traditions and full-fledged modernity. The Bohras uphold orthodox Muslim practices, such as in prayer and dress, while at the same time embracing aspects of modern culture not in direct conflict with their core beliefs. They send their children, of both genders, abroad for education, exhibit greater gender equality than most of the communities of the Indian sub-continent, and have become Internet pioneers, uniting members around the world. This volume shows how a premodern clerical elite has embraced modernity, not rejected it. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780226056777
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