Focusing on the private and public use of space, this volume explores the religious life of the new Muslim communities in North America and Europe. These essays concentrate on cultural practices and expressions of everyday life rather than on the political issues that dominate headlines. The authors emphasize the cultural strength and creativity of communities that draw upon Islamic symbols and practices to define "Muslim space" against the background of a non-Muslim environment. The range of perspectives encompasses middle-class professionals, mosque congregations, factory workers in France and the north of England, itinerant African traders, and prison inmates in New York. The truism that "Islam is a religion of the word" takes on concrete meaning as these disparate communities find ways to elaborate word-centred ritual and to and to have the visual and aural presence or sacred words in the spaces they inhabit. The volume includes photographs that illustrate Muslim populations in Edmonton, Philadelphia, the Green Haven Correction Facility, Manhattan, Marseilles, Berlin, and London, among other places.
The focus on space directs attention to the new kinds of boundaries and conscio
Barbara Daly Metcalf is Dean, Division of Social Sciences, College of Letters and Science, and Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. She is the translator of Perfecting Women: Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi's Bihishti Zewar (California, 1990).