Rares sont les convictions aussi bien ancrées dans l’imagination libérale moderne que celles des vertus du pluralisme et de la société multiculturelle. Il n’y a qu’à voir l’importance symbolique qu’a pris Sarajevo pour mesurer cet attachement aux principes de communauté multiculturelle, multiethnique. Dans les années 30, la lutte pour Barcelone pendant la Guerre civile espagnole était devenue le symbole du combat pour la démocratie contre le fascisme, de même, le siège de Sarajevo a pris la dimension mythique d’une lutte entre pluralisme et barbarisme.
“C’était une armée d’hommes noirs debout devant moi… Ils aimaient le message et ils aimaient le Messager.”
Pasteur Louis Farrakhan, à propos de la Marche du million d’hommes
(Arizona Republic, 1996 : 6)

“Aucune marche, aucun mouvement ou programme qui définit de manière restrictive l’humanité et vise à faire des femmes des partenaires inférieures… ne peut être considéré comme un pas en avant.”
Angela Davis, à propos de la Marche du million d’hommes
(Pooley, E “To the Beat of His Drum”, Time, Vol 143, n° 9, 1994 : 2-3).

The Dossier is dedicated to a question which comes up again and again in the discussions about women in the Muslim world: the centrality of religion as an analytical concept. Most articles included in this issue discuss, under one form or another the right to define oneself as secular vs a "natural" religious identity, and all the potential epistemological bias in the analysis of a specific situation that could follow the lack of conceptual clarity in these matters.

History is replete with examples of use of religion for social-political mobilization and for community control. The backdrop for this Dossier reflects processes leading sociological Muslims to becoming institutionalised subjects of organised Islamic nation states, communities and families.

This issue of the Dossiers focuses on two main areas: the role of culture in the making of religious identities; and progressive interpretations within Islam. The issue of culture viz religion and identity is crucial to us; one of the aims of WLUML is to facilitate debate towards disentangling cultural identity from religious and political identities.

Based on the sharing that took place at the 1999 WLUML Outreach Strategies Exchange Programme meeting, this tool documents some of the network’s experiences of outreach and identifies the basic principles that underlie outreach activities – no matter how diverse the actual activities have been across the Network With the aim of inspiring experimentation and dialogue among groups conducting outreach activities, it shared strategies at both general and specific illustrative levels.

Interview and articles from Riffat Hassan, the progressive theologian and academic specialized in Islamic sciences. Riffat Hassan defends a more humane, democratic and feminist interpretation of Islam in general and of the Quran and other sacred texts in particular (in French).

Revealed narratives and legislation are then pursued through their medieval, modern, and contemporary interpretations. The theological exegetic sources here chosen, all Sunni, include the major classical works as well as, for the modern period, examples of modernist, traditionalist, and fundamentalist exegesis. For Hadith materials beyond the theological tafsir, Stowasser analyzes both popular narratives of the "tales of the prophets" genre and representative samples of the classical historical and legal hadith.
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