n Acta Academica - A new anthropology of Islam, J.R. Bowen : book review

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0587-2405


In the central thesis of his seminal book, , Samuel Huntington viewed the transformation of conflict from national interests or realist terms towards greater focus on cleavages between civilisations. In the process, Huntington laid out a singular, monolithic, almost unchanging Islamic civilisation. This, however, is as far from reality as possible. In this penetrating study, esteemed anthropologist John Bowen lucidly demonstrates that there are many different 'Islams' as Muslims from Asia, Africa and Western Europe have adapted Islamic texts and traditions to ideas and conditions in the societies in which they live. In the process, Bowen advances an understanding of Islam as it is lived and understood by Muslims. Such understanding is never more needed as sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians and between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims continues to take a heavy death toll of the innocent.

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