n South African Journal of Higher Education - Universality plus difference : a commentary on Nuraan Davids's article, 'A reformed Islamic education : Grounds for revisitingcosmopolitanism'

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In Nuraan Davids' (2012) article, 'A reformed Islamic education: Grounds for revisiting cosmopolitanism', she articulates a 'renewed' cosmopolitanism to guide democratic citizenship in the Islamic education. She first articulates a theoretical view regarding what it means to be a citizen of the world. By celebrating individualism in terms of acknowledging the individual's right not only to be recognised as belonging to the collective, but also to eschew participating 'in the community of commonality' (ibid., 400), and by substituting the problematic (to her view) concept of 'tolerance' with the idea of attaching more value to the other (because of its role in the individual's identity construction), she offers a new vision of cosmopolitanism that will 'create deeper moments of engagement and meaning, and greater level of co-existence' (ibid., 398). After laying the theoretical blocks for a new cosmopolitanism, she makes a well-argued case for the cosmopolitan nature of Muslim identity. In making this argument she joins Muslim thinkers such as Mahmud Muhammad Taha, Tariq Ramadan, Khaled Abou El-Fadl and Yusef Waghid who challenge the fundamentalist view of Islam. Following this analysis she suggests how the presuppositions that underlie Islamic education should be reformed in light of the cosmopolitan nature of Islam and the connection between Islamic education and democratic citizenship education. Davids concludes by considering the implications of the suggested pedagogy to teachers and students in madrassah (Muslim schools) and Muslim-based schools.

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