Transnational and Cosmopolitan Forms of Islam in the West
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Transnational and Cosmopolitan Forms of Islam in the West

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Abstract

Transnational forms of religions—in this case, Islam—are not new. As Richard Eaton and many others have written, Islam and Muslims have long constituted a “world system.”1 Muslims were, in interactions and aspirations, moving across linguistic and political borders long before there were modern nation-states.2 Even though current deªnitions of transnationalism rest on the existence of nation-states, modern nations actually work against transnationalism by producing tensions that challenge and weaken efforts to establish and maintain transnational connections. In this article, I argue that transnational forms of Islam are inevitably engaged in losing struggles, particularly in North America and Europe.3 Although only a few years ago, such writings were rare, some scholars of Islam in Europe are beginning to write about European Islam or Euro-Islam, about Swedish or Norwegian Islam, and about EuroMuslims, Swedish Muslims, and so on.4 In North America, Muslims and scholars who previously resisted the phrase American Islam are now accepting it and imbuing it with meanings beyond a simple political claim on the United States or Canada. American forms of Islam can be discerned as the forms of Islam in the West become strongly cosmopolitan rather than transnational

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