The aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States brought into sharp relief the leading role of that country in shaping contemporary Muslim discourses to create discursive urgencies that meet its ideological needs. Reflections on a short but very intense battle for the term “Progressive Islam” between a small group of international activists in the Network of Progressive Muslims (NPM), on one hand, and the US organization, Progressive Muslims of North America (PMUNA), on the other, is one manifestation of how this battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims as part of a larger ideological contestation has played out. This article examines the rupture between the two claimants to the term “Progressive Islam” within the context of (a) the varying historical usages of the term, (b) the need for Muslims to be dealing with intrareligious matters, and (c) the instrumentalization of such reform by the US-led empire as part of an uncritical liberal Muslim response that views Traditional and Fundamentalist expressions of Islam as their primary contradiction rather than Global North-driven imperialism and neo-colonial hegemony. The article argues that in the case of the United States, while recognizing the historicity of all expressions of religions, the projecting of rethinking and reconstructing religious tradition should not be undertaken as an extension of an externally driven “religion-building project” but instead by believers who both own Islam and share their own complicity as citizens of the empire.
Abaza, M. (2002) Debates on Islam and Knowledge in Malaysia and Egypt: Shifting Worlds . London: Routledge.
Al-Jourshi, Salah al-Din (2000) Al-Islamiyyun al-Taqaddamiyyun fi Tunis . Cairo: Markaz al-Qahira li- al-Dirasat al-Huquq al-Insaniyyah.
Baran, Z. (ed.) (2004) Understanding Sufism and its Potential Role in US Foreign Policy . Nixon Center Conference Report, March. Available at https://www.islamawareness.net/Sufism/sufism_us_policy.pdf (accessed 11 October 2018).
Bavikatte, S. (2005) Allah is in the details: Towards a theory of progressive Islam. The American Muslim , July 24. Available at http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/allah_is_in_the_details_towards_a_theory_of_progressive_islam (accessed 11 October 2018).
Beliefnet.com (2004) Moderate Muslims take heat from … the left. Available at http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/islam/2004/12/progressive-muslims-take-heat-from-the-left.aspx (accessed 11 October 2018).
Blair, T. (2007) Blair in moderate Muslims appeal. BBC News , June 4. Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6718235.stm (accessed 11 October 2018).
Bouteldja, H. (2016) Whites, Jews, and Us: Toward a Politics of Revolutionary Love . South Pasadena: Semiotext(e). Brown, J. A. C. (2016) Reaching into the obscure past: The Islamic legal heritage and reform in the modern period. In Kendall, E. (ed.) Reclaiming Islamic Tradition: Modern Interpretations of the Classical Heritage . Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 100–135.
Creet, Julia (2011). Memory and Migration: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Memory Studies . Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 175.
Duderija, A. (2017) The Imperatives of Progressive Islam . London: Routledge.
Eagleton, T. (1996) The Illusions of Postmodernism . London: Blackwell Publishers.
Eisenberger, C. (2004). “Toward a New Muslim Moment”. Newsday , New York, October 20, 2004 http://www.newsday.com/features/ny-p2two4011400oct20. Accessed 17 March 2018.
Emerick, Y. 2002. ‘The Fight for the Soul of Islam in America’, in Wolfe, M. (ed.) Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith, pp. 196–202. United States: Rodale.
Friedlin, J. (2004) The Americanization of Islam? The Jerusalem Post , November 29, 29–30.
Ghazali, A. S. (2004) Agenda of the Progressive Muslim Union of North America. Pakistan Link . Available at http://pakistanlink.org/Commentary/2004/Dec04/24/04.htm (accessed 11 October 2018).
Gilmore, G. J. (2006) Anti-terror war is struggle of ideas, vice chairman says. US Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service, March 29. Available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=15016 (accessed 11 October 2018).
Haddad, Y. Y. (1982) Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History . New York: State University Press.
Hanafi, H. (2009) Reformist and moderate voices of Islam in the Arab East. In Hunter, T. S. (ed.) Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Islam and Modernity . London: M. E. Sharpe, 100–135.
Hanioglu, M. S. (1995) The Young Turks in Opposition . London: Oxford University Press.
Hassan, Seeme. (n.d.). “The Muslim World's Savior”. Beliefnet. Available at: https://www.beliefnet.com/news/politics/2004/09/the-muslim-worlds-savior.aspx. Accessed on 21 Nov 2018.
Hirsh, M. (2004) Bernard Lewis revisited. Washington Monthly , November 8. Available at https://washingtonmonthly.com/2004/11/01/bernard-lewis-revisited/ (accessed 11 October 2018).
Johnston, D. L. (2013) What's behind the progressive reading of the Qur'an and Sunna? Available at http://www.humantrustees.org/blogs/current-islam/item/109-progressive-hermeneutics (accessed 11 October 2018).
Kurzman, C. (1998) Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mahmood, S. (2006) Secularism, hermeneutics, and empire: The politics of Islamic reformation. Public Culture . 18(2), 323–47.
Mamdani, M. (2004) Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror . New York: Pantheon Books.
Marchart, O. (2007) Post-Foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Bafiou and Laclau . Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Mir-Hosseini, Ziba. (2006). “Muslim Women's Quest for Equality: Between Islamic Law and Feminism”. Critical Inquiry. Vol. 32, No. 4 (Summer), pp. 629–645. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Nandy, A. (1998) The politics of Secularism and the recovery of religious tolerance. In Bharghava, R. (ed.) Secularism and Its Critics . Delhi: Oxford University Press, 321–44.
Nasr, S. H. (2011) Islam in the Modern World: Challenged by the West, Threatened by Fundamentalism, Keeping Faith with Tradition . New York: HarperCollins.
“Network of Progressive Muslims”. Yahoo Groups. Available at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/NPMuslims/info. Accessed 22 Nov 2018.
Nisbet, R. (1980) History of the Idea of Progress . New York: Basic Books.
Noor, F. A. (2009) Reformist Muslim thinkers in Malaysia: Engaging with power to uplift the Umma? In Hunter, T. S. (ed.) Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Islam and Modernity . London: M. E. Sharpe, 208–227.
Nugent, W. (2010) Progressivism: A Very Short Introduction . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
“Progressive Islam: A View from October, 2001”. Ihsan-net.blogspot. October 2001. Available at: ihsan-net.blogspot.com/2004/12/progressive-islam-view-from-october.html. Accessed 22 Nov 2018.
“Progressive Muslims Take Heat from Suprising Location: the Left”. Religion News Service. 2 Dec 2004. Available at: https://religionnews.com/2004/12/02/news-story-progressive-muslims-take-heat-from-surprising-location-the-left/. Accessed 21 Nov 2018.
Said, E. (1983). Traveling Theory, the World, the Text, and the Critic, 1983. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Safi, O. (1998) Progressive Muslims, Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism . Oxford: Oneworld.
Safi, O. (2007) Introduction: Islamic modernism and the challenge of reform. In Cornell, V. J. and Safi, S. (eds.) Voices of Islam: Voices of Change . Vol. 5. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, xvii–xxxiv.
Sajoo, N. A. (2008) Muslims Modernities – Expressions of Civil Imagination . New York: I.B. Tauris.
Sayyid, S. (1997) A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism . New York: Palgrave.
Sayyid, S. (2014) Recalling the Caliphate: Decolonization and World Order . London: Hurst Publishers.
Siddiqi, M. (1982) Modern Reformist Thought in the Muslim World . Islamabad: Islamic Research Institute.
Van Bruinessen, M. (2009) Liberal and progressive voices in Indonesian Islam. In Hunter, T. S. (ed.) Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Islam and Modernity . London: M. E. Sharpe, 187–207.
Wittgenstein, L. (2001) Philosophical Investigations . London: Blackwell.
Wolf, A. (2017) Political Islam in Tunisia: The History of Ennahda . New York: Oxford University Press.
Wood, C. M. (1975) Theory and Understanding – Critique of the Hermeneutics of Joachim Wach . Chicago: Scholars Press.
Zakaria, F. (2015) I am a Muslim. But Trump's views appall me because I am an American. The Washington Post , December 10.