Journal Article — The Homelessness of Muslimness: The Muslim Umma as a Diaspora — by S. Sayyid




Islamophobia is a complex and contested concept that arises from the problematization of Muslim political agency. The hegemony of nationalist discourse and the institutionalization of the nation-state made it difficult to sustain legitimate political identities which did not have a national location and belonging. Political mobilizations which transcended the national form were considered to be problematic. This paper is an exploration of Muslim political identity. It argues that the idea that national citizenship is the only legitimate mechanism through which political expression can take place is no longer adequate. The weakening of the nation-state due to complex processes captured under the rubric of globalization has opened up possibilities of new forms of political subjectivity that transcend and disrupt national boundaries. This disruption is cause for anxiety as it reveals the failure of a national community to imagine itself as harmonious and whole. In this context, Muslim identity can be seen as diasporic for its assertion of a political subjectivity is not matched by an over-arching political structure able to house it. The homelessness of Muslimness is one of key pre-conditions for the development of Islamophobia in recent years. This paper shows how the homelessness of Muslims is one main condition of possibility for the assertion of Muslim political agency and as such it becomes one of the main factors in the emergence of Islamophobia.

Recommended Citation

Sayyid, S. 2010. “The Homelessness of Muslimness: The Muslim Umma as a Diaspora.” Pp. 129-145 in Islam: From Phobia to Understanding (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VIII, Issue 2, 2010.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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