Muslim Elites in the Neo-Liberal Sphere: Implications for Citizenship and the Future of Islam in the West

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Joshua M. ROOSE , Australian Catholic University, Australia
In recent years there has been a vast array of studies examining Muslims in Western contexts at the level of radicalisation, impacts of negative representations and civic engagement. However, little research has examined the emergence of Western born Muslims into the elite professions that are central to the operation of the neo-liberal free market and that serve as a central location of economic and political power. Less research still has examined how this ‘new Muslim elite’ is shaping citizenship amongst Muslims and the future of Islam in the West (and the tensions this produces with traditional Muslim community leadership). This study aims to reveal important empirical and theoretical insights into these developments. Significantly, this study shifts the focus from the ‘Muslim question’  to how Muslims are actively contributing to a Muslim ‘Solution’.

This paper is based on findings from a three year project (2012-2014) funded by the Australian Research Council and conducted by a multidisciplinary team (Law, Sociology, Criminology and Political Science) from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and City University of New York (CUNY). Empricial research was conducted in the global cities of Sydney and New York with Muslim attorneys, Islamic finance specialists, Imams and community leaders. The study aims to explore the intersection of shari’a and the secular legal system, as well as gaining a broader insight into how shari’a shapes the daily lives of observant Muslims.