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In the Name of the Umma: Globalisation, 'Race' Relations and Muslim Identity Politics in Bradford

This paper describes a charity dinner organised by businessmen in Bradford who were frustrated about human rights abuses against Muslims in Bosnia and Kashmir.  Coming out from this event was the idea of the umma that produced Muslims - whether they might be in Bradford, Bosnia or Kashmir - as a community that should be unequivocally bounded in solidarity against a hostile world outside.  Whilst situating this identity at the intersection of local-global Muslim interests  the author still argues that Muslm unity can only be understood within specific contexts, because there are multiple indentification positions that can be taken up seperately - British; Muslim; Pakistani; Bradfordian; etc.

These constructions are temporary and negotiated however, to talk of Islams is misleading.  It is in fact the relation of one Islam to multiple contexts situated within different power relations and these relations are not fixed, hence the different identification positions.  The description and analysis of the dinner explores both the potential, and the actual limits, of the idea of a globally connected Muslim community, as one basis for local protest.

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