Sami Zubaida

Sami Zubaida is Emeritus Professor of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck, University of London and a Fellow of Birkbeck College. He is also Research Associate of the London Middle East Institute and Professorial Research Associate of the Food Studies Centre, both at SOAS. He has held visiting positions in Cairo, Istanbul, Beirut, Aix-en-Provence, Paris, Berkeley CA and NYU, and has written and lectured widely on religion, culture, law and politics in the Middle East, with particular attention to Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.. He is the author of Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2011)

His earlier books include Islam, the People and the State: Political Ideas and Movements in the Middle East (IB Tauris, 1993); A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2001); and Law and Power in the Islamic World  (IB Tauris, 2005)

  • Martin Luther's Rycina Chrystusa i Antychrysta.
    Published in: North Africa, West Asia
    Islamic Reformation?
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    Written by: Sami Zubaida All articles by Sami Zubaida

    We keep hearing calls for an ‘Islamic Reformation’, but the Protestant Reformation was not a liberal enterprise: it was the original ‘fundamentalism’, whence the label now applied to Islam.

  • mirror racisms
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    Varieties of ‘Islamophobia’ and its targets
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    Written by: Sami Zubaida All articles by Sami Zubaida

    The presence of growing Muslim populations in Europe at the same time as the rise of political Islam and the inception of Israel, was largely a legacy of twentieth century colonial history.

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    The question of sectarianism in Middle East politics
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    Written by: Sami Zubaida All articles by Sami Zubaida

    Everywhere the Arab uprisings have been confronted by the entrenched vested interests of old regimes, the so-called ‘deep state’ in Egypt, and by Islamist populism. The alignment of regional powers, following geopolitical interests, has sharpened the sectarian lines. But these alignments are not somehow essential to the region.

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    Turkey, alcohol and Islam
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    Written by: Sami Zubaida All articles by Sami Zubaida

    Now, after a decade of electoral success and economic growth, governing without a coalition, the army neutralised, in control of the media, the judiciary and the police, Erdogan feels free to move on this crucial symbolic issue of alcohol and its venues.

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    Islam in the Arab transformations
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    Written by: Sami Zubaida All articles by Sami Zubaida

    The Shari’a is largely irrelevant to most important issues of policy and administration in the economy and in government. Its historical and symbolic locus is on family and sexuality: patriarchal rights, segregation of the sexes, enforced female modesty.

  • Friday of One Demand
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    Women, democracy and dictatorship
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    Written by: Sami Zubaida All articles by Sami Zubaida

    In the early and middle decades of the twentieth century it was always Middle Eastern dictators who embarked on policy and legislation which liberated and empowered women in both family and society. The dictators liberated women in the good days, but retreated under pressure, and it was the populists ushered in by ‘democracy’ who oppressed women.

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