Muslim Societies: Historical and Comparative Aspects

Muslim Societies: Historical and Comparative Aspects

Muslim Societies: Historical and Comparative Aspects

Muslim Societies: Historical and Comparative Aspects


Examines Muslim societies across Europe, North Africa, Central Asia and South Asia from the 18th century to 2003, providing fresh insight through comparison. The contributors examine the characteristics of peaceful symbiotic relationships with other peoples as well as a series of conflicts.


This collection of papers originates from a special session, entitled "Muslim societies over the centuries: symbiosis and conflict in comparative aspects", that was added to the 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences held in Oslo, Norway during August 2000. the Oslo session came about as part of the research activities connected with the project "Islamic Area Studies" funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, between 1997 and 2002 to do multidisciplinary research on Muslim societies in both the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds, reflecting the fact that regions with close ties to Islam now encompass the globe.

What the Oslo session and this volume confirm, I think, is that in communities where Muslims reside, we find both peaceful symbiotic relationships with other peoples, as well as serious problems such as religious and ethnic strife, interregional conflicts, population explosions and destruction of the environment. We may therefore say that social, political and economic trends in the Islamic world will definitely determine the development of world civilization in the twenty-first century. This makes it necessary for both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars to take positive steps towards a better understanding of Islamic history, ideology and of the Islamic world today.

The reader will find here such diverse topics as Muslim societies in North Africa, Central and South Asia and Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and as majorities and minorities in modern South Asia; the Sufi movement in North Africa; the Andijan Uprising in Central Asia; and the living conditions of immigrant Muslims in western Europe. It is our hope that the papers collected here will lead to a better understanding of the features characterizing symbiotic and antagonistic relationships in the history of Muslim societies.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the contributors to this volume and the discussants in the session, especially Sato Kentaro who collaborated in assisting the session arrangement and book compilation.

In conclusion, this collection is dedicated to Professor Ulrich Haarmann, whom I met in Hamburg during 1998 for the purpose of organizing the

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