A Convergence of Civilizations: The Transformation of Muslim by Emmanuel Todd, Youssef Courbage

By Emmanuel Todd, Youssef Courbage

We are instructed that Western/Christian and Muslim/Arab civilizations are heading in the direction of inevitable clash. The demographics of the West stay gradual, whereas the inhabitants of the Muslim international explodes, widening the cultural hole and all yet ensuring the outbreak of struggle. Leaving apart the media's sound and fury in this factor, measured research exhibits one other truth taking form: rapprochement among those civilizations, making the most of a common move with roots within the Enlightenment.

The ancient and geographical sweep of this booklet discredits the idea of a selected Islamic demography. the variety of fertility between Muslim girls, for instance, is as assorted as non secular habit between Muslims as a rule. no matter if agnostics, fundamentalist Salafis, or al-Qaeda activists, Muslims are a various staff that end up the range and individuality of Islam. Youssef Courbage and Emmanuel Todd give some thought to assorted levels of literacy, patriarchy, and shielding reactions between minority Muslim populations, underscoring the unfold of huge secularization in the course of the Arab and Muslim global.

In this regard, they argue, there's little or no to tell apart the evolution of Islam from the background of Christianity, specially with Muslims now getting into a world modernity. delicate to demographic variables and their mirrored image of non-public and social truths, Courbage and Todd upend a perilous meme: that we are living in a fractured global just about hindrance, suffering from an outbreak of closed cultures and minds made diversified by means of religion.

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The kinship system of Malaysia and Java is, however, considered bilateral, because men and women, as in the French system, have equal rights of inheritance. But there are regional ethnic groups in Sumatra that might be called clearly matrilineal, because inheritance is transmitted through women and because levels of matrilocalism can be extremely high. In Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra, the site of autonomist disturbances until very recently, the matrilocal rate was 77 percent according to the 1971 census.

Directly to the south in Lebanon, matrilocalism rates reach around 10 percent. But in the provinces of the Syrian interior, such as Aleppo, Rakka, Derra, Hassakeh, and Eir el-Zor, the level of matrilocalism falls below 1 percent, a clear sign of patrilineal obsession. Data are incomplete, but it seems that the intensity of patrilineal sentiment declines as one moves away from the heart of the Arab world. Iran, Turkey, Morocco, the coastal provinces of Syria, and Lebanon represent a kind of periphery where the patrilineal principle is weakened and traces of a formerly higher status for women survive.

The contact between a matrilocal population and a patrilineal religion probably produced a legitimist radicalization of matrilocalism, which led to the emergence of a few clearly matrilineal systems. ” This attitude led the family system beyond what it had been originally. The existence of these matrilineal systems is a harsh rebuke to the socio-theologians who claim, for example, that Islam is incompatible with the French Civil Code. For it is an understatement to say that the Minangkabau, who are devoutly Muslim, take liberties with Koranic inheritance law.

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