Countering the ‘Woke’ Agenda in Muslim Communities: Neo-traditionalism and Strategies for Political Engagement and Disengagement

Join the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) for a lecture by Walaa Quisay on “Countering the ‘Woke’ Agenda in Muslim Communities: Neo-traditionalism and Strategies for Political engagement and Disengagement.” See Event Abstract and Register below.


Exploring tensions between traditional orientations and modern subjectivities, the pursuit of enchantment, and existing in a disenchanted, secular world, Neo-traditionalism in Islam in the West examines neo-traditionalism, its public pedagogues, and their students (seekers of sacred knowledge) in the Euro-American context. These pedagogues, many of whom are white converts to Islam – such as Hamza Yusuf, Abdal Hakim Murad, and Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, guide their followers through a paradigmatic critique of modernity They focused on affirming spirituality, self-purification, religious orthodoxy, and advocating for the notion of traditional metaphysical worldview and recognition and deference to spiritual (and political) authorities.

Neo-traditionalism in Islam in the West shows the convergence of right-wing intellectuals and culture-war polemicists – such as Jordan Peterson, Roger Scruton, and Richard Weaver with Muslim neo-traditionalists. While Peterson and Scruton directly engaged Hamza Yusuf – their discourses on masculinity, aesthetics, and the sacred continue to inspire Yusuf’s followers. The decline of religion, vocation, social and gender distinctions, and most importantly – the decline of the sacred in modernity – is a marker for civilizational collapse. As such, they argue for the necessity of an alliance of conservative believers that provides the same moral paradigm by which believers can unapologetically voice their concerns on the dissipation of family values and sexual politics amongst other things. Additionally, the sacred dissent against modernity that Muslims purportedly share with other conservative believers serves as a basis for their place in the West.






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