Decolonising Islam: Indigenous peoples, Muslim communities, and the Canadian context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The problem of empire has been a key theme in Islamic Liberation Theology (ILT). However insightful, ILT’s engagement with the category of empire has generally presumed a particular colonial configuration in which Muslims are located on the receiving “end” of power, being occupied by an external, non-Muslim force. But what about the presence of Islam within settler colonies, in which voluntary Muslim migrants are structurally complicit in the ongoing disenfranchisement of Indigenous peoples? Focusing on the Canadian context, I ask: How can we decolonise Islam in the settler colony? That is, how can Muslims address their own complicity with the settler colonial project, standing in solidarity with native peoples and revisiting their own faith tradition in the light of that praxis? I argue that decolonising Islam entails three hermeneutical moves: (I) gaining a critical understanding of the socio-historical context, namely, the history of empire on the land; (II) deconstructing the boundaries between “migrant” and “settler”, which actually serves to vindicate the former group, releasing them of accountability and responsibility; and (III) engaging in bold theological reflection on the Islamic tradition. This final theological step, I maintain, is a two-fold dynamic: expounding Islam as both a radical subject that decolonises and a problematic object requiring decolonisation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1078
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number9
Early online date22 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Islam
  • empire
  • decolonisation
  • settler colonialism
  • Indigenous people
  • Canada


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