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By Robert Launay

Robert Launay has been staring at the altering non secular practices of the Dyula, a Muslim neighborhood in West Africa, for greater than a decade. In Beyond the Stream, he examines the ways that this non secular and ethnic minority crew dwelling at the fringes of the Muslim global continues its ties to the common Islamic culture whereas adapting daily spiritual practices to the neighborhood context. in the course of the lens of this particular group, Launay elucidates the interplay among basic Islamic ideals, anchored traditionally within the Arab heart East, and the consistently altering ways in which Islam is lived, anywhere it's professed.

By targeting the strain among "particular" and "universal"—on how a given non secular morality needs to functionality at the same time inside of a tightly knit neighborhood and a bigger worldwide arena—Beyond the Stream addresses problems with extensive main issue to the anthropology of Islam and to international religions generally.

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Additional resources for Beyond the Stream: Islam and Society in a West African Town

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More important, though, the sermons are festive occasions, and many people enjoy attending. Both sermons and dances are communal celebrations, and like all such celebrations, they transmit a variety of messages, depending on who organizes them, who attends, on which occasions they are held. In the past, dancing had been an appropriate means of affirming the Islamic identity of the Dyula community; as Muslims, they performed special Muslim dances on special Muslim holidays. Once the Dyula of Koko ceased to be the only, or even the principal, Muslim community of Korhogo, their dances, even if performed on Muslim holidays, were no longer unambiguously identified as Muslim dances; on the contrary, they were Dyula dances.

Those villagers who have been most concerned with such questions are precisely those who have integrated themselves most fully into the life of the ― 48 ― towns—though these are not, it should be emphasized, a negligible category. " The attitude of Dyula Muslims from Koko when they visit their village relations is hardly any different. " Koko, on the other hand, is a perfect arena for religious controversy, or at least questioning, precisely because of the way in which it partakes simultaneously of the worlds of town and village.

More crucially, the nature of the villages' involvement with the outside world, and particularly with the wider community of Muslims both within and beyond the frontiers of Côte d'Ivoire, is quite different from that of townspeople. In the first place, Dyula villagers are spatially removed, even if ― 47 ― they are hardly isolated, from the outside world. They are generally freer to arrive at consensus about religious practices away from the watchful eyes of outsiders. Most often, it is the towns that are the battlegrounds of Muslim religious controversy.

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