From green pop and clean cinema to halal songs, Islamic soaps, Muslim rap, Islamist fantasy serials, and Suficized music, the performing arts have become popular and potent avenues for Islamic piety movements, politically engaged Islamists, Islamic states, and moderate believers to propagate their religio-ethical beliefs. Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater is the first book that explores this vital intersection between artistic production and Islamic discourse in the Muslim world. The contributors to this volume investigate the historical and structural conditions that impede or facilitate the emergence of a post-Islamist cultural sphere. They discuss the development of religious sensibilities among audiences, which increasingly include the well-to-do and the educated young, as well as the emergence of a local and global religious market. At the heart of these essays is an examination of the intersection between cultural politics, performing art, and religion, addressing such questions as where, how, and why pop culture and performing arts have been turned into a religious mission, and whether it is possible to develop a new Islamic aesthetic that is balanced with religious sensibilities. As we read about young Muslims and their quest for a cool Islam in music, their struggle to quell their stigmatized status, or the collision of morals and the marketplace in the arts, a vivid, varied new perspective on Muslim culture emerges.
Karin van Nieuwkerk is an anthropologist and professor of contemporary Islam in Europe and the Middle East at the Radboud University Nijmegen.