By (author)DR IFTIKHAR H.


It is more than a mere coincidence that in 1992 when the Euro-American world celebrated the five hundredth anniversary of the Columbian campaign to the Indies, Muslims in Bosnia bled in the longest-ever siege in European history. Cities like Sarajevo, Mostar, Vitez, Gorazde, Ahmici, Banja Luka, Pale, Srebrenica and several other small towns across this beautiful, mountainous Balkan peninsula suffered the worst-ever destruction in recent history. But while Bosnia burned, the United Nations, the EU and the Muslim regions watched passively. Was Bosnia a unique case where the primordial identities struck back jingoistically or is it a microcosm of a Third World-wide malady where the processes of globalisation and modernity have gone haywire, causing serious fragmentation? Can we define it simply as the revival of age-old rivalries, or could it be characterised as an anarchic void following the dissolution of a state-based centralism?

The relationship between modernity and Islam is still a largely under-researched intellectual realm, though the erstwhile discourse defining it as a contestation between tradition and modernity, universalism and cultural particularism, or between change and stagnation, is gradually giving way to a fresher academic perspective. The ‘recent’ forces of modernity brought into the Muslim heartland by colonialism and highlighted by post-coloniality and mobility have intensified the debate on Muslim identity itself. The Bosnians, especially the Bosnaks/Bosniaks, have been undisputedly European, rooted in a secularist vision of Islam, pursuing modernity with full force in reference to liberalism, rationalism, feminism and, of course, pluralism. Their nationalist aspirations never hinged on religio-lingual monoethnicity, yet still they suffered from the most harrowing crimes ever committed against a human community. In other words, here it was not Islam battling against modernity, rather the latter itself became disputed and went wild, negating the entire thesis of clash of civilisations or Islam being static or pre-modern. The very core of this modernity, nationalism became the most reactionary weapon for ethnic cleansing. Subsequent upon the dissolution of communist centralism, the ideological vacuum in the former Eastern bloc is being claimed by xenophobic nationalism in collusion with religious extremism. This phenomenon largely explains the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. The Balkan tragedy is a mixture of old and new; globalisation and peripheralisation; integration and fragmentation, and a contestation between primordial and modernist loyalties.
ISBN: 9694023806

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Author Description

Dr. Iftikhar H. Malik, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, is a Senior Lecturer of International History at Bath Spa University College, Bath, England. Earlier, from 1989 to 1994, he was the Quaid-i-Azam Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. He holds an M.A. from Oxford and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, with post-doctoral research at Columbia University, New York, and the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Malik has written eleven books, several monographs, 70 research papers and more than 200 review articles. His areas of research are mainly South Asia with special reference to Muslim politics and Pakistan; Muslim communities in the West and U.S.-Muslim world relationship. Some of his books are listed as follows:Islam, Nationalism and the West: Issues of Identity in Pakistan (St. Antony’s-Macmillan Series, Oxford and New York, 1999) State and Civil Society in Pakistan: Politics of Authority, Ideology and Ethnicity (St. Antony’s-Macmmillan Series, Oxford, New York and Lahore, 1997) U.S.-South Asian Relations, 1940-7: American Attitude towards Pakistan Movement (St. Antony’s-Macmillan Series, Oxford, New York and Lahore, 1991) U.S.-South Asia Relations, 1783-1940: A Historical Perspective, (Islamabad, Area Study Centre, 1988)Islam and Modernity: Muslims in Western Europe and the United States (London, Pluto, 2003) Religious Minorities in Pakistan (London, Minority Rights Group, 2002)His research papers have appeared in various international journals including Modern Asian Studies, The Journal of Asian Studies, Asian Survey, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, The Round Table, International Affairs, Asian Affairs, South Asia and Economic and Political Weekly. The BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4, CNN and the Asian networks frequently interview him. Since 1997, he has been leading an annual workshop at the Royal College of Defence Studies, London. He has offered seminars and papers at Cambridge, Oxford, Chatham House, King’s College, LSE, the EU, SOAS, IDS (Sussex), Wilton Park (Sussex), Heidelberg University, Institute of Ismaili Studies (London), Columbia University, Smithsonian Institution, Jawaharlal Nehru University, the BIISS at Dhaka, Beijing’s Islamic Association, Sarajevo University and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.