Thesis: 'We are Muslims too': The Politics of Identity, Practice, and Discourse among British ‘Progressive’ Muslims.
Research: The popular representations of Muslims often focus on Muslim discourses, practices, and identities that are considered 'conservative', traditional, and oppositional to the values of pluralism, individual liberty, human rights, and secularism. This focus on pietist and neo-fundamentalist movements within Muslim communities creates an impression that these are the only discourses, identities, and practices available to contemporary Muslims. My research aims to expand our attention to other segments within the broader spectrum of contemporary Muslim politics, identity, and rituals in Britain and beyond. My research will highlight the various ways Muslims construct communities, identities, practices, and beliefs that productively engage with, and often affirm, discourses related to individual liberty, human rights, pluralism, democracy, gender justice, and secularism. I want to understand the motivations behind processes of self- and world-making that promote interpretations of Muslim identity and Islamic discourse that centre issues of justice, equality, dignity, and liberty. Furthermore, I seek to unpack the various connotations of labels like 'progressive' within this spectrum of Muslim politics and the reasons why individuals and groups assert or disavow such terms.