Keywords: Al-Azhar Park, Aziz Al-Azmeh, Charles Baudelaire, cosmopolitianism, Durkheim, everyday pluralism, Jafar Panahi, Kevin McDonald, modernity, post-secular, tradition.


Modernity is best understood in the context of everyday pluralism. Here, cultural and political realities do not dwell in compartments labelled ‘east’ and ‘west’, but instead overlap and intertwine. In the convergence of what is ‘Muslim’, ‘secular’ or ‘traditional’ and what is not, everyday cosmopolitanism is a more reliable measure of modernity than are ideologies of the state or of social movements.

From births, weddings and funerals, to rules on who inherits property and where you park your car: these everyday practices come together to shape the ‘social imaginary’ that we have as communities and societies finding our way in the world. The everyday may be mundane and routine, but it is where modernity is actually encountered and made sense of. There is even high poetry in the everyday, as we are reminded by T.S. Eliot, Saadi Youssef and Forugh Farrokhzad.



Dr Amyn Sajoo

Amyn B. Sajoo is a Scholar-in-Residence at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies in Vancouver, Canada. A specialist in international human rights, civil society and public ethics, Dr Sajoo was educated at King's College London and McGill University, Montreal. 


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