Muslim Cosmopolitanism in Rural Bangladesh: The Construction of Power Dynamics vis-à-vis Cosmopolitan Identity
Keywords:Muslim Cosmopolitanism, Cosmopolitan Identity, Migration, Hierarchy, Power Dynamic.
The article addresses how the migrant Bangladeshi workers, in their bid to be a part of the Middle Eastern Muslim Cosmopolis, make sense of the negotiation between the concepts of nation-state and umma. The article also examines whether these migrants’ endorsement of a ‘foreign’ Muslim culture in Bangladesh has created a community of ‘other’ Muslims perceived to be less Muslim because of being less exposed to the Middle East culture. In a rapidly changing context in terms of cultural identification, it is pertinent to investigate if the power, prestige, and privilege that these Bangladeshi migrants enjoy in Bangladesh rely solely on their becoming ‘better’ Muslims or rather chiefly stem from their monetary gain. The article explores whether a good financial status becomes the driving force in creating the Muslim ‘other,’ and how it has been inspiring others to migrate to the Middle East to become successful and ‘Global’ Muslim Citizens. The concepts of umma and cosmopolitan constitute the conceptual framework of the study. The study also presents a critique of cultural influence and identity construction based on faith. In addition, some migrants were interviewed to reflect upon their experience and the role of religious affiliation in the construction of cosmopolitan Muslim identity. Both collective conscience and the sense of religious affinity are addressed.
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