Contending modernities in East London
In its religious intensity and diversity, east London is an exciting testing-ground for “Contending Modernities.” It is an area with a long history of migration, and the religious and cultural diversity it brings, raising the question: How do migrant communities with diverse religious and cultural identities shape a common life? Catholic and Muslim migrants in particular have historically both been treated with some suspicion in the UK. The experience of Catholic and Muslim engagement in broad-based community organizing runs counter to such suspicions. Community organizing harnesses precisely the “problematic” quality of these faiths — above all their loyalty to a truth that transcends the nation-state, and a “critical distance” from the status quo — as a means of working for justice.
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