Editors’ Preface to the Special Issue: Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy


  • Clinton Bennett SUNY, New Paltz
  • Sarwar Alam University of Arkansas




Sufism, Pluralism, Democracy

Author Biographies

Clinton Bennett, SUNY, New Paltz

Clinton Bennett divides his teaching between SUNY New Paltz, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY and Cambridge, UK. He completed his Birmingham University MA in 1985, his PhD in 1989, both in Islamic Studies. A Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute, he also received the M.Ed. from Oxford and a BA in Theology from Manchester, where he trained for ordination. A Baptist missionary in Bangladesh 1979-1982, he maintains close personal and professional ties with South Asia. Director of interfaith relations for the British Council of Churches 1986-1992, he has served on not-for-profit management committees, local, national and international ecumenical agencies, chaired a school governing body and represented an NGO at the UN. Special interests include post-colonial theory, use of film and literature in teaching, issues surrounding objectivity and subjectivity in religious studies, religion’s role in conflict resolution, contemporary Muslim thought, identity and belonging in multi-cultural contexts. He has written ten books, numerous articles, reviews, chapters, editorials, and encyclopedia and dictionary entries. He is editor of the Continuum Studying World Religions series.

Sarwar Alam, University of Arkansas

Sarwar Alam teaches at the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies of University of Arkansas. He received his doctorate from the same university in 2006. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia between 2007 and 2010. He is currently preparing a manuscript for publication entitled Jewels of Honor: the Perception of Power, Powerlessness, and Gender Among Rural Muslim Women of Bangladesh. He contributed two chapters on Sufi historiography and political activism in Bangladesh in South Asian Sufis: Devotion, Deviation and Destiny, eds., Clinton Bennett and Charles Ramsey (Continuum, 2012). His other publications include “Sufi Pluralism in Bangladesh: The Case of Maizbhandariyya Tariqa,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, vol. xxxiv, no. 1 (Fall 2010), “Contesting the Shari‘a: The Prospect of CEDAW in Eliminating Gender Discrimination in Bangladesh,” Law Vision 10 (2008), and “Islam, Culture, and the Power of Women in a Bangladesh Village,” Voices of Islam, five vols., ed., Vincent J. Cornell, Praeger, 2007.


Bennett, Clinton and Ramsey, Charles. 2012. South Asian Sufis. New York: Continuum.

Diouf, Mamadou. 2013. Tolerance, democracy, and Sufis in Senegal. New York: Columbia University Press.

Eaton, Richard Maxwell. 1978. Sufis of Bijapur, 1300–1700: Social Roles of Sufis in Medieval India. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

———. 1993. The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Esack, Farid. 1997. Qur?an, Liberation and Pluralism: An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity Against Oppression. Oxford: Oneworld.

Lerner, Adam B. 2015. “Bobby Jindel won’t back down on ‘no-go zone’ comments.” Politico, January 21. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/bobby-jindal-no-go-zone-comments-114464.html accessed February 6 2015.

Lindholm, Charles. 2002. The Islamic Middle East: Tradition and Change. Oxford: Blackwell. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470696170

Nimtz, August H. 1980. Islam and politics in East Africa: the Sufi order in Tanzania. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Rozehnal, Robert Thomas. 2007. Islamic Sufism unbound: politics and piety in twenty-first century Pakistan. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wynne-Jones, Jonathan. 2008. “Bishop warns of No-Go Zones for Non-Mulsims,” The Telegraph, January 6, available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574694/Bishop-warns-of-no-go-zones-for-non-Muslims.html accessed March 13 2015.




How to Cite

Bennett, C., & Alam, S. (2015). Editors’ Preface to the Special Issue: Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy. Comparative Islamic Studies, 9(1), 3–8. https://doi.org/10.1558/cis.v9i1.25300



Special issue: Editorial