Of Malls and Mosques
Classical sociologists, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim, all suggested that as societies modernized, religion would begin to lose its influence on individuals and become more of a personal choice than a public mode of cohesion and control. This secularization thesis is exemplified by Dubai, a place where Islam has converged with contemporary material luxuries, consumerism, and new notions of religious identity. The secularization of Islam here is obvious as young and middle-aged Muslims, many of whom are expatriates from countries like Egypt and Jordan, negotiate new ways of experiencing and expressing their religion. After all, with both 24-hour Mosques and indoor ski slopes at their disposal, they seem to have no choice but to explore new interpretations of their Muslim identities.