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Challenging CosmopolitanismCoercion, Mobility and Displacement in Islamic Asia$
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Joshua Gedacht and R. Michael Feener

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474435093

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474435093.001.0001

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The ‘Shaykh al-Islaām of the Philippines’ and Coercive Cosmopolitanism in an Age of Global Empire

The ‘Shaykh al-Islaām of the Philippines’ and Coercive Cosmopolitanism in an Age of Global Empire

(p.172) 7 The ‘Shaykh al-Islaām of the Philippines’ and Coercive Cosmopolitanism in an Age of Global Empire
Challenging Cosmopolitanism

Joshua Gedacht

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines how some American colonial officials attempted to harness Philippine Muslim connections with the wider Islamic world in a project of ‘coercive cosmopolitanism’. Specifically, American authorities hoped that by recruiting a learned ‘modern Mohammedan’ teacher from Istanbul, a Palestinian named Sayyid Muḥammad Wajīh b. Munīb Zayd al-Kilānī al-Nābulsī, they could help to correct the supposedly ‘degraded’ forms of local religious practice and thereby combat Muslim resistance. Shaykh Wajīh’s odyssey from the Ottoman capital to the Philippines, where he acquired the moniker ‘Shaykh al-Islām of the Philippines’, reverberated from Singapore to Manila and Washington, generating optimism that such connections could promote both a deepening of religious belief as well affinities between Muslims and non-Muslims. Yet, this chapter also contends that decades of pacification freighted such encounters with mistrust, driving Shaykh Wajīh to quickly depart from the Philippines and revealing the perils of colonially-inspired, coercively produced bonds of cosmopolitanism.

Keywords:   Imperialism, Islam, Coercive Cosmopolitanism, Ottoman Empire, the Philippines, United States

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