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Muslim Societies- January 11 Notes.docx
Muslim Societies- January 11 Notes.docx

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McGill University
Islamic Studies
ISLA 210
Laila Parsons

JANUARY 11, 2012: Palestine  Is a society, but not a country.  Palestinians occupy regions in Israel including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as Jordan and Syria.  The British had control of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq in 1917, and France had the mandate over Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  Jabra Ibrahim Jabra is a famous novelist who is famous for being a literary critic, Edward Said (the author of Orientalist) is a post-colonial thinker and literary critic famous for his work on Conrad and for being a Palestinian advocate, and Lila Abu- Lughod.  Edward Said discussed in Orientalism that Western studies of the Middle East are misguided because they take an outsiders view without understanding. An “essentialist” statement about the Middle East is something like “All Muslims are pious and zealous” or that “the Muslim word sticks together.” He called on scholars to approach studies to the Middle East with attention to complexity and contradictions and study it in a way they study their own societies.  Palestinian Statistics Bureau states that the number of Palestinians worldwide in about 9 million, and there are about 1.2 million in Israel, 2.7 million in Jordan, and substantial populations in Syria and Lebanon.  There are refugee camps for Palestinians across the majority of the Middle East. The refugees in Lebanon are in the most desperate state because they have not been given citizenship of Lebanon (like they were in Jordan) and they don’t hold any rights from the Lebanese state, including the right to work. Many are living on rations from the UN Relief and Works Agency or are working for UNRWA.  The majority are Sunni Muslims and a substantial Christian minority, and well as other minorities such as the Druze (the only Arab-Israeli citizens conscripted into the Israeli army). Palestinians speak Arabic.  There is a strong sense of communities among Palestinians. Edward Said wrote about the ways Palestinians “feel themselves” as a society, likely due to how they don’t have the country. (Discussed by Said in Interiors).  Ramallah- significant Palestinian town (where Yasser Arafat set up).  Nablus (holds a major Palestinian University) and Gaza City are also important cities.  Refugee camps have been built up all over
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