Focusing on the rise of “Brand Islam,” this book considers how the highly lucrative marketing of goods and services as “Islamic” or “halal” is reshaping the religious, cultural, and economic lives of Muslim consumers and communities around the globe
From food products to fashions and cosmetics to children’s toys, a wide range of commodities today are being marketed as “halal” (permitted, lawful) or “Islamic” to Muslim consumers both in the West and in Muslim-majority nations. However, many of these products are not authentically Islamic or halal, and their producers have not necessarily created them to honor religious practice or sentiment. Instead, most “halal” commodities are profit-driven, and they exploit the rise of a new Islamic economic paradigm, “Brand Islam,” as a clever marketing tool.
Brand Islam investigates the rise of this highly lucrative marketing strategy and the resulting growth in consumer loyalty to goods and services identified as Islamic. Faegheh Shirazi explores the reasons why consumers buy Islam-branded products, including conspicuous piety or a longing to identify with a larger Muslim community, especially for those Muslims who live in Western countries, and how this phenomenon is affecting the religious, cultural, and economic lives of Muslim consumers. She demonstrates that Brand Islam has actually enabled a new type of global networking, joining product and service sectors together in a huge conglomerate that some are referring to as the Interland. A timely and original contribution to Muslim cultural studies, Brand Islam reveals how and why the growth of consumerism, global communications, and the Westernization of many Islamic countries are all driving the commercialization of Islam.
“Plenty of books have addressed the staggering market potential of halal goods from a financial perspective, but Brand Islam stands out for its social focus, in particular on the consumption and marketing of products to Muslims . . . it makes for fascinating reading.”
“In her engaging and thoroughly researched examination of all things halal, Middle Eastern Studies professor Faegheh Shirazi analyzes the shrewd commercial strategy underlying the branding of the Islamic culture industry.”
Middle East Journal
“Engaging and thoroughly researched.”
Middle East Journal
“[A] very readable and entertaining mine of information about today's 'halal race,' broadly interpreting the transformations within the frames of theories on cultural identity politics and economic sociology of consumerism.”
Religious Studies Review
“In the last four decades, much has been written on the politics of Islam in general and the etiology and the causes of Islamic extremism in particular. What has been overlooked for the most part, however, is the making and remaking of Islamic culture and the production and reproduction of material culture that engulfs the daily lives of Muslims and distinctly influences their perceptions, behavior, and conduct. For these reasons, Brand Islam fills a significant void in the literature on Islam.”
Manochehr Dorraj, Professor of Political Science, Texas Christian University, and editor of Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity, and Religion: Identity Politics in America