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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 28, 2012

Freedom, Religion, and Gender

Saba Fatima
Pages 131-146

Presence of Mind
A Political Posture

The political posture often encouraged in liberatory movements is that of urgency. Urgency is based on the idea that if oppressed peoples do not act “now,” then their fate is forever sealed as subordinates within social and political power hierarchies. This paper focuses on a contrasting political posture, termed presence of mind, motivated by the current political atmosphere of distrust and disenfranchisement in which some Muslim-Americans find themselves. Presence of mind is defined as the ability to critically unpack visceral affective responses to injustice—giving special consideration to power structures, one’s social location, and relationships—and then to asses an appropriate response in virtue of that consideration that best upholds our commitments. This paper argues that cultivating presence of mind acknowledges the complexities of the Muslim-Americans’ identity while providing a posture that allows the resistor to best represent their political commitments.

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