Dr Rachel Woodlock is an academic and writer who researches and teaches about Islam and Muslims. She recently co-edited Fear of Muslims? International Perspectives on Islamophobia with Professor Douglas Pratt (Springer, 2016), an evidenced-based examination of Islamophobia in both 'old-world' Europe and the 'new-world' of America and Australia, and also Southeast Asia. She also co-wrote For God's Sake: An Atheist, a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim Debate Religion (Pan MacMillan, 2013), discussing some of life's biggest questions.
She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Arabic & Islamic Studies) and a Master of Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, and her doctoral research undertaken at Monash University looked at the social integration of religious Muslims in Australia. Dr Woodlock has lectured widely and taught subjects on Islam and Muslims at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her interests include Islamic theology, philosophy, comparative fiqh, praxis in minority contexts, as well as sectarian and heterodox movements. Although born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Rachel lives with her family in Tipperary, Ireland, which everyone delights in telling her is a long way to go.
This book introduces the general reader to the history, beliefs and practices of Islam with a particular focus on the Irish experience. It is divided into six sections covering Islam's history, civilisations, ideas, people, issues and future. As well as describing what unifies Muslims in 'what Islam teaches', it also emphasises the vast diversity that exists among Muslims.
It covers the early history, rise and expansion of Islam at a time when Christianity was beginning to mature in Ireland, and looks at the rise of Islamic dynasties and Muslim conquests—including into Europe—that resulted in cross-cultural exchanges between Christendom and the Islamic world, as well as the Crusades and the arrival of modernity, colonisation and Westernisation in the modern period. Of particular relevance to the Irish reader, it covers the Irish historical encounter with Islam both overseas and as Muslims began to settle here.
As well as an overview of Islam's major beliefs and practices, it examines the debates and diversity that exist in the Muslim world, as well as in Ireland, over who can 'speak' for Islam, which are more fully elaborated upon in sections dealing with lifecycle rituals and sensitive issues surrounding family, healthcare, education and employment as Muslims try to implement Islam (in varying degrees) in their lives in a Catholic-majority context.
In the concluding chapter, Irish attitudes towards Muslims are discussed, as are potential demographic trends both in Europe and Ireland specifically. It introduces the idea of 'kaleidoculture' first defined by Bruce Lawrence in considering the American experience. This heralds a potential future in which Irish Muslims make a unique and valuable contribution to Ireland, and develop a specifically Irish way of being Muslim.
This book gives the general reader a thorough overview and understanding of the religion of Islam and its followers, framed for the first time within the modern Irish context.
I am putting together a dual Gregorian and Hijri calendar planner book. It is divided into the twelve Islamic months with a page listing important dates in the Islamic calendar and in Muslim history. There is monthly space for budgeting and task lists, after which is week-on-a-page spreads showing corresponding Gregorian and Hijri dates. Each week also has sections for spiritual and health trackers, scripture memorisation, and weekly notes and task lists. See a sample.
This hobby project started because I could not find a diary that served my need to operate in both Islamic and Western Gregorian calendars, but which also conformed to the basic principles of Bullet Journalling. Mine is designed to be a functional but not hugely decorative planner and I hope to release it before the turn of the new Islamic year إن شاء الله. For those interested in some beautiful alternatives, there are some worthy items available on Etsy, such as: The Journal for Muslims, Islamic Planner, and downloadable planners from Kecilmamil. Please note, I have not personally purchased any of these items, and thus make no guarantees about quality or availability.