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Friday, August 30, 2013

Boutchichi rap

One of France's leading rappers, Abd al Malik, is a Boutchichi, a member of the Moroccan-based Sufi order that is currently one of the world's most important, and draws on Traditionalism.

Abd al Malik, a French rapper, seen here on the cover of his best known album, Dante, is also a poet, novelist, and débatteur. He is celebrated by the French establishment (he is a Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a sort of literary knighthood) both because of his artistic achievements and because he is that comparatively rare thing, a French Muslim with street credibility who celebrates the Republic rather than criticizes it.

Abd al Malik credits Sufism for his appreciation of pluralism, a position that is certainly found in the Boutchichiyya, and which owes something to Traditionalism. A recent article on Abd al Malik, Jeanatte S. Jouili, "Rapping the Republic: Utopia, Critique and Muslim Role Models in Secular France" (French Politics, Culture and Society 31, no. 2, 2013, pp.58-80), which discusses the Boutchichiyya but not Traditionalism, records Abd al Maliks's youthful interest in philosophy. Deleuze, Camus and Sartre are mentioned, but not Guénon.

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