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The Relativity of Categorizing in the Context of the Ahmadiyya

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At the latest since the criticism of Edward Said, Orientalists as well as scientists of other disciplines dealing with contrasting cultural settings have to reflect on their way of analyzing and categorizing the “Other”. To make the unknown understandable by categorizing and judging it according to one's own (moral) concepts as well as adopting generic concepts without reflecting upon them bears the risk of a vague, one-sided and non-differentiated analysis. A great number of the publications about the Ahmadiyya are a vivid example of such tendencies. Reading them an often seemingly thoughtless use of ascriptions becomes apparent which makes the movement appear in an extremely negative or positive light depending on the background of the author and his particular motivation—failing to meet the complexity of the movement with respect to their doctrine and practices. Due to the multitude of attributions to the Ahmadiyya only the ascriptions “orthodox” and “heteropraxic” will be discussed after a short outline of the history of the movement and its theological characteristics.


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