International Relations and Islam

International Relations and Islam: Diverse Perspectives Edited by Nassef Manabilang Adiong .

Newcastle upon Tyne. stored in a retrieval system.International Relations and Islam: Diverse Perspectives. photocopying. Edited by Nassef Manabilang Adiong This book first published 2013 Cambridge Scholars Publishing 12 Back Chapman Street. without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-4896-4. mechanical. NE6 2XX. UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2013 by Nassef Manabilang Adiong and contributors All rights for this book reserved. or transmitted. in any form or by any means. ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-4896-1 . recording or otherwise. No part of this book may be reproduced. electronic.

........................................................................................................... 111 Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity Ari Varon ...................................................................... 1 International Relations and Islam Nassef Manabilang Adiong Chapter One ................................................................................................................... Daniels Chapter Two ................................................... 9 Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol Jessica L................................ ix Introduction ........................................................................ 39 Turkey: Where East and West Meet Didem Doğanyılmaz Chapter Three .... González Chapter Five .................................................................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Figures and Tables ...... 59 Islam and Democracy: Arab Spring and the Turkish Experience Gökhan Duman Chapter Four .................................. 91 Ahmet Davutoğlu: Role as an Islamic Scholar Shaping Turkey’s Foreign Policy İştar Gözaydın Chapter Six ..................................... vii Contributors .............. 73 Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like? Alessandra L..........................................................................................................................................................................................

..................................... 139 Accommodating Islam into IR: The Case on “Nation-State” Nassef Manabilang Adiong Index Table of Contents Chapter Seven................................................................. 145 ....................

Alessandra L. Religiosity Measures. González Figure 4-1 Figure 4-2 Table 4-1 Table 4-2 Islam is a Source of Motivation for me to Fight for Women’s Rights (by Gender) I Consider Myself a Feminist (by Gender) Male Islamic Feminist Descriptive Statistics Binary Logistic Regression of Feminist ID on Demographics.LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES NB. and Religious Socialization Variables (by Gender) Principle Components Factor Analysis of Social and Political Attitudes by Gender (Varimax Rotation) Table 4-3 . All figures and tables are from Chapter Four authored by Dr.


For now. Didem Doğanyılmaz is currently a PhD candidate in Historical Societies at Rovira I Virgili University in Tarragona.doganyilmaz@gmail. She is interested in the complex relations between Islam and laicism concentrating on the history of Turkey. Her research has been primarily focused on The Middle East and Iran prerevolution in particular. In June of 2012. while her Bachelor’s degree was from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul in the department of Statistics. Jessica is available to be contacted at <JLynneDaniels@gmail. and religious identity. You may contact her at <d. Her main research interests are interrelationships between state and religion. laicism. both earned at The New School of Social Research in New York. she is writing. . Jessica relocated to Boston and hopes to find a career within International>. its history and a sociological approach to Alevi identity.CONTRIBUTORS Jessica L. She is also one of the project researchers in UNESCO Chair of Intercultural Dialogue in the Mediterranean. she focuses on>. In addition. Daniels holds a Masters Degree in Historical Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Inquiry. creating websites and teaching yoga. Spain. She completed her Masters degree in the same university in the department of Mediterranean Cultural Studies. secularism.

Spain. Her most recent book manuscript on Islamic Feminism in Kuwait is expected for publication this year. and various other academic settings. the Dialogue of Civilizations Conference hosted by the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue in Houston.” the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies.Gonzalez@gmail.duman@gmail. She is the principal investigator of the Islamic Social Attitudes Survey Project (ISAS). City University of New York. Dr. He completed his Masters degree in Mediterranean Cultural Studies at the same university.L.x Contributors Gökhan Duman is currently a PhD student in historical societies. Alessandra L. the Gulf Research Conference at the University of Exeter. . and a non-resident research fellow at the Institute for the Studies of Religion at Baylor University in central Texas.>. He is also one of the project researchers in UNESCO Chair of Intercultural Dialogue in the Mediterranean. the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. with research interests in nationalism. He can be reached at <g. She has publications in “Women’s Encounter with Globalization” (Frontpage Publications). the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. a study in conjunction with Baylor’s Institute for the Studies of Religion (ISR) on Islamic Religiosity and Social Attitudes. minorities. while his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Administration (French language as the medium of instruction) was from Marmara University. and an op-ed on Islamic Feminism in the Dallas Morning News. land and heritage at the University of Rovira i Virgili in>. and Turkish foreign policy. González’s email address is <Alessandra. The Mediterranean is his region of specialization. including Women’s Rights Attitudes in the Arab Gulf Region. She has presented her research at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy‘s Conference on “The Rights of Women in Islam. Middle East. González is a post-doctoral research associate at John Jay College.

“Turkey: A Women’s History.International Relations and Islam: Diverse Perspectives xi İştar Gözaydın is a professor of law and politics at Doğuş University. 255-258. Amsterdam/New York.” in Bonnie G.). European and Islamic values when defining religion-state relations. 2/3 (April/July 2008) School of Law. 16 no. Oxford University>. Istanbul. 1214-1236. 6 (December 2009). Religion. John Parry. ed. as well as the effects on political mobilization and social integration. Her publications include Regulating Religion in Turkey. “Diyanet and Politics”. You may contact Prof. Oxford University Press. no. v. Gözaydın at <isavasir@dogus. . in 1987. February 2009. Esposito (ed): Encyclopedia of the Islamic World.D. Salt Lake City. 2008. Ari Varon holds a Ph. Democratization. 159-176. “The Fethullah Gülen Movement and Politics in Turkey: a chance for Democratization or a Trojan Horse?”. Israel. in Evil. September 2008.4. France and Tel Aviv University. Politics and the Politics of Religion in Turkey”. 2006 (ISBN:90-420-1748-1). Rodopi Press. 2013 (forthcoming). vol. vol. “>. Ari analyses the internal debate of Muslim intellectuals in Europe as they integrate. University of Utah Press. 59-69. Palgrave-Macmillan. “Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı. at İstanbul University. 98. He has presented his research at conferences and universities throughout Europe and the United States.” in John L. The Muslim World. or not.D. Politics and Turkey’s EU Accession. in Dietrich Jung & Catharina Raudvere (ed. Law and the State: Issues in State Power and Violence. She received her MCJ (Master of Comparative Jurisprudence) at New York University. and her Ph. Ari can be reached at <ari@arivaron. in political science in a joint program at Sciences Po. “Adding Injury to Injury”. Smith (ed): The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Women in World History. He focuses his research on the developing contemporary European Islamic identity.

and Wiley-Blackwell. and Suez Canal for various publishers including ABC-CLIO. nationalism. He is the author of numerous articles. and encyclopaedic entries such as civilization. nation-state. “The U. an online community interested in advancing comparative research between International Relations and Islam. and relations between religion and politics concentrating on ‘Political Islam’. International Relations.xii Contributors Nassef Manabilang Adiong is the founder of the IR-IS Research Cohort.S. Turkey. and Israel Securitization of Iran’s Nuclear Energy” in The Quarterly Journal of Political Studies of Islamic World. His research interests include theories of International Relations and their major debates and contemporary discourses. conceptualizations of and debates about ‘Nation-State’ and ‘Civilization’ phenomena in IR and Islam.>.nassef-m-adiong. nation. . He can be contacted via his website at <www. “The Palestinian Refugee Question: A Constitutive Constructivist Interpretation” in Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations. “Ideology that Spawns Islamist Militancy” in Frank Shanty’s Counterterrorism: From the Cold War to the War on Terror. Oxford University Press. Inc.. including “Nation-State in IR and Islam” in the Journal of Islamic State Practice in International Law. SAGE Publications.

which primarily presents the title of this edition. Though the danger of this idea may suggests a myriad adherence to two extreme poles of risky paradigms: (1) those IR scholars who totally ignore Islamic concepts. Islam is putatively feasible and probable to understand and interpret International Relations (IR) and vice versa.” This was initially conceptualized with the aim of looking at their conceived perceptions side by side. . and vice versa. and (2) those Islamic scholars (ulama and Islamicists) who aim for the Islamization of knowledge. Turkey. The proposed idea is on the study of relations between International Relations and Islam. Pakistan. My goal was to present and put forward the idea of finding a middle way between two bodies of knowledge which were conceived from two different hemispheres of the world. Malaysia.INTRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND ISLAM NASSEF MANABILANG ADIONG This edited book is a follow up of a two-part panel proposal for the 2011 Middle East Studies Association annual meeting. If scholars and members of the English School of International Relations were able to associate and converge their thoughts on conceptualizing International Relations with Christianity (of course the majority of them are Christians and so Western Europe is). and Islam or Islamic Studies which was conceived in the Arab world and developed in Iran. The authors who submitted their articles were the participants of the proposed panels. It has been the proponent’s quest to feasibly and scholarly present Islam as non-alien in the Western discourse of the IR field. a social science discipline conceived in the UK and the US (comprising the West). Indonesia and many nonArab countries (comprising the East). how Islam is interpreted by IR scholars. then it is a precedent and an indication that along the strand of the Abrahamic Faiths. “International Relations and Islam: Diverse Perspectives. International Relations (IR). This is a matter of how we are going to find tangency or via media between Islam and IR without committing submission to those extreme poles.

psychology. and multinational corporations) in the international community. we cannot deny IR’s multidisciplinary approach as an academic discipline. Contemplating the Idea of an Islamic IR The title alone of this book will surely cause havoc in the Western academia of IR. theology and political science. paying little attention to human affairs. individuals. war and conflict studies. and other determining ‘given’ identities. it may be more significant to sociology. or in short. Looking for an Intellectual Patronage In the first year of my graduate studies. and whether there are mutual or reciprocal relations or even relative relatedness. its repercussions on implicit and explicit notions of human and society. particularly those who have an interest in and peculiar relations to the Muslim world. For many years since the interwar (interbellum) period. at the post-Cold War period. I did some little research on the faculty list of the IR department and noted those who may help me in this . The process of constructing this initiative involves selecting perspectives and categories to bring to bear on the research idea. It will be about various perspectives and cases on the complex relations of “Islam and IR”. This initiative (an edited book project) is not an ‘all-knowing’ term project. But this question is apparently not the primal concern of IR. or human-tosociety relations concomitant with the roles of culture. international and regional organizations. ignited by the constructivist project in the US. but it is delimited by an ‘interrogative’ descriptive structure of explanation. Only then. European IR schools are somewhat more pluralistic in terms of how they view IR. as compared to their American counterparts. were these matters given importance. ‘interrelationships’ constructed. and the international system. a bulk of IR scholars’ research work has been dealing with statecraft. religion. particularly those who were trained in an American IR school. of course.2 Introduction The aims of this initial initiative are to show juxtaposed positions of mutual perceptions or diverse perspectives between Islam and IR based on conceived notions of contested conceptions. to eliminate deplorable and pejorative (mis)conceptions of IR scholars towards Islam and vice versa. human-to-human. sub-state system. state-to-state relations. how both conceptions perceive each other. language. However. and to add Islam to the epitome of global discourse of international relations as a major causal factor that affects the behaviours of actors (states.

but a complex method of correlation is the appropriate structure of explanation. In my mind. among others? Though this is not to mean that when the notion of sovereignty emerged. . He talked about vehemently avoiding two extreme poles which I discussed in the beginning. national interests. Simple causation here is not enough. simply. it is only those who have concluded their research and failed to defend their work that make it ambitious. The thing that I can think of is to use a method that is immune and has defensive mechanisms in avoiding or is capable of avoiding these extreme poles.International Relations and Islam 3 endeavour. they are not experts on Islam. when I approached a certain professor (we had an interesting discussion that lasted an hour or so). associate their thoughts with Christianity?‘ Was this because of the Peace of Westphalia‘s resolutions to disputes between Catholics and Protestants. Christian. I asked: “Can we find a via media or a middle way from these two ends of a spectrum?” because I do not want to pattern my research in a pendulum-style way. First. the grand concepts that I mentioned immediately were conceived. Another professor just shrugged me off and answered that my proposal was too ambitious (period). ‘Why can Western scholars. there is no ‘ambitious’ research proposal. Hindu. gave me links and other important resources salient to my research. power. and complex interdependence. but instead. and Jewish conception(s) of IR. And he answered that it is possible if we can rework (adjust) its ontological propositions and find or discover appropriate epistemology. then there should be Buddhist. particularly the pioneers of the English School of IR. in her view. it is as if you are saying that Islam is similar or identical to other religions or ideologies. later leading to the establishment of ‘sovereign’ nation-states. I initially talked to the chairwoman during the registration period and she told me that she did not know if my proposed thesis (this was done verbally not the formal process of submitting a thesis proposal) was feasible enough because. Further. I lamented. A few other IR professors responded to my inquiry that they could not help me in my research work because. it gave me hope and widened my thoughts to many possibilities. he was asking me several questions regarding what was on my mind. ‘Is there a need to formulate an international relations theory based on religious perspective? If this is so. balance of power. However.’ I replied that this is not the point. wherein I might become too adherent to one or other of the extreme poles. self-help system. whereby sovereignty has been a word so used (rehashed) for research by IR scholars which resulted in grand concepts like anarchy.

g. suddenly I was overwhelmed by the arguments he presented in his conclusion.e. norms and traditions. declaring and pronouncing Islam’s incompatibility with democracy (hinting at Western “democratic peace theory” that democratic countries or democracies do not go to war with one another. Muslims? Why did most IR scholars write that the area studies of the Middle East in the US failed miserably? According to them. Though I criticized Sabet’s book at first. he humbly suggested that perhaps I might alter my research inquiry.4 Introduction But for now I will focus first on asking questions. Strange Bedfellows International Relations and Islam. particularly of women and gay rights. Giorgio Shani. but how can I make them tangent (meeting along the same line or point)? This is not to sound like an orientalist. notion. experts of Middle Eastern studies in America failed to predict the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He presented a conundrum style of inquiry (like puzzles designed to test lateral thinking) and basically in those puzzles you can find answers. instead of developing an Islamic theory of IR. And lastly. and international law. or manipulating the study based on upbringing or normative biases. observing the phenomena. failed to suggest and give guidelines for policy making procedures or to their foreign policy that would have prevented wars or mitigated hostilities or tensions between the West with the Muslim world. How can we advance our scholarship if we already have a preconceived perception. hostile to Western values. International Relations and Islam. impression and bias against Islam and its adherents. al-Zuhili. like looking into the works of Edward Said. human rights. etc. Secondly. and gathering a plethoric survey of literature. I would argue that the reasons above were not the causes that made Middle Eastern studies vulnerable. projecting the “incompatibility enterprise” thus you cannot find harmony. or worse. he suggested possible research undertakings. i. and he gave me Sabet’s book to make some reports. e. two intricate terminologies. Mohammed Arkoun. because (in his words) it is appropriate and plausible. using Western culture as a point of reference and making it superior to oriental culture. why not divert my attention to postcolonial studies. though this argument can also be associated with opposed totalitarian governments). ideas. The orientalist has done such a great deal to make Islam incompatible. failed to warn the West about the rise of radical or fundamental Islamic revivalist movements. There is a remarkable preconceived perception that Middle Eastern experts were unimportant in policy .

Said’s office was bombarded with calls and emails from the media who wanted to know his opinion regarding the matter while he was in Canada giving lectures. and (3) you cannot be so outwardly visible and outspoken in the US in your rants against its foreign policy towards the Middle East and Israel. the Congress. Mark Steyn (a self-proclaimed expert on Muslim culture).. Anti-Israel has become a “taboo” in the public and academic spheres of the US. Ibn Warraq (founder of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society). Muslim countries can invest in the international media to establish a worldwide News company vis-à-vis BBC or CNN.International Relations and Islam 5 making. of course with an exception of being established with the security of tenure. many reports were pointing out that the suspects were of Middle Eastern origin. (2) you cannot survive academia in the US if you are straightforwardly criticizing Israel. the Middle East. However. Invest more in popular culture by creating movies. Daniel Pipes (director of the Middle East Forum and Taube). TV series. Little did they know that the suspect(s) was/were home-grown white American citizen(s). most of them were neoconservatives with ‘attached’ Israeli propaganda on their belt. are we referring to the religious aspects of it or to political Islam? Are we speaking of Islam as a total way of life that transcends its religious status? . and other tools propagating or germinating informative means that would directly hit or influence people about the stories in the Muslim world. Even Edward Said experienced the orientalist backlash. can extensively invest in ‘international education’ by funding researches about Islam. How can we avoid. Moving on. Said thought that the reason they were calling him was because he was apparently from the Middle East. and moreover. e. and Muslims around the world without political strings attached to them. and solve this “orientalist enterprise?” I suggest that Muslim countries or even non-Muslim countries who sympathized with the goals of Muslim countries can create a multilateral agreement condemning anti-Muslim acts. among others.g. and the Judiciary if your views are pro-Islamic world. Other reasons were my following assumptions or hunches: (1) you cannot penetrate the government’s circle of advisers to the president. concerts. Fouad Ajami (Harvard CIA/Nadav Safran Chair on Middle East Politics). this all changed after the events of 9/11. we should intensively and rigorously look into the etymology of International Relations and Islam. Muslim countries. he was a Christian Palestinian. Edward Said and Noam Chomsky. If we talk about Islam. mitigate.g. particularly the Arab world. documentaries. It was right after the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. e.

or making some independent interpretation for legal decisions. etc. Maliki. sometimes basing them on their own culture to express appropriateness or approximation. it also refers to Muslims practicing their faith in non-Muslim countries. on the other hand. We should be careful in contextualizing these terms and applying them to the present. the Hanafi.6 Introduction How will Islam provide a structure of explanation in interpreting international relations theory? Is IR embedded within the realms of Islam naturally or constructively? IR scholars see Islam as ‘the Other. Indonesia. The abode of Islam does not only refer to Muslim nations or states. They made conflicting and contradicting fatwa (binding or nonbinding) and legal decisions implemented under Shari’ah law. But. a combination of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (practices of Prophet Muhammad). this has weakened Islam because of their different legal interpretations concerning the hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad). which delineated Muslims from non-Muslims by identifying two abodes: the abode of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and the abode of war (Dar al-Harb).’ while most of the Islamic scholars interpret IR as alien. Morocco. It refers to non-Muslim governments which have a peaceful relationship (through binding agreements or treaties) with Muslim governments that prioritize protection and security of Muslims’ land and property. Turkey. in China. Tunisia.e. applicability. the Muslim jurists placed a third abode which is at the middle or between the first two abodes: the abode of covenant (Dar al-Ahd). and Hanbali have developed Islam (on a positive note) as more colourful and evolving. Shafi’I. How is it possible to find a middle ground between two ends of a spectrum? In Islam. had greatly impacted Islam. Sometimes most of the early Muslim jurists relegated the abode of war as the abode of unbelievers (Dar al-Kufr). I think this is because of the dogmas or fatwas imposed by the Hanafi school of law. The concept of ijtihad. Since the inception of the four schools of Islamic laws and jurisprudence within the strand of the Sunni tradition. IR scholars tended to perceive and study Islam in the prism of the secularist epistemology of great Judeo-Christian tradition. the Holy Qur’an. and adjustment. Malaysia. During the Ottoman Empire. and sometimes they no longer refer to the source of Islam. religion and politics are in unison. in contrast with IR. i.. But how will this affect finding a convergence with International Relations? Declaring and imposing different interpretations of Islam by Muslim jurists themselves made it possible for other Muslim jurists in other parts of the world. to give their own interpretations. e. where religion and politics are .g. the concept of separation of Church and government.

then we might find answers. and never the twain shall meet. put all possible ideas and concepts together and initially develop a theoretical or conceptual framework. it is still debatable how Muslim societies are affected and of course how they respond or react to it. She argued that “Islamist movements can be seen as examples of non-state actors par excellence and their impact on the international system can be understood in their capacity to bypass the state and establish direct relations with other societies.” Finding a Remedy? If we are going to look for some putative solution and avoid hindrances. Consequently. The remedy I can think of is to construct or reconstruct ontological propositions and find appropriate epistemology to decipher Islam in the ‘schema’ or views of a specific or certain international relations theory. and West is West.International Relations and Islam 7 totally separated. I do however see it as a useful word for this initiative to denote cases supporting my claim or main idea. It will guide me in determining what things or variables I should look for. most of what I have written here are inquiring ideas that bedazzle my mind regarding Islam and IR. It sounds like a melodramatic sentiment with the ingredients of Rudyard Kipling’s famous saying. . In the context of globalization. East is East. whether ascribing Islam as an ideology or religion towards international relations.” The problem I see here is how she will be able to differentiate those movements that were statedriven with irredentist motivation from those with Islamicate characterizations. “Oh. Though I do not want to use the word ‘variable’ because it is a scientific term. Katerina Dalacoura’s text on “Political Islam and International Relations: A Dangerous Case of Mutual Neglect?” in 2004 talks about the concept of globalization as a via media framework.

8 Introduction Chapters Presentations Two various divisions are presented. And lastly. its democratic experience. and facts. chapter 2 – Doğanyılmaz. Duman deciphers the relations of Islam and democracy via the Arab Spring and Turkish experience. arguments. and the role of a scholar/practitioner. phrases or statements. etc. feminism. chapter 3 – Duman. with various perspectives: significance of Turkey. for any erroneous grammatical or typographical words. The chapters were alphabetically arranged by the author’s surname. and European polity.g. and offer new avenues of insight – illustrating that the symbolism of the Iranian revolution is relevant today. Mea maxima culpa! . details his scholarship and its impact on Turkey’s foreign policy. the first one being general perspectives from different backgrounds or cases: the veil. Ahmet Davutoğlu.” The article on Islamic feminism authored by González “addresses the demographic profile of Islamic feminists based on a pilot study of Kuwaiti college students. e. Please be advised that it is the sole discretion of the chapter’s author regarding how s/he expresses his/her posited claims. chapter 1 – Daniels. Gözaydın’s biographical representation of the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. However.” Doğanyılmaz’s article tells the unique story of Turkey‘s international relations. Daniel’s take on the meaning and political symbol of the veil is to “challenge the Western stereotype that the Islamic veil is oppressive. the editor expresses full responsibility.” Varon discusses the debates and discourses that are taking place in Europe of whether there can be “various levels of integrating Islamic and European principles into a Muslim’s daily life. The second one is a specified case in Turkey.

which has stimulated a great deal of debate since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. and offer new avenues of insight – illustrating that the symbolism of the Iranian revolution is relevant today. such as modernism and nationalism. as in the political realm. “it demands that the Islamic World be on principle . Key Words: Veil. Underlying this claim is the assumption that ideologies. Nowhere is this more evident than in the pervasive practice of veiling among Muslim women. The following study first brings attention to the rise of Islam in political rhetoric. Conventional wisdom assumed Middle Eastern regions and territories would adopt the European model of a nation-state through colonial tutelage. discourse divides the world between two cultural poles: East and West. Hijab. The political map of the Middle East was redrawn to a large extent by European colonial powers in the first half of the twentieth century. through contact with the West. As historian Reinhard Schulze explains. Orientalism.CHAPTER ONE VEIL: MEANING AND FAILURE OF A POLITICAL SYMBOL JESSICA L. Burqa. This dichotomy nonetheless leaves the Middle East in a bind: it is unable to maintain the current state of affairs or to initiate change without inviting accusations of harbouring colonialist aspirations. or at least. as any attempt made by non-European nations to adopt these ideologies is an explicit attempt to copy the West. I end with a discussion of veiling. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 symbolically rejected the Eurocentric ideology that one must conform to Western stereotypes in order to follow Western models of change. and the conflicting interests which it breeds. My foremost aim is to challenge the Western stereotype that the Islamic veil is oppressive. discussing relevant scholarly works. are European in essence. Niqab. where historic Orientalist positions reaffirm Western cultural superiority and Eastern inferiority. Iranian Revolution. DANIELS Abstract: In academia.

Histories written on behalf of modernization theory produced a style of writing and thinking about the Middle East that became prevalent throughout the Developing World. p. . and evidence for the superiority of Western thought. exclusivity. He warns that the history of the West’s efforts on behalf of modernization and development in the Middle East can never be understood unless it is noted how the policy itself produced a thought and habit of seeing the region in a certain way. iv.3. the majority of contemporary writers assume that ideological movements that occurred in Europe were exclusively of European origin. militancy. Since to be modern meant to have a modern state. socialism. the early years of the twentieth century saw the nation-state concept evolve into the ideological and political focus of the Islamic world.10 Chapter One excluded from the history of modernities because it is bound to a religion which it has not traversed the ‘politico-ideological progress that made Europe into a ‘historical idea. There is no doubt that the rise of imperialism and creation of nation-states during the nineteenth century Europe dramatically impacted history. 4 Ibid. 3 Edward Said. but it is false to presume that societies that have not followed the same trajectory are less progressive. Formerly known as Third World. regressive and undemocratic.2 Edward Said illustrates this relationship in Covering Islam. there is not too much to be found there by way of rectification… generally. which engendered the modern world. whereas similar aspirations in other parts of the world are regarded as European imports.3 Engagement with the meaning of modernity became the primary means through which imperialism impacted the Middle East. while also drawing attention to the historical context of secularization. “given the current state of academic studies of Islam. Covering Islam. 1997).2. fatalism. The imperialist design that gave rise to the contemporary Middle East directly influenced the understanding of modernity in the region.’”1 Here. or a tremendous lag between academic 1 2 Reinhard Schulze.”4 The Islamic doctrine can be seen as justifying capitalism. (Vintage Books. a way which increased the political. and thus erased from the history of political entities that did not follow a similar trajectory. For instance. A Modern History of the Islamic World. As Edward Said puts it. revolutionary movements in the Middle East are often depicted as backward. Schulze illustrates the complex divide. p. ecumenism. this has disqualified it to cover Islam in ways that might tell us more than we are otherwise aware of beneath the surface of Islamic societies. emotional and strategic investment in the idea of modernization. For this reason.

and the actions of the few have come to represent the voice of all Muslims. Generally speaking. “Objectivity is accustomed to inhere in learned discourse about other societies. economic and intellectual contexts in which it begins. and economic patterns.6 For this analysis. when it does not provide an accurate account of reality. and the connection between power and knowledge in the modern world. NJ: Princeton University Press. Ibid. Ivii. I will follow Joan Wallach Scott’s interpretation of discourse.html. the majority of academic writing is devoid of regional perspectives. p.” he writes. 8 http://www. scholarship on the Middle East tends to be biased. 6 5 . moral. it is important to begin with a discussion of this discourse. in recent years “Islamic Fundamentalism” has been portrayed in Western media as a major world threat. The term fundamentalist has come to imply a singular identity for the region and religion at large. causing an extremist or militant view. Many academic experts on Islam fail to admit the offensively political context of their work. about the alien. despite the long history of political.twf. emphasizes Said. In other words. This notion of a fixed Muslim culture obscures the realities and complexities of the civilization at large. As such. 7 Joan Scott. and religious concern felt in all societies. Western or Islamic. which she finds to refer to a reading. There is evidence within the discourse of broad generalizations. Prime among such misconceptions is the deployment of religious terminology in contemporary ideologies in the Islamic world.8 It is thus impossible to approach the Islamic world without first disaggregating the history from its historiography. the radical acts of a few politically motivated Islamists (commonly referred to as fundamentalists) are a declaration of the intent of the majority. there is a consensus on ‘Islam’.7. Accordingly. For example. without sufficient knowledge of the region and culture. 2007). which takes the form of making it a scapegoat for everything we do not happen to like about the world’s new political. Ivii. as evidenced in the manifold linkages between academic writings on the Ibid. “to the imposition of meaning on phenomena in the world. the strange and different.”7 While it is false to say that all discourse on Islam and the Middle East is coloured by the political. The Politics of the Veil (Princeton.5 The study of Islam is situated within a biased context as many writers fail to present the objective truth in what they say.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 11 descriptions that particular realities to be found in the Islamic world becomes apparent.

while it is surely inevitable that such styles of politics will be favourably and unfavourably compared.12 Chapter One Middle East and the formulation of foreign policy in the Western world. aside from Iraq. In this instance. shielded from true development. The case of Iran shows that. rather than with Judaism or Christianity. Yet it is evident that Western misinterpretations of Islamic political language have had a number of effects on the historiography of the Middle East.9 Scholarly Rhetoric For the abovementioned reasons. but with a European political discourse. Islam is not communicating with other religions. that before the advent of the United States. . and competed directly and explicitly with liberalism and socialism. Among the many misapprehensions that persisted in modernization theory was one that seemed to have a special pertinence to the Islamic world. that is predominantly Shi’ite. in which freedom. homogenizing structure that lacks basic citizenship rights and freedom. namely. for example. Here. wherein Islam rendered itself a chief adversary to colonialism. Said 30. taking a one-size-fits-all approach to politics for such diverse cultures is not an effective approach. Iran embodies both the essence of Islamic complaint against the West. for example. while representing its unique culture separate from its neighbouring nations. Consider. The consistent failure to introduce Western societal norms into the region abundantly illustrates this point. democracy.10. 9 10 Ibid. Iran.”10 Schulze further emphasizes the tendency of scholars to undervalue change within the Islamic world. political. the following analysis is primarily focused on Iran. the Iranian revolution of 1979. the discourse containing Islamic terms and symbols are not necessarily religious. and instead embodies a “world in which human life does not have the same value as it does in the West. In order to grasp the implications of the ideas being advanced it is important to look at the way in which ideas are expressed and implemented in an effort to highlight the local nature of the global conflict between Islam and the West. and ideological principles. has its own language and is the only nation. He criticizes views that argue that Islam is an authoritarian. “Islam existed in a kind of timeless childhood. p. as the Iranian example highlights the importance of considering religious. Studying this political discourse is best understood through specific political and historical contexts in order to grasp the implications being put forth.

p. 12 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. the field of Middle East studies is obsessed with either disproving allegations of Islamic misogyny. cultural and societal diversity. The separation evidently fuels and shapes European and American political projects within and outside of the region which shape the primarily Muslim Middle Eastern citizens. Of all the culturalist explanations that are invoked to “explain” the alterity of the Islamic world. As Scott describes. into an other to be feared and separated from.”11 Propagated by the media and within academia. which is used principally to highlight the oppression of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran. it thus binds religious difference. “do not need the white man to save them from brown men. and its imagined nemesis. 2000). In the absence of serious studies that aim at understanding how Muslim women figure out their status within what is – like all other societies – a complicated social fabric. the 11 Asef Bayat. or seeks to shield what must be a “helpless” Muslim woman from being deployed as a pawn in the existential conflict between the West. It is a game-changer. Can the Subaltern Speak? (Turia + Kant.287. the East/West dichotomy reinforces the negative stereotype because the complicated West/East division enables simplistic equations to be made. but also because it is quintessentially well-suited to the clash of worldviews that dominate international relations today. most of the current discourse either bemoans the stigmatization of gender in Islamic law. Iran is a particularly fecund site for exploring culturalist explanations of political events. none is more poignant and loaded than the stereotype of an oppressed Muslim woman.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 13 openness and creativity are alien. not only because it is at present considered the West’s single greatest challenge. p. If the veil is seen as the symbol of Islamic oppression. Brought to power in the aftermath of the twentieth century’s last great revolution.”12 This paper will address the political undercurrents of various aspects of the discourse on the veil. the Islamic world. “Brown women. and varied political motives into one solid representation that receives the most scrutiny. Making Islam Democratic. 2007. or confirming the validity of such generalizations.3.” we are told. . (Stanford: Stanford University Press). From apologists to detractors. and its very existence undermines uncritical investigation. the Islamic government in Iran offends not only America’s global hegemony but also attacks liberalism and socialism with equal zeal.

and impressed by his modernizing policies. much of the propagated rhetoric regarding women’s rights was contrary to the vision the electorate. Reza Shah encouraged the formation of a ladies’ centre.14 Chapter One symbolism of the veil reduces differences of ethnicity. The Politics of the Veil. Section 1: Iran in Historical Context The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran sparked a shift in social scholarship regarding the effects of the reinvigoration of Islam in the Iranian state. who was forced to leave Iran in 1979).”13 My analysis seeks to break the cycle of ridicule and present an outlook which is grounded in Iranian history. The role of women within society was of considerable importance for the modernizing aspirations of the Shah. as well as using Islamic political symbolism to foster social cohesion and nation-building among Muslims. To make sense of how the revolution in Iran still holds relevance in contemporary politics. As the Iranian government consolidated its rule. Reza Shah’s attempt to establish a modern Iran centred on the idea of the nation-state as the central form of political organization. Inspired by Kemal Ataturk’s drastic reforms in Turkey. Characterized by centralized authority and military strength. . By focusing on Iran. which is seeking to redress imperialist and domestically generated political injustice. the Shah’s plan was part of a general engagement with the meaning of modernity that became the primary concern for Iran in the early years of the twentieth century. which had symbolic value even for those who did not wear it. The veil became a rallying point. I will show that one of the means through which Middle Eastern political movements can create solidarity is embracing authentic cultural practices that are alien to the culture they are opposing. Reza Shah Pahlavi. I will show how the political discourse created a community of identification for Muslims that might not have existed otherwise. taking into account pluralities within Islamic culture. as well as the relationship of Islamic values to the formation of modern nation states. p. and the nuanced political language of Islam. a culture “that stands in opposition to another singular entity. His mission in 13 Joan Scott. Reza Shah Pahlavi became the leader of Iran after overthrowing the Qajar king in 1925. something to defend. establishing the Pahlavi Dynasty (which ended with his son.17.

and political independence.”16 There was thus an evident distance from those who benefited from Western influence and those who did not. Women in the Middle East (Princeton. and inheritance. thus demonstrating to the world true social justice and true cultural. Accompanying that were several changes made to personal status laws in Iran. caused by the Mohammad Reza Shah’s top down modernization policies. As a result. The country did not have a standing Arzoo Osanloo. divorce.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 15 building this was to prepare the grounds for unveiling women in 1936. guardianship. including laws on marriage. adhering to the tenets of Islam. paved the way for growing opposition to his rule. Khomeini sought to transform the educational and judicial systems and make them compatible with Islam. Beginning of the Pahlavi State World War I ended with the growing influence of British and Russian military and political nobles in Iran. custody. as well as many Islamic groups calling for a reversal of unveiling and reforms throughout the 1960s and 70s. were integrated into the civil legal system and codified in increments during this period. etc. NJ: Princeton University Press. 88. women were encouraged to take up the chador to show that there has been a revolution of profound change in Iran distinct from any revolution that previously occurred in the United States and Europe. Arzoo Osanloo explains. many liberal and Islamic groups began to expand. divorce.15 As Nikki Keddie states. p. economic. 2009). Further. and in popular bazaar class returning to all covering chador. 16 Ibid.) as well as women’s dress. Personal status laws. As such. 15 Nikki Keddie. which in time would lead to an Islamic society. hitherto the domain of the Islamic shari’a. 2006). “it became clear that unveiling was part of a class cultural division with modernized middle and upper classes wearing Western styled clothes. The Politics of Women's Rights in Iran (Princeton. leader of the 1979 revolution. though without face veils. the growing gap between socio-economic classes. NJ: Princeton University Press. argued that the revolution would pave the way for an Islamic Republic. 14 .”14 He instituted policies that affected women’s lives within the public sphere (including laws on marriage. “legal developments [under Reza Shah’s rule] included the formal codification of laws for the first time.25. Ayatollah Khomeini.

Though these political groups have continuously aligned together throughout history to prevent foreign intrusion and corrupt government practices.20 The condition of the state under the rule of Ahmad Shah Qajar (r. 18 Azerbaijan is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east. The Germans played on anti-British and anti-Russian sentiments. Reza Shah’s succession came at a time when international powers posed a significant threat to the country’s territorial integrity. but Iran was strategically located and four powers used it as a battlefield. his attempts at state building were favoured by political elites who saw a strong central government as the surest guarantee of Iran’s independence. the last ruler of the dynasty. the lower house of the Iranian government that came into power at the conclusion of the 1906-07 Constitutional Revolution. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New York: Yale University Press. 2006). lacked the military power to resist their European adversaries and to prevent the country from becoming a pawn between the two superpowers.’ a learned individual. more commonly associated with religious scholars. and the bazaris – urban merchants involved in small scale production. 12-13. 21 Anasri. p.13. p.ix. therefore.21 The coup d’état that eventually saw the appointment of Reza Pahlavi to the throne marks a turning point in modern Iranian history.17 Keddie describes the political climate of this time in Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution: “when war began.’ Ibid. was weak and decentralized. see Ali Ansari. The Turks moved into Azerbaijan18 in the fall of 1914 after the Russians withdrew. 17 . Modern Iran since 1921. Armenia to the west. 2003). Majlis is literally translated as ‘Assembly.”19 With Russian influence spreading in the northern part of the country. 1909-25). and generally utilized with reference to the clerical class. If Iran was to withstand further European interference the government had Anasri notes: Ulama is the plural of ‘m. pp. the ulama – the religious scholars. The Iranian monarchy’s lack of initiative regarding reforms crucial to preventing foreign intrusion led political interest groups to consider regime change. 20 Anasri. Modern Iran since 1921: The Pahlavis and After (Longman. 19 Nikki Keddie.’ or more commonly as ‘Parliament. banking and trade.16 Chapter One army and. this time they diverged on specific issues of reform and the means of limiting Qajar power.73. Modern Iran since 1921. Iran to the south. p. Georgia to the northwest.32. and Russia to the north. the Iranian government declared neutrality. Reza Shah successfully overthrew the standing Qajar monarch in 1921. Among them were the Majlis – the parliament. Because of the rise of European imperialism in the Middle East at the conclusion of World War I.

Although the Shah’s power was met with little opposition from the Majlis and political elites. . this program was met with opposition from the bazzaris who would be deprived of labourers. As Anasri puts it. 26 Ibid. By 1923 Reza Shah was the prime minister and was pushing through fundamental social and political reforms in the country.23 A month later the Majlis invested dynastic sovereignty in him. it is primacy over all other organs of government.25 The Shah also imposed the draft as an instrument to state building.38. the reforms initiated by the Shah were contrary to his promises. the Majlis and the bazzaris was further severed with the initiation of a universal conscription program. Ghods who states. The Shah’s relationship with the ulama. p. Schulze. were viewed by the ulama as a break with the country’s traditional government and the reordering of society to a Western model. Modern Iran since 1921.85. and the Maljis terminated Qajar rule. Anasri points out that the Shah’s changes. p. he was seen as a modernizing reformer who could give Iran national unity and restore the country’s pride and independence. The monarch’s reliance on military force as the way to build a strong centralized state is one of the main defining characteristics of the of Pahlavi autocracy. “needless to say this enthusiasm for the military.28. p. Justice and Education.R.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 17 to change. Thus.”26 Therefore. p. 25 Ibid.24 For example. and the general trend towards the militarizing of society which is presaged did not bode well civil-military relations in the Pahlavi era. A Modern History of the Islamic World. In Modern Iran Since 1921. the early years of Reza Pahlavi’s ruling were spent on a series of opportunistic moves directed toward maintaining government control and gaining support of the political elites and intellectuals. The army’s grasp on civilian life and the lack of representative government formed the basis for political opposition to Pahlavi rule to 22 23 Ibid.”22 There was initially no marked opposition to the reform measures by Reza Pahlavi. acting conversely with the orders of the ulama. 24 Anasri. in establishing an army aimed to centralize state power the government was met with opposition. Ali Ansari draws attention to the work of M. including the registration of family names and the adoption of a new calendar. “In the early years of Reza Khan’s rise to power.45. and the weak Qajar dynasty (1779-1925) to be deposed. However. he established ten new ministries including Financial Affairs.

87. p. (New York: Princeton University Press 1982).30 Although Reza Pahlavi’s reforms were undertaken to create a unified nation. 30 Ibid. p.18 Chapter One come throughout the twentieth century.28 This clashed dramatically with many of the religious and moral values of Iranian society. 29 Nikki Keddie.html. In other words. A Modern History of the Islamic World. an Islamic society was resistant to changing its attitudes towards veiling because of the law. Laws requiring unveiling were later enforced by literally pulling the veil off women’s heads. As Evrand Abrahamian tells in Iran Between Two Revolution. 32 Ibid.”31 Subsequently. Schulze states. along with his overreliance on the military as the predominant instrument of governance eventually created an authoritarian dictatorship in Iran. Moreover. NJ: Princeton University Press. On Jan 8. the country lacked a representative counterpart. 31 Ervand Abrahamian. 28 27 . policies such as this led to the decline of Reza Shah’s popular appeal. The existence of the government was based on strong militaristic was strong inasmuch as it had at its disposal powerful means of coercion. From that day. incremental centralization was met with increased resistance.84. “the Pahlavi state.44. Consequently. thereby officially outlawing the veil. http://www.85.fouman.”27 The most profound change enacted by the Shah was the elimination of the veil.29 The Shah’s regime remained absent of a political compromise that could protect a balance of power and simultaneously legitimize the regime. Women in the Middle East (Princeton. p. and had not succeeded in convoking a national congress that would depart from the tradition of the Majlis.32 The weak connection between the monarch and the bureaucracy.149. p. Iran Between Two Revolutions. Ansari notes that while the Shah sought to suppress the traditional elites they were not and could not be eliminated. and the army itself controlled vast realms of the bureaucracy and was in practice the executive body of the various reforms. although the monarchy was preserved. 1936 Reza Shah announced the law according which wearing chador was against the law. The Allies deposed the Shah in 1941 as he displayed increased affinity for the German bloc in the early days of the Second Schulze. “The new Shah deliberately gave himself a military appearance. 2006). p. in short. But it was weak in that it failed to cement its institutions of cohesion into the class structure. the police were ordered to forcibly remove the veil from women if necessary.

Schulze affirms that when “Mohammad Reza Pahlavi succeeded to the throne of Iran…major landowners.133. . p.”35 In coming to power. the Shah did little to develop the political system and concentrated his reforms on the armed forces.”34 Even though the new Shah initially made efforts to reform the government. which fostered increasing resistance to his dictatorial regime. was increasingly prepared to engage in repressive and dictatorial acts. The disposal of the Shah was not met with opposition because he was not able to maintain the loyalties of the three previously mentioned groups: bazaaris. Ibid. The Shah attempted to consolidate his power. A Modern History of the Islamic World. 1941. the Shah initiated policies aimed at preventing an oppositionist movement like Mossadeq’s from succeeding again. Iran Between Two Revolutions. enlarging the army. who had earlier struck outsiders as an uncertain young man who had grown up fearing his harsh father.36 This move was 33 34 Schulze. From the 1950s onward. p. However. 35 Ibid. the Iranian government restored diplomatic relations with Britain. like his father. The Young Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Reza Shah’s detached and dictatorial style of government is seen as the main reason for why the Allies took control of Iran on August 15. Throughout the Cold War. and the following year concluded a new oil program in the following year that reversed Mosaddeq’s nationalization policy. the Allies promoted his young son. and establishing a secret police. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the throne (r.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 19 World War. 36 Abrahamian. p. strengthen his regime and institutionalize the monarchy by creating the Resurgence Party (1975). court patronage and state bureaucracy. businessmen and constitutionalist ulama formed an energetic opposition to the imperial family.442. the Shah increasingly sought to expand state control over the economic and social spheres. his image remained tarnished. Keddie describes “the Shah himself. For the next quarter of the century. p.141. 1941-79). The period following the oil nationalization crisis marked a turning point in the development of the Iranian state. mainly as a result of the public’s lingering distrust of his father’s policies. the Shah laid down the foundation for a centralized state. the Shah consolidated his rule by suppressing the opposition.85. which was still dependent on the army. In December 1953. ulama and Majlis.33 In his stead.

441.333. Modern Iran. The authoritarian rule of the Shah prevented Iranian social groups from participating in the Iranian government and also undermined the ulama.39 For example. with those rights inevitable becoming subjected to the will of the autocrat. 38 The Pahlavi regime was continuously whittling away the ulama’s power and influence. p.42 By the end of 1977. which would serve as the only channel for political activity in the country.41 It became increasingly clear that an opposition movement could appeal to the masses. p. p. In May 1964. numerous incidents of “mysterious” beatings and bombings of oppositionist and protesters were attributed to the Shah. Abrahamian argues that the overall goal of the Resurgence Party was to “transform the somewhat old fashioned military dictatorship into a totalitarian-style one-party state” by means of mobilizing the public.20 Chapter One intended to create a single political party.216. and French civil codes took the place of most Islamic laws. contingent on an agreement preventing them from publicly opposing the regime. the judiciary was entirely reconstructed. Modern Iran. 39 Keddie. jailing and torture) and the “cooptation of oppositionists. 40 Ansari. the protests turned directly against the regime.43 37 38 Ibid. In 1963 protests against the Shah gathered stream. modern educated lawyers replaced traditional judges. p. 42 Ibid. “reformist intellectuals…had been witness to an on-going struggle between the dominance of the state-often personalized by an autocrat-and the rights of the individual.”40 Those involved were met with repression (i. Ansari writes. a group of lawyers protested the rushed changes in the judicial system.134. it allowed him to position himself above the state. Ibid. 43 Ibid. p. and the extension of state into traditional bazaars. p. Two months later they demanded an end to the special courts and strict encroachment in judiciary affairs by the executive branch. the Shah cut government subsidies for the ulama and secularized the education system.217. Modern Iran Since 1921.e. 37 The army was a critical focus for the Shahs efforts at modernization.” which offered government jobs to individuals who resisted the government. . By October. monopolizing the links between the regime and the government. Ansari claims that the Shah pushed ‘political Islam’ to the side-lines and restricted religious festivals and other practices of public life. consolidating control over office employees. factory workers and the rural population.251. 41 Keddie.

Keddie argues that the movement intended to link Shi’ism to modern ideas. “remnants” of the National Front. On one side was the Shah and his military. imperialism and conservative clericalism. Other opposition movements lost momentum due to the “uncompromising Khomeini in 44 45 Ibid. 48 Ibid. students and workers. he sought to make Persian society an object of its own history. “deciding that true Shi’ism opposed not only despotism but also capitalism. Schulze argues that the Islamic language used by reformers “acquired radical forms in intellectual discussions in Iran. which would be one of his most “fatal missteps. Khomeini gained popularity as his refusal to negotiate with the monarchy and his claim that the problems could be solved by a return to Islam appealed to the masses. p. founded in 1961 and led by Mehdi Bazargan and Ayatollah Mahmud Talequani. p. . A Modern History of the Islamic World. tension was personalized. 46 Ibid. Among the earliest was the Freedom Movement. Keddie argues that the Shah miscalculated the strength of the religious opposition. had ties to the growing resistance who voiced their views and concerns in Islamic terms – the “religious opposition. Schulze posits that the critique of the West was “no longer defensive but offensive. had steadily depended after 1973. Khomeini. 50 Ibid. who also resisted the West and the spread of Western ways. p.”50 Throughout the 1970s.”49 By using Islamic discourse in political rhetoric.222. In order for change to occur. predominantly middle class. p. eventually leading to the revolution of 1979. where the gap between a military dictatorship disguised as an empire on one hand.44 The leaders altered the traditional interpretation of Shi’ism.”46 Historians have made the case that the Shah underestimated the country’s problems and overestimated his ability to solve them. and a bourgeoisie society on the other. Ibid.225.220. the ulama and the Muslim community.222.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 21 Islam had emerged as the dominant representation of revolutionary thought in the early 1970s.47 For example. 47 Ibid. and on the other.”45 As suggested by Keddie.”48 The revolutionary movement aligned with the bazaaris. 49 Schulze. the Shah’s injustice needed not only to be known but also to be widespread.135. p. parts of various opposition groups.

200.” It aimed at the recognition of truisms and standards which were accepted as established indisputable principles of social development.232. “exploiting the frustration of the population over the economy. Islam had a vast mobilizing effect in uniting the disparate elements of the Iranian opposition to the Shah. and he was able to spread more rhetoric from outside the country than from inside. called for the overthrow of the monarchy.225. p. the regime imposed martial law.55 The protests grew into a popular rebellion against the regime. who had been expelled to Iraq from France on October 6.53 Even though he was in exile. p. as a response to growing protests. Modern Iran Since 1921. Schulze explains. p. Khomeini.”51 Keddie attributes Khomeini’s success to his remarkable familiarity with the political aspiration of the Iranian populace. Nikki Keddie.22 Chapter One revolutionary circumstances. In the ensuing weeks. the army killed more than 3. the Islamic opposition succeeded by the end of the year.”54 By September 1978. 55 Ibid. the thought of Islam as ideology. A Modern History of the Islamic World. As the symbol for revolutionary ideology. From 1977 to 1978 Khomeini’s popularity grew and his words determined revolutionary action. ideas derived from the teaching of the Qur’an were an affective force of unifying political action. For intellectuals. 51 . and not necessarily those of its elites. 54 Schulze. p. There were more demonstrations and an increased number of protesters. “ideological thought or. but rather.57 Islam was no longer bound to the ulama. After more attempts among urban nationalists to reactivate the 1906 constitution and give the bourgeoisie a voice in society.224.000 people. 1978. 52 Ibid. p. p.52 At this juncture.249. (New York: Yale University Press. his expulsion helped motivate the rebellion. Islamic ideology connected dispersed revolutionary ideologies. 53 Ibid.233.56 The Islamic discourse was practical and not theoretical. was essentially different from the classical religious experience of the world. 2006). 57 Ansari.224. 56 Ibid. Iran’s military was placed in control of civil administration and maintenance of the public peace. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. p. which could respond to harsh societal conditions.

mainly supported by the intellectuals. This new interpretation of Islam. A Modern History of the Islamic World. 61 Ibid.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 23 Secular Islamism By the mid-1970s.59 As a collective authority.” had steadily depended after 1973.274. argues Schulze. p. the political elite had been divided. 1994). Islam and Revolution. p. His writings were by then widely available in Iran through underground channels. was no longer bound to the ulama but rather was instituted to be the channel for liberation. and drawing on his religious standing to mobilize popular support. overcame other revolutionary forms.221. Khomeini claimed it was the duty of Islamic scholars to mobilize and communicate with the people. & annotated Hamid Algar (Berkeley: Mizan Press. 1981). p. 62 Theda Skocpol. which were due to their ‘inadequacy. therefore.’ the different variants of these ideologies were contained in Islam. when he was sent into exile as a result of his sermons blaming the regime for its unabashed espousal of Western values and its desire to sever Iran from its historical and cultural roots. Since the Shah had taken away the ulama’s authority in the government. The ulama transmitted their ideological and political views to form the essence of change that would reach its climax at the end of the 1970s. p.60 Islamic language “acquired radical forms in intellectual discussions in Iran. offering an ideological critique of the Pahlavi regime. He viewed the clergy as the only part of society that did not give way to foreign influence. Khomeini had first entered the political life of Iran in the early 1960s. Khomeini sought to bridge the gap the Shah had created between the intellectuals and the clergy.58 It was in this context that Khomeini emerged as a leading member of the opposition. and a bourgeois society on the other. where the gap between military dictatorship disguised an empire on one hand. 60 Ibid. Ruh Allah Khomeini.30. tr. the angered ulama and their followers continuously reacted against the monarchy’s unpopular ideology and consolidation of power. but Khomeini was able to channel mass political action with a visibly uncompromising moral leadership.61 Previously.221. Islam lent a voice that could overcome other ideologies. Schulze. which would neutralize them all.”63 Islam.62 Schulze claims that “Islam contained the pivotal ideas of all Western ideologies and in addition the solutions to their inherent contradictions. A Modern History of the Islamic World. 63 Schulze. Social Revolutions in the Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 59 58 .

226. Khomeini believed Iran needed to unify an entity political system essentially foreign to the West. and urged the necessity of an Islamic government. served as the language for independence. and he used that vocabulary in innovative terms. Keddie. He referred back to the 1906-07 constitutional movement.175. Further. In order for Iran to gain control over its own authority. Modern Iran. Khomeini targeted the government that favoured non-Iranian trade and industry. p. Islam was both organizationally and culturally decisive in the making of the Iranian Revolution against the Shah dictatorship. reflective of the will of Iranian citizens. . Khomeini’s message of nativism overrides all other authorities foreign to Iran. Khomeini used Islamic language to validate and authenticate his political persuasions. therefore. when speaking about government rulers. the ulama. and carious plans for “modernization. p. Khomeini criticized the institution of monarchy itself. there could not be any compromise. p. while the term is most commonly used when speaking about the political head of an Islamic community. In this manner. For that reason. he argued that Islamic ordinances were added to 64 65 Ibid. Khomeini cleverly attributed the political demise of the Islamic world and its subjugation by colonial powers. A Modern History of the Islamic World.66 In his work.65 He believed the only solution to combating corruption was to eliminate European influence.24 Chapter One Islamic language.” which weakened political and economic cohesion. he highlighted the illegitimacy of the political elite. In order to eliminate foreign domination. Khomeini speaks of the disunity within the Islamic world as part of the objective of the imperialist powers in the Middle East. Khomeini reconfigured secular here as not liberated from religious obligations but as a perversion of ideal norms of governance.223. In other words. For example. he effectively painted this demise as poor by insinuating that it deviated from Islamic norms. he used the word Caliph. and was therefore secular. any message that acted as welcoming to foreign powers was seen to undermine Iranian authority.64 Because the Qur’an and Islam are not limited temporally. arguing with much acuity that it was impossible for a ruler to head a veritable Islamic community unless the law of Islam is dominant and the ruling elite are the custodians of that law. He purposely integrated Qur’anic language to strengthen the opposition’s aspirations. namely. 66 Schulze. when there was a popular quest for democratic principles. For Khomeini. Islam and Revolution. which has characterized Islamic societies since the mid-seventh century.

Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 25 what was in essence a Western code of law to deceive the people. it is 67 68 Ibid. p. and denounced the credibility of Islam as a method to further political and economic aims. 69 Skocpol.72 Islam became the actor of liberation. This institution ran parallel to the civil order and assumed the character of an Islamic government.71 As such.77. Modern Iran. Islam and Revolution 1: Writings and Declaration of Imam Khomeini. and various plans for “Westernization” and “modernization. and universal frustration with the pace of change. rather than the state. Therefore. societal disorientation.”69 Skocpol held the Pahlavi policy responsible for curbing clerical influence in Iran. 71 Ibid. p. 70 Ibid. Khomeini’s message emphasized the need for Iranian nationalism to position itself separate from the West and speak for itself. explaining that the success of Khomeini was that he was able to channel mass political action in a “visibly uncompromising moral leadership. Rentier State and Shi’a Islam in the Iranian Revolution.274. p. but rather in opposition to the connection between European imperial politics and the prior intellectual advocacy. p.68 Khomeini endorsed a “government by jurists.267. Theda Skocpol’s “Rentier State and Shi’a Islam in the Iranian Revolution” suggests that “revolution was straightforwardly the product of societal disruption.30. This influenced Khomeini to target the monarchy. . Khumayni. the question of legitimate political leadership was not a question that could be measured by a “Western or technical standard.67 The Shah’s regime took advantage of these cosmetic Islamic components to mislead the people and to enhance its legitimacy.32.”70 Therefore. For this argument. p. rather than a singular unit of authority. ‘modern’ politics.” led by the ulama.” but rather in a medium that would possess or could attain the appropriate political resources. to change the revolutionary fight for society.” which weakened the country’s political and economic cohesion in order to gain more power. The discourse born out of the Revolution of 1979 was not against contemporary. 72 Keddie. p. it is important to emphasize that Islam is a bonding force. who favoured nondomestic trade and industry.226. and not an all-encompassing unit. the liberating authority. Foreign powers encouraged Muslims to deviate from their own culture. It separated itself from other opposition groups and established its own political public that would surmount the ideas of the earlier generation.

74 Khomeini sought to bind the idea of an Islamic state and a republic. based on the approval of laws in accordance with the opinion of the majority.56.” was able to unify the nation because it was not an alien or foreign idea. has absolute authority over all individuals and the Islamic government.”77 Furthermore. “velayat-e faqih.”73 Unlike the Shah. summarized in the concept of the guardianship of the Islamic jurist. He writes that Islamic government is constitutional. Khomeini expressed uncompromising abruptness the restoration of the constitution. Khomeini put his personal authority behind the need to establish a republic. “even secularist liberal and leftist groups and parties were willing to ally with Islamists and greatly underestimated the possibility of their political ascendancy as the old government was overthrown. 77 Ibid.56. Islam and Revolution 1: Writings and Declaration of Imam Khomeini. divine command. Islam and Revolution 1: Writings and Declaration of Imam Khomeini p. It is constitutional in the sense that the rulers are subject to a certain set of conditions in governing and administering the country. social contract. Keddie explains. who chose to align themselves with the Islamic groups in their attempt to bring down the Pahlavi state. p. .. 76 Khumayni. 240.e. Khomeini’s government. i. “the law of Islam.26 Chapter One inaccurate to represent Khomeini as a repressive figure seeking to return to a medieval past because he refused all things foreign to Iran. p.75 Concepts such as majority rule. Khumayni. but “not constitutional in the current or Western sense of the word. 75 Anasri. which would create an Islamic republic. The undisputed hegemony of Islamist political language in mobilizing popular support was recognized by Khomeini’s political foes. Some adopted the veil as a form of protest. and representation were taken into account and bound with Islamic principles.”76 He further explains. Velayat-e faqih represents a concept necessary to protect and preserve Islam and deliver a just government reflective of the will of the people. The Islamic government is a government contingent on law.13. Modern Iran since 1921. This consent and acceptance facilitates the task of government and makes 73 74 Keddie. Velayat-e faqih draws attention to the necessity of an authoritative government to deliver a just system. The body of Islamic laws that exist in the Qur’an and the Sunna has been accepted by the Muslims and recognized by them as worthy of obedience.

and a symbol of the subordination of Iranian women. to consolidate power. the governing elite used veiling and unveiling as an instrument of control. in a republic or a constitutional monarchy. as well as between Europe/America and the Middle East/North Africa. p. has led to an increasingly harsh critique when it comes to questions of women’s freedom. The history and internal dynamism of Iranian society. Since it was based on laws in accordance with the opinion of the majority of the clerics it was able to rule over society. the Islamic government’s political and cultural tendencies refuted Western influence. Mandatory wearing of the chador became obligatory. there has been an urgent attempt by Iranian feminists to prove that demands for women’s rights in Iran are not simply a foreign import. Ibid. After the 1979 revolution in Iran.80 In the past three decades. since the conclusion of the Revolution. Above any other symbol of Muslim identity. 80 Ibid. This quest for authenticity by the women’s movement developed as a result of the anti-West discourses by secular nationalists and also of the Islamists who took power in 1979. most of those claiming to be representatives of the majority of the people will approve anything they wish as law and then impose it on the entire population.78 27 The principles for the Islamic republic were found in the Qur’an.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol it truly belong to the people. p. sparking revolts between 1979 and 1980 against the dictum. 78 79 Ibid. Criticisms of the veil within the context of repressive measures by the government and the importance and significance of the veil have been interpreted according to the social and political conditions of European societies. The veil is without doubt the unprecedented allegory of the differences between Western feminism and Islamic feminism. none has been more salient than debates of wearing the chador. Many argue that the veil was a representation of power and victory by the Islamic government. particularly the social praxis of Iranian women.79 Islam. In contrast. In the vast constellation of issues that concern the legal and social standing of women in Iran. the veil is viewed by Westerners as a dominant symbol of oppression of women and the Muslim woman’s subservience to men. represents an established executive power in the same way that it has brought laws into being. .41.55. As noted in the previous chapter. therefore.

2010). <www. (New York: University of Washington Press. ignored and branded as Westoxification by nationalists and Islamists. However. it is not accurate to assume that the Islamic veil is wholly oppressive. This is a paradox—on the one hand the veil is reintroduced and family law is changed. Secular activism. they have found avenues of self-expression. for the most part. and supported this view in revolutionary Iran. modelled after key non-Iranian Islamic women (e.82 While it is true that during the first decade of the Islamic regime secular women and feminists experienced brutal repression and demoralization. Examples include films directed by Tahmineh Milani.g. and women novelists shock the market by producing one bestseller after another. Iran and the Surrounding World. It is essential to note.” Encyclopaedia Iranica. etc. The ruling clerics under Khomeini prescribed and dictated a uniform and exclusively Islamic identity for women. He considered the oppression of women a result of cultural imperialism. p. literary. began gradually in artistic films. 2002). and novels by Shahrnush Parsipur. women are barred from running for the presidency. modelled after Fatima. especially connections with international feminist discourse and women’s movements. 82 Keddie.83 Scholarly Representation of Muslim Women The following chapter identifies the impacts of global contact. Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad. modern Islamic position. He encouraged women to veil and embrace Iranian indigenous culture rather than becoming “western dolls. there is a constant. in scholarship on the Islamic World. 112. Film and Society in the Islamic Republic (London: Routledge. especially put forth by women. Zoya Pirzad.” distracting men from an opposition and encouraging a Western-style consumerist society. depriving Muslims of their values in order to exploit them. the daughter of The Prophet Mohammed). Politic of Iranian Cinema.20. resulting in passive resistance after the Iran-Iraq war and Khomeini’s death in 1989.81 Ali Shari’ati presented an activist. In a society that seeks to bar women. Women in the Middle East. historical and journalistic writings. however.28 Chapter One During the post-revolutionary decade of the>. 83 “Fiction: Post-Revolutionary Period. 81 . and Fattaneh Hajj Sayyid Javadi. any resistance to the mandates throughout the revolutionary decade (1970-80) were. reliable stream of highly-acclaimed films.iranica. that this model has remained contradictory and irrelevant to Nikki Keddie. Rakhshan Bani-Etemad.

p. p. with Muslims seen as a dangerous group of unbelievers. goes back to religious and military confrontations including the Arabs and later Ottoman Empire in Europe.86 This separation.252. Politicians. either totally repressed or erotic objects. 88 Ibid. Since then. specific negative attitudes toward Islam combined religious. generally. (1) Iranian women have been an object in the plans of Islamists who intended to deconstruct women’s subjectivity and construct them according to their own fantasies and ideals for women in post- 84 85 Keddie. and as needing Western control or tutelage to gain any rights. family and personal power. p. 86 Ibid.251 Ibid. Women in the Middle East.”85 This meant a growing differentiation in gender norms. views held in studies of women in Iran. 89 Ibid.88 Westerners frequently stressed the role of women in Islamic societies in terms of their inferiority. Keddie describes. p. and colonial attitudes. “the hostility was more toward Islam than to the Orient. it has flowered. It is important to note that growing Western domination has led more middle and upper class men and women to have ties to the West and to adopt many Western ways as a way to “build up national.253. “the study of women in the Middle East was almost dormant for the quarter century after 1945. Section 2: Academic Feminism In her Women and the Middle East. and journalists spread these attitudes during a growing period of Western domination in Muslim lands. Nikki Keddie describes. racial. “Muslim women were widely seen as little better than slaves. Keddie describes.252.253.”84 The following analysis will be limited to some of the important issues of the modern period. there is no agreement among Islamist ideologies over the characteristics of this model. Keddie explains. In addition. 87 Ibid. . p. Keddie tells us.”87 Moreover. with the second group increasingly associated with “traditional” ways and the other associated with the West. missionaries.”89 Many viewed women’s “bad” conditions as stemming directly from Islam. p. The following two claims represent.253.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 29 contemporary realities across the Islamic world. especially in the United States but also elsewhere.

Farah. and Muslim women become symbolic of the war on terrorism. pp. immutable. Within the discussion there arises a paradox between the religious and the secular. or as Keddie describes. there is a misunderstanding with regard to the veiling of women. however. labour-force participation). 91 90 . women should be invisible in order to mitigate their danger to Muslim society as they are assumed to be the sources of temptation. “that economic stagnation in the contemporary Middle East is importantly related to women’s status” (including low levels of education. where examination of either relies on a paradigm shift with regard to such social and psychological issues as oppressive and helplessness ideas.90 (2) Mandatory veiling causes Muslim women to occupy a subordinate status. In accordance with the underlying theory of the veil.91 Views such as the above mentioned. are subject to various forms of oppression.92 Such narrow perspectives misinterpret Islamic societies. assuming that they are homogenous. are enabling inflexible viewpoints with regard to the Muslim world. thus legitimizing the position that Westerners have a moral obligation to interfere with the sovereignty of another nation in order to liberate a segment of the population from subjugation. The act of covering the hair voluntarily has become controversial. it reinforces an image that society at large should be sympathetic to their experience. When transmitted into political contexts. and how it is oppressive and at the same time has not barred Iranian women from participating in society. “A Forum on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran. health.783-90. 104:3 (2002). the perceived discrimination emerges as an encompassing view. The apologetic response tends to ignore other problems women faced in the Middle East. as many feminists question the legitimacy of a woman’s decision to do so.” Ibid. This argument holds true for many scholars and feminists. Disobedient women. creating a seemingly huge divide between “us” and “them” based on the treatment or positions of women in society. 92 Keddie. Unfortunately. who have given much attention Shilandari.93 Furthermore. 93 Lila Abu-Lughod. and forced women into a subordinate status.30 Chapter One revolutionary Iran. for example. p. “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Reflections on Cultural Relativism and its Others”: American Anthropologist.273. if the veil is viewed as the symbol of oppression and women as symbols of domination. according to Islamic logic. Consequently there has been a reaction to responding to the criticisms of Middle Eastern society apologetically. Women in the Middle East.

The Politics of the Veil. forming a kind of uniformity through which individual differences disappear. however. Most prominent among these opponents of veiling are Islamic feminists. Such assumptions represent women as condemned by the dominant Islamic culture and construct an identity reflecting a denial of free will and choice. and those who criticize secular reforms. 94 . assumes the veil covers a woman’s true self. the question of women is denied any specificity. The veil symbolizes the resistance narrative and emphasizes the dignity and validity of native customs “in particular those customs coming under fiercest colonial attack. cannot be confused with a lack of agency or even traditionalism. Thus. Western women were also a symbol of “military strength. chador.”96 Contrastingly the Islamic “traditional” position suggested that these symbols were often associated with old regimes and ways of life. the customs relating to women. 96 Ibid. than an attempt to create a social construct of what it means for women to cover Fatima Merissi (1997. 1991) is often acclaimed the most prominent Muslim feminist. 95 Joan Scott. reduces differences of ethnicity. The symbolism of the veil. burqa. cultural and social divides.”95 As the symbolic value of the veil became prominent in political movements.”97 The assumption. a “culture that stands in opposition to another singular entity. and the need to tenaciously affirm them as a means of resistance to western domination. p.11.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 31 to the historical oppression of women focusing on the issue of veiling. 97 Ibid. much of the existing body of research reduces the culture to a level of comparison to the economic relations between “developed” and “developing” countries. In Iran. 17.94 Many analyses oppose the veil and void of the experience of women who choose to cover and feel reduced by Western women. 12. it simultaneously was contested. or veil is one of the few Islamic traditions that Muslims share across multiple ethnic. Symbolism of Veil The hijab. and arguments formed two poles: those who regard the Western woman as superior. as presented in the above paragraph. Joan Wallach Scott explains. The veil. If this narrow view of veiling is the consistent assumption for the Islamic woman. and only after these regimes were overthrown could a new version of Islam and tradition become politically potent. participation in government [and] increased citizen and gender equality.

Ibid. for example. France’s burka ban). however. whether it is imposed or voluntary.32 Chapter One their head. pp. has “unrecognized psychological effects on its wearer.” using the notion of difference as a marker to make Islamic culture seem more patriarchal and detrimental to the lives of women. in fact. where she claims. p. p. She argues that the veil. The West is a constant referent for veiling advocates. . the problem with the aforementioned view is that it reinforces the binary of “us” and “them. It is another to conflate women’s capacity to seek respect and bodily autonomy with men’s incapacity to change their worldviews or create viable political and economic institutions. Lazreg’s Letters to Muslim Women.101 So while her initial claim was to not “fray” on one side or the other of the for/against debate. In fact. thus delivering one more Orientalist misunderstanding to the complex Islamic culture. Further.100 So while she claims to argue that there are many misunderstandings regarding Islam. Lazreg does not acknowledge the central problem: that Muslim women should have the choice regardless of furthering one type of system or another.121-122 100 Ibid. speaking in broad generalizations gives the veil a voice and power of its own. Take. dangerously functioning as an agent of oppressed Muslim women in need of rescue.. fails to legitimize Islam as a discourse and avoids the complex history and religion. Its enduring role in women and men’s imaginary needs to be demystified. To think that veiling oneself constructively assuages anger at the West is illusionary.11. that the veil is too politicized and signifies oppression. Lazreg’s analysis fails to see the symbolism. when.99 Lazreg. her work is full of contradictions and reveals prejudices and preconceptions of the author. the reality is not one-dimensional. It is one thing to oppose western prejudices against Islam and Western incursions in Muslim countries.g. perceiving voluntary veiling as a return to the past. she fails to speak without an apologetic tone. The Politics of the Veil. she clearly does not 98 99 Joan Scott. 122 101 Ibid. and instead. fails to recognize that forced removal in the modern women’s movements politicized the veil even more (e. 11. the reveiling trend deflects attention from the problems such as the elusive political rights onto a resymbolization of the veil. Anthropologist Marina Lazreg’s work is relevant for the reason that it compiles many of the debates regarding Muslim women and the veil.”98 Her overall conclusion.

Laura Bush’s plan of action was to send American troops over to Afghanistan and liberate these oppressed women. and the dynamics in Middle Eastern culture. to rescue them from men or oppressive religious traditions. evidently seeing themselves as an enlightened group with the vision and freedom to help suffering women elsewhere receive their rights. us versus them.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 33 represent Islam with a validity or reverence. or Letters to Muslim Women. creating a false representation of these women.” 104 she claims. “the fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women. Anthropologist Lila Abu Lughod focuses on the relationship between cultural forms and power. coalitions. and solidarity.784 104 Abu-Lughod. economic and political motives with the liberation of women. instead of salvation: 102 103 Ibid. civilized versus backward. p. the politics of knowledge and representation. Abu-Lughod seems to assume ignorance on the part of Western women regarding the conditions of Afghan women. and reinforces a worldview organized in terms of good versus evil. Abu-Lughod. liberal feminists feel the need to speak for and on behalf of Muslim women in a language of women’s rights or human rights.102 This paradox is best explained through the example of the War on Terrorism declared by the American government in the aftermath of the terrorist attack of September 11. Abu-Lughod argues firmly for a more egalitarian language of alliances. Similar to the missionaries of the early twentieth century. proclamations. refers to the old history of such rhetoric from the West. 2001.784-85 . She notes that American claims of “liberating” and “saving” Afghan women in its “war on terror” against the Taliban. morally upright versus ideologically compromised. Laura Bush couches the rhetoric of liberating the Muslim woman in terms of human (specifically women’s) rights. This creates a power dynamic associated with Westerners being established as saviours coming to save the poor woman.19.103 The fixation with constructing differences with other cultures on the basis of a piece of clothing is detrimental because there are more serious issues at hand. Abu-Lughod highlights the danger of linking imperialistic. pp. In viewing her preparatory notes for an interview she was doing with Laura Bush regarding Muslim women in Afghanistan. They write histories. p.

107. they reduce the choices that exist in their experiences to social behaviours rather than to personal behaviour. is that it assumes an ahistorical unity among Muslim women based on the notion of their subordination. we risk overlooking the choice embedded in the decision.34 Chapter One Instead of questions that might lead me to the exploration of interconnectedness we were offered ones that worked to artificially divide the world into separate spheres – recreating an imaginary geography of West verses East. they risk overlooking the choice embedded in the decision. US verses Muslims. In doing so. 107 Ibid. She states. In doing so.furthermore she enfolds herself in a gamut of behaviour patterns stemming from the unacknowledged self-deception that veiling entails. Lazreg.105 A more productive approach would consider making the world a more just place. I have argued that there is no compelling reason to make the veil the sole sign of pride in one’s culture.”107 When authors argue for justice for women from a regressive perspective. Returning to Lazreg. as a category of analysis.784. “many of the women who have taken up the veil have argued that they have done so willingly either at as a deliberate decision to display pride in their culture or out of religious conviction.”106 What is false in her claim is the way in which she totally denies the validity of the veil in Muslim culture. debate. a place where certain kinds of forces and values that we may still consider important could have an appeal and where there is the peace necessary for discussion. A world not organized around strategic military and economic demands. . As Abu-Lughod puts it. analytically limiting what it means to be a Muslim woman. cultures in which First ladies give speeches verses others where women shuttle around silently in Burqas. She states. the problem with her use of gender inequality.124. consciously or unconsciously. When we choose to examine women who cover their hair from a regressive position. “Consequently. “people wear the appropriate form of dress for their social communities 105 106 Abu-Lughod. we reduce her choices to social behaviour rather than personal behaviour. and transformation to occur within communities. p. a woman who takes up the veil accepts her essentialized difference from men (valued negatively)….

are often written about regressive movements reverting into an allegedly traditional past. we insist on a specific form of modernity and democracy as well as a need to make them prevail in the world. Scholars have yet to offer a cohesive understanding without an overwhelming bias. religious beliefs.” Hannah Arendt writes. . the historical context is predisposed to a nominal and essentialist understanding. for example. to veil? Or why. voluntarily. the voice of Muslim women who choose to cover their hair is ignored.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 35 and are guided by socially shared standards.”108 A more productive approach. why do women choose. then. However. when government chooses to ban the veil there is opposition from Muslim women? Denying the veil outright is a denial of one’s culture. What [the nation] lacks is not ‘culture. “The notion of…’a tiny backward nation’ without interest to ‘civilized’ nations…which is. as well as women deciding to veil. p. thus creating a demonist view of culture in other parts of the world to ultimately appear as self-defeating. if understanding the culture of the Middle East is done only in contrast with the West. Perhaps this is due to conflicting theories on what it means to be modern and the place of Islam in political discourse. This particular perception has a tremendous impact on the understanding of women and veiling.785. Explaining history in this manner ultimately fails because it cannot capture the complexity of the actual historical process and cultural differences. and moral ideas. would be to ask the question. unless they deliberately transgress to make a point. such as an army or military that can target 108 Abu-Lughod. unhappily often shared…stands in flagrant contradiction to the very old and highly developed culture of the region. The example of veiling verifies that manipulation of language. In many cases.’” but strategic forces. Political motives. which is an inherent part of the misconstrued history of the Islamic revolution. In the West. In “Lying in Politics. as it fails to recognize that women identify with Islam as a legitimate base of political and moral values. Conclusion We have seen in the previous inquiry that the Middle East has led to problematic conclusions regarding the relationship between the rhetoric of Islam and premises of disciplinary theoretical knowledge.

in this capacity. My analysis on women is intended to encourage deeper historical analysis to a multi-layered interpretation of Islam. in the context in which “Eastern” is contrasted with “Western. this analysis which seeks to break the way the West approaches the East thus proves to be problematic. When revolution is seen along a singular path or process it sets up secularism as the end of a historical process. Thoughts on Politics.31-32.109 In this context Arendt draws attention to America’s influence in the Vietnam War. Yet Islam represented an appropriation of politics. we can see striking similarities in the way in which we approach political movements of the Middle East and 109 Hannah Arendt. Schulze claims that. embodied by the revolutionaries. however. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.” “Eastern” yields an inferior. and the public mostly reacted. it is to show the relevancy of the East/West dichotomy and draw attention to the way in which rhetoric plays a role in our media. Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics. 1972). medieval. My point in noting the divergent paths of East and West is not to commiserate with the Middle East and turn against the West. Rather. When looking at the Iranian revolution there is a sense of historical rupture when speaking of the revolution itself. and Revolution. the hijab has been the symbol historically contested and targeted by dissidents to express opposition to Islamic practices. “sick man” aura and the only way to be strong again is to adapt to the “European stereotype”. as a country refusing modernity. The act of veiling is codified a set of assumptions that supply a visual short hand. Labelling historical movements in this way sets them in a sense opposed to liberation movements and denies causal effect of individuals and society within political change and treats the revolution as a simple phenomenon. If we understand women only in this context. served as an emblem of democratic populism that located true patriotism in a commitment to solidarity. Responding to imperialism. . thus misconstruing the lens in which the revolution is viewed. Civil Disobedience on Violence. Therefore. her point can speak to a wide range of historical accounts written with inherent contradictions and misconceptions. and a closer look needs to be taken of the way in which and whom we listen to when understanding Islam. The history is presented with a bias and labels such as backward.36 Chapter One foreign threat. education and understanding of the world. Above all Islamic symbols. as well as the symbolic practices of Islam and the use of symbols in social movements more broadly. the exceptional and controversial nature of Islam. perceiving hostility. pp. regressive and undemocratic.

Abrahamian. 1982. New York: Columbia University Press. Hannah. 1995. 2002. New York: New York University Press. Asef. Modern Iran since 1921: The Pahlavis and After. New York: Princeton University Press. 2007. Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic. Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women. Remaking Women. the way in which we understand women in Islam as having no agency epitomizing the “sick man”. New York: Yale University Press. Idem. Marina. 3 (2002): 783-790.Veil: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol 37 women. California. Princeton. Evrand. “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” American Anthropologist 104. & annotated Hamid Algar. 1998. tr. Iran Between Two Revolutions. Princeton. Civil Disobedience on Violence. Richard. Longman. New York: University of Washington Press. thus proves to be problematic in a broad sense. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. University of California Press. Arendt. 2009. NJ: Princeton University Press. Said. —. Princeton. academia needs to change its focus to a new method of describing the role of religion in the modern world. . no. Nikki. Islam: The View from the Edge. Khomeini. 2006. while the West approaches the East. and understandings. 1972. symbolisms. instead of focusing on a specific set of images. NJ: Princeton University Press. Ali. Bayat. Iran and the Surrounding World. Anasri. Further attention needs to be brought to what religion is. Osanloo. NJ: Princeton University Press. Abrahamian. Ruh Allah. and Revolution. Lila. Women in the Middle East. The Politics of Women’s Rights in Iran. 2002. Reinhard. Schulze. Arzoo. 1993. Making Islam Democratic. Princeton. 2006. Edward. If the Islamic world is to be written about. 1997. Works Cited Abu-Lughod. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics. —. Bulliet. Lazreg. NJ: Princeton University Press. Covering Islam. In other words. A Modern History of the Islamic World. 1981. Vintage Books. Berkeley: Mizan Press. 2003. Thoughts on Politics. 2009. Islam and Revolution. Keddie.

Hamideh.38 Chapter One Scott. 2000. 2011). Joan. . Gayatri 2007. Sedghi. NJ: Princeton University Press. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2007. “A Forum on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran.html (accessed April 4. The Politics of the Veil. http://www. Can the Subaltern Speak? Turia + Kant. 2010. Spivak.gozaar.” September 7. Princeton. Shilandari. Farah. Women and Politics in Iran.

The M. Turkey became a country where a majorly Muslim society welcomes western values as a unique example in the world and a bridge between two continents. laic and social state governed by the rule of law. society was mobilized with a common religious identity and thereby the Muslim subjects of the abolished Ottoman Empire became the ethnic Muslims of the Republic. In other words. Turkey plays a significant role in world orders.CHAPTER TWO TURKEY: WHERE EAST AND WEST MEET DIDEM DOĞANYILMAZ Abstract: “The Republic of Turkey is a democratic. religion. . international relations. Eventually in 1937. educational and sociological orders in order to form a new state. the article ended up with its final version that defines Turkey as a laic. with its powerful economy and active political relations not only with its neighbours but also with EU and with Middle East. while society has its own cultural and religious traditions.K. Today. laicism.. Turkey possessed a challenging role to connect two different worlds.. how do “they” define Turkey’s role on international relations? Key Words: Turkey. which should be considered as a huge progress on the way of laicization. Atatürk Government made a series of reforms on legal. and the most important reform became the abolishment of definition of the “religion of state” from the constitution in 1928. with the perspectives of both Western and Islamic world. democratic and social republic. Herewith. the newborn republic possessed a westernized characteristic both with regulations and this final description. within its strong historical relations with West and its territorial connections to East.” When the first constitution of the republic was declared in 1924. Within this role what is the importance of Islam? Is it a tool to improve relations? Even better. Islam. the aforementioned second article used to have a religious definition of the newborn republic: “The religion of Turkish State is Islam…” Apart from the minorities who were defined within religious distinction.

cultural. we will face two different approaches: the supporters and the critics. laic. and educational orders were affected by revolutions and eventually became a state with modern. and to protect the religious organization of political disputes and controversies. The term began to be used in the late nineteenth century. it gained a concrete body with the establishment of the laic Republic of Turkey. constitutional. . laicism has a significant connection with modernization and westernization as a consequence of being originated from the separation of the state from the ‘church’. However. understood as the freedom of public institutions from the influence of the ‘Catholic Church’ on the road to modernization. On the other hand. it is a concept that the issues of government and its policies should be kept separate from religious organizations and issues in order to protect not only the government from any possible interference of religious organizations. On the other hand. the most salient part of Turkey’s structure is its majorly Muslim population. Releasing the new identity from religion should be considered as a significant step.40 Chapter Two The term laicism. When we examine the term laicism. With the help of the regulations. As is always mentioned. prevents the believer from expressing their religion publicly. refers not only the religious invasion to the governmental offices but also the governmental involvement in the religious order. With this characteristic. originally “laïcité” in French. Modernization in Turkey began during late Ottoman Period. During the first two decades of the establishment process of the republic. the Empire with its ‘caliphate’ title. Supporters argue that laicism in itself does not necessarily imply hostility of the government with regard to religion. but is also influenced by the social structure of society and a concept linked to the process of secularization of modern societies. used to possess the leadership mission of the Muslim world and herewith the role that the Empire was given by the Western states was that it was an Empire with Islamic identity in the borders of the ‘Christian’ Western World. because the people of the former Empire were tied to a religion-based identity as a result of the “Millet” System in which the communities were differentiated just by their religious distinction. the intention was creating a new identity based on ‘modernized Western’ values. In other words. Turkey possesses the importance of being a unique example in the world where western values such as laicism function in a state with (majorly) Muslim ‘society’. It is not just a political term and a criterion for a state. however. the social. and westernized values. and instead of promoting freedom of thought and religion. critics argue that secularism is a disguised form of anticlericalism and the individual right to religious expression. political.

The government intended to appear with its modernized. According to the system. which is directly related to Islam. As the new ‘Turkish identity’ came into the scenes with the republic. and accordingly we should go back to the Ottoman “Millet” System. and they were entirely free to practice their religion and cultural . building a new hotel with western style architecture in order to host the ‘international’ delegates and representatives right next to the new building of assembly in the capital city. This particular release of the state from traditional Islamic-Ottoman identity will be explained in detail with examples in upcoming lines. the government possesses a new ‘unofficial’ view for the ‘Turkish identity’ which goes back to the Ottoman era and is based on Islam. an analysis of the role that Turkey itself possessed will be carried out. instead it was based on a modernized-nationalistic structure. In this study. then. This identity was not only a significant actor of political but also sociological orders. the religious identity has become a new concept that is used not only in domestic but also in international discourses more than before. and accordingly. nation) within a religion-based system as a result of the lack of nationalist identities. the role of religion (in other words the Islamic faith and the variation of the discourses regarding the religious identity) will be examined during the history of the republic. and building a new city within a secular form of urbanization as the capital of the newborn laic state can be considered as significant proofs for the new vision in the international gaze. it would be an entirely ‘new’ political form which has no relation to its past. the attendance at the world beauty contests. in order to prove that it would not be a continuation of the former Empire. the non-Muslim groups were defined as other ‘millet’s (literally. in the perspective of political order. When we arrive in the 1990s. it was purified from all religious components. The laicization of state and abolishment of caliphate gave the chance to the Republic of Turkey to show itself in political and social scenes as a modern and laic state. the newborn state tried to cut ties with religion and Arabic culture. in Ankara. and the mission was accomplished with a series of implementations. as was mentioned by Çinar (2005). Indeed. ‘western’ and egalitarian form in the international era. it will be unpredictable to mention the Turkish nationalism idea. From Empire to the Laic Republic: Role of the Religion If the origin of ‘Turkish identity’ should be analysed. Within this perception. and within the frame of the recent and actual political world.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 41 Accordingly.

gov. The invasion plans to Anatolia by the western ‘Christian’ states after World War I caused the transformation of the Ottoman-Muslims into a ‘national’ Chapter Two rituals. Besides. it is possible to say that the newborn ‘nationalism’ idea. was affected by the exterior offences. After the republic. .tbmm. while the aforementioned “millet” system was falling apart. Jews. In the last decades of the Empire during its weakness. the ‘republic’. after the 1924 Constitution. furthermore. and a new form of state. It prevailed for less than three and half years and during this period. 1923. the first constitution came into force on April 20. Ziya Gökalp expressed that. they were free to establish their own educational system as well. the Muslim society was privileged with constitutional support. with a condition to pay a special tax which forms a significant part of the total empire revenue (Atasoy. national feeling gains utmost ascendancy.htm>. Greek-Orthodox. the idea of Turkish nationalism emerged as a political component. which is the second constitution of Turkish state. Besides. the official language is Turkish and the capital is Ankara. 1923). the future citizens of the unborn republic were linked with religious identity against the exterior hostility. which included Islam. As quoted by Soner Cagaptay (2006:8). 2009:38). the ‘millet’ of the 1 The whole constitution is available at <http://www. without any explanation regarding to any “nation” nor any identical specifications.htm>. was declared on October 29.” This ‘state religion’ explanation brought more predominance to the Muslims than the other religious groups with the support of a new religion-based minority concept which was accepted within the Treaty of Lausanne (according to the Treaty. 1921. and it was possessed by the Muslim ‘subjects’ of the former Empire because there was no other identical component except the religion as a result of the sociological structure of the Empire. 2 Turkish Constitution of 1924 < During the abolishment of the Ottoman Empire. and Armenians. the first constitution (the Turkish Constitution of 1921)1 was declared in order to make an official explanation that the new ‘state’ did not recognize the Ottoman dynasty and their government. The reason why we mentioned the privilege of the Muslim society was the first form of the second article of this constitution. the Turkish War of Independence was gained (it was ended officially with the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24.tbmm. in times of great political disasters. These non-Muslim religious groups were. It was written that “The religion of the state is Islam. On January 20.

In this part of the study. Atatürk and his companions) aimed to laicize the political structure. cübbe and sarık in Turkish). will be analysed in chronological order with their outcomes. Consequently the government was saved from any probable obstacle against the laic implementations which might come from the ‘Caliph‘. When the government declared the Hat Law on November 28. the implementations which were done in order to be adapted to the Western World and to achieve a laic structure. not only the Turkish.K. any kind of religious costume was prohibited (such as cassocks. Because of the “leadership” mission of the caliphate for all the Muslim World. the ruling group (M. Because. it can be considered as a significant step on the way of laicization.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 43 former Ottoman Empire became the ‘official’ minorities of the newborn republic. but all the Muslims were affected. On March 3. and the encouragement process was supported with laws. In this manner. This arrangement caused the closure of Islamic seminaries (medreses). With this implementation. and the Muslim women were discouraged to wear an Islamic veil. the next generation was targeted in order to be educated in a laic perspective that is totally released from religious influence. 57). the government declared the abolishment of the Caliphate. . ‘laicism’ started to be institutionalized and it started from social life. 1924. Atatürk‘s appearance in his meetings. as Dönmez mentioned (2010:29). as was mentioned by Cagaptay (2006). laicism was seen not only as a political term of globalism.K. 1925 as a part of the Law of Outfit Costume. The Hat Law was just one of the implementations in which the state intervened related to the appearance of the society toward instituting laicization.) According to the constitution. the people had already gotten used to wearing it as a result of M. the state used to have a religious identity. With this implementation. On March 2-3. The implementations did not aim just at the social or the political structure. the Republic was “disconnected” from Islam in the political order and disqualified itself from the leadership mission. The appearance was also targeted. and turban cloths. and Westernism in the public sphere. With this implementation. where he encouraged society in wearing a “western style” hat. however. a new law (Tevhid-i Tedrisat Kanunu) came into force in order to unify the educational system. which were the Islamic schools. and accordingly it was considered as an important stroke to the religious education. as was expressed by Çinar (op cit. accordingly within the transformation from the Ottoman ‘millet’ system to the nation-state structure of the Republic. 1924.

than the modernized image of women in the public sphere. M. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi – TBMM) declared that they approved a secular civil code to form the issues of marriage. M.K. Male friends. and they should see the world with their own eyes. Civilized and international clothing is very valuable and worthy for our nation.K. in Inebolu on August 28.. On February 17. he stated that: The Turkish nation ought to prove that it is civilized in its mentality and intellect. I observed not in villages but in towns and cities that the ladies are covering their faces and eyes with great care.. Atatürk were not about just domestic vision of the society. Additionally. without clothing? What is the meaning of showing the most valuable jewel to the world if it is covered in mud? . Atatürk also spoke against women’s facial coverage: In my travels. In order to reveal this precious gem. especially on hot summer days such as these. the egalitarian structure of the society has been institutionalized. On October 4.. Women should show their faces to the world. This must inflict them with pain and a great deal of suffering.. the government annulled the Shari’a (Islamic) courts. op cit.K. no.. 65). Atatürk (cited in Atasoy. the Empire was strongly related to orientalist conceptualizations of Islam represented by images of ‘veiled women’ who were also hidden behind the harem walls. 155) in one of his speeches. In the same speech..K. The Turkish nation ought to demonstrate that it is civilized in its family life and ways of living . as the most significant issue in European perception. it is absolutely imperative that we cleanse ourselves from the mud. friends. 1926. our own selfishness. 60).. Can there be a nation. inheritance and adoption.. the references given by M. instead the emphases were done for an international sphere.. As we can see. which has its own ‘modern’ characteristics and clear borderline with the Ottoman-Islamic identity. Is our clothing national? Is our clothing civilized and international? No.44 Chapter Two She also added that (ibid. as Çinar exemplified (ibid. 1925. With the support of this law. There was no better way to improve the secularist state. by declaring that the .. Atatürk himself paid serious attention to promote the image of the “new Turkish women” as a “symbol of the break with the past” by personally encouraging women’s public visibility and made personal appearances together with his wife and adopted daughter at social occasions and official ceremonies before and after the official declaration of the law. 1926. divorcement. is part of the cause of this outcome. it would be beneficial to support the aforementioned encouragement with the words of M.

secularist. Ankara. The new form of the article was ‘The State of Turkey is republican.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 45 Islamic law was null and void. nationalist. In order to cut ties from traditional Ottoman applications. Atatürk’s perception. an arrangement was carried out in order to abandon the Arabic alphabet and to shift to a Latin-based alphabet instead. As we have explained. Consequently. which was the elimination of Islam as Turkey‘s state religion from the second article. 1937.cit:17) the implementation carried a strong nationalist identity approach. The reason Istanbul was chosen instead of the capital city. In spite of the fact that the government intended to carry out legal regulations in order to achieve a planned laic level. as the first place for this implementation might be the significant Ottoman-Islamic identity of the city in M. From the constitutional perspective. Because. populist. the Shari’a courts could have been an obstacle to a Westernized state.K. Its official language is Turkish. the city consists of a strong Islamic identity with its architectural and sociological structure. It was translated into Turkish by the Turkish Language Association (Türk Dil Kurumu. On February 5. the general intention was not only separation of the state from religion but also cutting the relations with traditional Ottoman-Islamic identity. was renewed within a more laic perspective. from Arabic. and reformist. the state was defined as a possessor of Islam as its ‘official’ religion. this implementation could not be popularized among the public and consequently it was abolished by the Democrat Party regime in 1950. accordingly it would be a good starting point for another cut from the Ottoman identity. the government declared one of the most considerable revolutions. Accordingly. 1932. statist. Çinar also expressed that (op. as a result of being a capital of the Empire for almost a half of a millennium. Atatürk and first chanted in Santa Sofia (Ayasofya) Mosque in Istanbul. which was cleared from religious definition nine years ago. This can be considered as an important reason for the choice. Its capital is . the government declared a complementary law for the way of laicization of the Republic. on November 1. the language of the call for prayers (ezan) was switched to Turkish. However. This was one of the regulations that had been considered as against Islam because the targeted new generation who were already away to be educated in Islamic schools would not be able to learn how to write and read in the language of the Quran. on July 18.K. 1928. On April 10. so the annulment decision should be considered as a significant step. 1928. TDK) founded by M. The second article of the Constitution. the Muslim predominance was decreased among all the society. and the relation between being a Turk and being a Muslim was intended to be removed.

the Republic of Turkey has been the first ‘laic’ state with its majorly ‘Muslim’ society. As the new image of Turkish women was demonstrated in an international scene. Within this total. The society was free to live the faith. which still possesses its importance in the present time. Furthermore. for Turkish national history. which is considered as a supporting point for the encouragement by M. Until now. Atatürk in 1931. With this regulation. this book was developed and started to be taught in all public schools as a history book for secondary education. from its Ottoman identity. The Ottoman history. the laicization and Westernization process were not limited with them. However.” Hereby. In upcoming years. As another example. which extended about 600 years. the laicization was not meant to cut the ties of people from religion as the critics mentioned. the Ottoman rule and the caliphate as representatives of the Islamic legal-political system take up twenty-six pages. as Çinar mentioned (ibid:104). is the attendance of a young Turkish girl at the World Beauty Contest of 1929. was mentioned in just 5 percent of the total of the aforementioned book. we have tried to explain the official implementations which were supported by laws.K.46 Chapter Two Ankara. On the other side. a book named ‘The Outline of the Turkish History’ was published by the Turkish Historical Society (Türk Tarih Kurumu. the reason the capital was changed from Istanbul to Ankara was explained as a consequence of an intention of creating a new identity free from any religious component. the city did not possess any significant marks of Islam and had not played an important role in either Ottoman or Islamic history. and westernized concept in contrast to an Islamic model. With the help of the legal implementations. Atatürk for women’s modern and westernized visibility in public and international spheres by Çinar (ibid:70). Furthermore. instead. the laicism with other basic components of state happened to be supported by the constitution with all other previous implementations. The intention was clarification of the Turkish history from a significant Islamic identity. The religious components were separated from political and governmental issues. However. TTK) founded by M. it would not be possible to say that Turkey has had a stable history within this perspective. As Çinar exemplified (ibid:147). 1924. the urbanization process was carried out within a laic. the Republic proved a significant change from its past. indeed religion was taken under the control of the state with the establishment of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi) (2011:9) on March 3. One of the .K. modern. the religious identity vanished from the political order. For instance. with 467 pages. whatever implementation had been carried out.

as she added (ibid. Gokalp’s Turkish-Islamic based nationalist idea found its concrete form in the ‘Turkish-Islamic Synthesis’ ideology of the 1970s. because it takes Islam not only as a religion but a culture originating from the Ottoman Empire. instead. as Guvenc et al described (cited in Atasoy. The generals of the 1980 military coup instituted the Turkish-Islamic Synthesis in the state structure. is considered as the father of Turkish nationalism within the Ottoman perspective. Eventually. Furthermore. ibid: 160): . When we come to the 1990s. the post-military coup government sought to combine Islamic values and Turkish nationalism by mixing a faith-based ethos with the virtue of state-amplification and national unity. as mentioned by Atasoy (op. which includes the religious identity. this could not be considered as a return to the golden age of Islam.:91).cit. Therefore. West-oriented and ethnic-based identity. Consequently. faith. Ideological connections and political practices related to laic Kemalism and Islamic orientations are much closer than is assumed. the 1930s concept of laicism described with the contents of religion. ibid. The Islamic identity promoted by the Welfare Party was formed for the Turkish Muslims. sociologist Ziya Gokalp (1876-1924). ritual and private space was reinterpreted and possessed a new formation with the name of Turkish-Islamic Synthesis. The emergence of an Ottoman-Islamic identity as an alternative nationalist movement was expressed by the former Mayor of Istanbul (between 1994-1998) and the actual Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the third Traditional Youth Festival. Additionally. not an ethnic or linguistic component. as it published in one of the magazines of Istanbul named Istanbul Bülteni – December 1996 (cited in Çinar. the reformation of the true Turkish culture. This ideology cannot be differentiated from any other kind of nationalism that places at its core. as Çinar expressed (op. This movement can be considered as the awakening of Islamic identity among the public and political spheres.:12). Gokalp’s writings about the creation of ‘a modern Muslim Turkish nation’ have clearly influenced the nationalist-Islamic ideological orientations. but an identity that belongs to the regional religious basis. the self-identification of individuals with Islamic values and morals has been the increasing approach within the society. it promotes the idea of a traditional Ottoman-Islamic civilization as Turkey’s true national culture in contrast to the country’s official laic. which aimed to unify the public space with Islamic religion.cit:54) and accordingly.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 47 young Turk intellectuals.). we see the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi) as a member of the coalition government in Turkey‘s political history.

T. it can only do so with its own civilization. Turkey has applied and has been a member of several ‘westernoriginated’ supranational organizations in order to adapt to the regional formations. the United Nations (UN) was established by 51 countries including Turkey (2011:1). The other one is the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi – AKP) which is the actual party in power. with the Prime Minister R. as mentioned by Zaman (2007). in 1952 Turkey . according to Çarkoglu and Rubin (2006:63). During the twentieth century. the Welfare Party was closed (Milliyet 2008) and the Mayor of Istanbul R. since its establishment. and as running Islam-sensitive policies. The AKP was established with the explanations that it gave up the National View ideology in order to mention that the ties with the banned Virtue Party were cut. and instead R. the civilization that the mayor referred to here as being Turkey‘s own is the Ottoman-Islamic civilization. as argued by Arikan (2010: 51). 1945. One of the parties is named the Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi) which was the continuation of the Virtue Party with the ideology of “National View” (Milli Görüs).cit: 5). Turkey played a significant role in the Western World with its Western allies. Afterwards. In 1998. However.48 Chapter Two As the grandchildren of a nation that has always been at the forefront in the quest for civilization. Turkey in International Scenes Since the establishment of the republic. it was closed by the Constitutional Court a short time after its establishment. Erdogan was put in prison (Bardakçi. you have to put an end to mimicry.T. however. as a result of being the continuation of the banned Welfare Party. T. the party is considered as a pro-Islamist/Islamist party.) stated. 2002) by the Constitutional Court as a result of the Islamic implementations and discourses with the accusation of undermining the laic structure of the Republic. Erdogan declared the “conservative democratic” identity of the party (cited in Yüksek 2003). When the party was closed. On October 25. As Çinar (ibid. The youth has to return to its true roots. It reflects a nationalistic-religious vision and has been the key concept in the ideology of the Islamist parties in Turkey. If Turkey is to reach the height of contemporary civilizations. the members were divided into two different groups and consequently two new political parties were born. which he presented as constituting the true source of Turkish national identity. the Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi) was established. Erdogan as its leader. especially after its second period as the party in power. as expressed by Atasoy (op.

As can be seen.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 49 became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is possible to see a visible improvement with all neighbourhoods as a result of the Zero Problem Policy. Additionally. As aforementioned. since the Islamic identity started to be used in domestic and international issues. The relations have been improved within the emphasis of the ‘common culture’ and ‘common history’ under the Islamic-Ottoman identity. Within this perspective. which had not been mentioned as an official identity by the Republic until the aforementioned Islamic ‘awakening’. However. 877 km. which go back to the 1990s. Turkey started to carry out more ‘active’ and more ‘companionable’ relations in the international scenes. The visits at governmental . With the new government. However. the international partnerships and the national role that has been possessed will be analysed with examples of Turkey’s AKP period. the two countries carried out concrete outcomes as a result of the improved relations. on the southeast side of Turkey. because it cannot be limited just with the Muslim Middle East in a territorial perspective. it is significantly clear that the improved mutual relations cannot be limited just within the Islamic awaking. the AKP was established after the ban of National View holder. for the regional unions the ‘Western World’ led the process and Turkey has been one of the active members of it. or not. and in the time when this article is written. instead it had contra-distinctive formation of identity. like Turkey. The Middle East will be a pivotal part in this study with it having territories of the former Ottoman Empire. When we take a look at Turkey‘s relations with its neighbours. as was argued by Çiçekçi (2011:10). we may start with Syria. and since 1959 Turkey has had a strong relationship with European Union (EU). with Turkey’s longest border. and policies in order to see whether there is an ‘axis shift’ in Turkey’s international politics from West to East. However. as Çiçekçi added (ibid). approaches. This international policy of Turkey has become an approach in which the mutual relations have been developed. even though sometimes it was considered as inefficient to solve all regional problems. in this part of our study we will focus on the international relations of Turkey within the millennium period. have been improved since the end of the decade. this active role is strengthening within mutual relations and trade agreements. it possesses the importance of Turkey holding the initiative in mutual perspectives. the Virtue Party. The high-tensioned mutual relations. with the support of its developing economy. and within fifteen months it was elected for the mission of establishing the fifty-ninth Turkish Government in 2002. which was developed by the actual Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu.

2010). the Gaza War started and the issue was put on the table in the Davos Meeting of January 30. 2009). it would not be wrong that the common ‘history’ would be the basis of the improving relations. Turkey had possessed the role of being a moderator of the Israel-Arab relations in 2008.T. 2010). a growth of four-times has been recorded for the Turkish tourists in Syria for the same duration. thanks to the conditions of the agreement. According to the official declarations of the statistical offices of Turkey and Syria (MFA. R. While the number of Syrian tourists in Turkey has been seven-times greater than the number in 2002. respectively. Erdogan leaving the meeting room in ‘anger’ at the moderator. it is an agreement that may turn into a pact with political elements.50 Chapter Two level have been one of the reasons for territorial integration within an economical perspective. Erdogan was met at the airport in Istanbul/Turkey with Palestinian and Turkish flags as a ‘hero’ with success in the protection of the rights of ‘Muslim’ Palestinian people. 2011). In this perspective. and it was expected to achieve a significant development on the economical perspective of the relations among these four countries (cited in Turkish NY website. right in front of the international press. The aforementioned Free Trade Agreement is not bilateral between Turkey and Syria. nowadays the relations with the Syrian government are critical because of the Syrian uprising. which it is believed will be even better in the future. however. in the number of tourists in a one year period. 2009) and international press (Arsu.T. before the process came to an end. such as the Free Trade Agreement. According to some analysts. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized the historical and the cultural resemblance in its official web page among the peoples of these four countries (MFA. As a growing power of the region. and. This outcome is both a political and a sociological benefit for both countries. Davutoglu as “Common Destiny. 2009). however. and this welcome ceremony was cited both in national (Radikal. The tensions go back to 2009 to the Davos Crisis (cited in Aljazeera. we can see a ‘switch’ within a negative perspective in recent years. The meeting ended up with R. In this economic agreement. Common History and Common Future!” (cited in Global Security website. Apart from the Arab World. the mutual abolishment of visas after 2009 increased the number of tourists. This new era was expressed by A. instead it was signed also by Lebanon and Jordan in order to establish a common trade and visa-free area in 2009. After this ‘challenging’ behaviour towards Israel. when we consider the relations with Israel. 2011). the visa arrangement caused 76 percent and 127 percent increase. 2009. A year later. the Gaza Flotilla .

a concrete sympathy towards Turkey has occurred among the Middle Eastern countries. Turkey played a significant role in the way of contacts with Iran (Bila. The strategy of Turkey that was carried out during the meeting was considered as a positive and mediatory approach between western and eastern countries. it would not be wrong if one says that there is a competition between Turkey and Iran. Moreover. 2011 (Muderrisoglu 2011). and (majorly) Muslim populated country. during the United Nations Security Council meeting which was held in Lisbon/Portugal.T. on November 19-20. as a laic. 2011). With this declaration. 2010) about the nuclear threat issue which was targeted at Iran. which is in favour of the ‘Muslim’ part of the issue towards Israel. As a result of this positive acceleration in Turkish foreign policy. and the Prime Minister R. Furthermore. regarding the Palestine-Israel problem. 2010.T. 2010). However. However. Why? Because. are considered positively in the Muslim Middle Eastern perspective. internationally admired. Additionally. or appearing on the media after Fridayprayers (Star. which is based on the abolishment of the dominant “Israeli culture” from the region (Çiçekçi. and . 2010). which caused the death of 9 Turkish activists. the only one who has been the possessor of a challenging position against Israel is Iran under the Shia rulers. the new Turkish strategy. they still possess a patient approach (Fraser 2011). democratic. as mentioned by Keyman (2010:5). Turkey. even though it was not clearly declared. or visits to the tombs of religious leaders such as R. The strong position on the Middle East was supported by the peaceful discourses (Yavuz. Accordingly. by both sides. became a challenging model for Iran’s monopoly in the region. ibid. it is possible to say that a (majorly) Sunni populated Turkey is more ‘welcomed’ than a Shia Iran as a power within the western states’ perspectives.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 51 Raid. economically ascendant. Erdogan mentioned the raid as a cause for war. because of its demonstration of laic and democratic values’ capability to function within a majorly Muslim populated country. Turkey showed a ‘strong stand’ for the issue and gained more admiration from the Arab World and strengthened its high level position in the region because the discourses made from Turkish side resembled the Arab World’s intention. a global charm has occurred regarding Turkey‘s position. such as a Fridayprayer break in the Istanbul Summit in December 2010 with Afghan and Pakistani leaders (Altuncu & Çitak Koygun. became a reason for another crisis between Turkey and Israel.). the Islamic references. so far. Erdogan’s visits to the tombs of Caliphate Ali as the first Sunni leader and the tombs of two of the Twelve in Iraq in March.

and were also referred to as the “Libyan Civil War”. on January 14. the world is facing an awakening on the southeast coasts of the Mediterranean. 2011). The ‘war’ ended with Muammar Gaddafi’s death on October 20. as mentioned by Cockburn (2011).). these characteristics are being strongly discussed not only by many political analysts in Turkey and the West. 2011). the Syrian people are on the streets. the process was extended to a larger period. the unemployment rate. which just referred to that country.52 Chapter Two with R. the governmental intention to decrease the minimum salary rate. After Tunisia. an unemployed twenty-six year old Tunisian. social. 2011 (Radikal.T. the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution spread to the Arab World. . They also want a change of the government in order to have a ‘new’ one with more freedom. The Tunisian people managed to change the government. Eventually. The main reasons that caused the people’s mobilization were the governmental policies. Muhammad Bouazizi. But it was not just the Tunisian people on the roads. because of the long-term and strong attacks between the government and protesters. 2011). and in the meantime to be released from the Asad Family. 2011). as added by Ghosh (ibid. His activity caused an end to his life. however. who were also supported by NATO (cited in Euronews. 2011). he became the ‘spark’ and the reason for the future events and mobilization of the Tunisian people against the twenty-three years old Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali government. and political conditions. the Jasmine Revolution (Eltahawy. 17. have been popular visions of world politics (Ghosh. and lack of freedom of expression (Zayan. 2011). In Libya. set himself on fire on December. they were all tired with the long-term dictators who were governing the state within acute economic. the protest meetings were held in Egypt and it ended up with Hosni Mubarak leaving power. poverty. which started in Tunisia with a micro name. and accordingly it was named as the Arab Spring. 2011 he left power and abandoned the country (Hürriyet. the protest movements started on February 15. 2010. but also among the laic Turkish society regarding going back to the OttomanIslamic identity and meanwhile undermining the westernized laic one. in order to make himself heard for his complaints about the inefficient social and economic conditions (cited in CNN. and he left the government to the military (Radikal. On the other side. shouting for their demands and asking for their rights. Today. From January 24 until February 11. Today. the state should be engaged with a new government with new policies and better conditions. Erdogan as its leader who is also a “real Muslim”. referred to as the Arab Spring. the Egyptian and Libyan people hit the streets for the same reasons. 2011). 2011).

Turkey: Where East and West Meet 53 As a result of the popularity among the region. which consists of both western and eastern values. Accordingly. political scientists. such as democracy. and accordingly after the revolutions a discussion started to be heard both in domestic and international press: Is there a possibility to ‘copy’ the Turkish political formation to the Arab states as their new political system? This possibility was discussed by academics. When we take a glance at Turkey. the weakness or even the ‘absence’ of citizens’ representation in politics. the close feelings about the common historical ties. . after its ‘common history’ with the Middle Eastern countries. and with Turkish flags. it seems possible to make a copy for the new Arab governments as a result of the ‘little’ similarities among the sociological structure of the societies. Turkey has demonstrated that a laic and a democratic system. which had enjoyed being the eastern part of the west with its foreign policy and its westernized identity during the twentieth century. religious affinity. Today Turkey has become the ‘intersection area’ between the eastern and western worlds. which causes a general fear among the Muslim society. has possessed the role of being the western part of the east within the new millennium. Briefly Turkey. The reason they admire today’s Turkey is its strong position in all these values listed above. the Republic of Turkey possesses its proper identity. Before the revolutions. the Arab states hit the streets because of the lack of modernized values. as is always mentioned by the actual government. while attending the Arab League meetings. it would not be functional if Turkey were to be taken as an exact example for the future of the Arab states. however when we go deeper we will see the ‘significant differences’ and accordingly the impossibility. and most importantly. Erdogan were always visible in protest meetings with the support that was declared by the government. can function with a Muslim society for the favour of the same state. with posters. Turkey keeps on with negotiations with the EU. and weak economic conditions. Eventually. AKP and R. Turkey was an example with its growing power among economic and political orders with its westernized state formation. it was even possible to hear it in the streets among the society.T. Turkey. Turkey. On the other side. and historians. Instead. As a result. it should be used as a reference point. carried out a long progress of a westernized identity with its ‘own’ values and reformed them in its ‘own’ way.

With the mission of being a connection point between the east and the west. . both with being in efficient economic and political situations. as was cited by Ghosh (op. but also with other international actors. But perhaps its greatest virtue. Furthermore. it is possible to say that Turkey‘s new position is totally welcomed in the region as a leader. In other words. the religious identity has become a significant concept of domestic and international discourses. it has changed after the last decade and now the relations have been equalized between both sides of the state. relations with the Eastern World has been strengthened and now the stabilized relations are carried out in a more developed way at a higher level with concrete outcomes. and democratic system. however. laic. and with possessing a protective mission for the society’s rights who took to the streets for better conditions of living.T. the Christian Western World had a suspicious approach to the situation. In fact. the general belief is in favour of Turkey because instead of Shia Iran. Erdogan and his AKP have traditionally drawn support from the country’s religious and conservative classes and are regarded with suspicion by secular absolutists. It would not be wrong if one says that the bilateral and the multilateral relations of Turkey with its Western neighbours were stronger than the Eastern ones. Accordingly.cit. Sunni populated Turkey is more acceptable as a ‘power’ in the region. the Republic of Turkey has been playing an important role in international scenes as a consequence of its geopolitical position and political structure. As we have mentioned. The consciousness of religious sentiments brought Turkey together with former Ottoman Empire territories within the perspective of the same ‘history’. it caused discussions about the Turkish identity in the West. under the conditions of the Arab Spring. As a result of the usage of religion as a ‘tool’ in discourses as a resemblance based on Islamic-Ottoman identity. The worldwide economic crisis played a significant role in the rising level of the mutual relations. Turkey possessed stabilized relations not only with its neighbours. The new ‘role’ that Turkey has possessed for the Muslim World is considered as beneficial for the Eastern states. is that the Turkish model was forged by an Islamist: R. as a result of Turkey’s developing economic conditions. in the eyes of many Middle Eastern beholders.54 Chapter Two Conclusion Across its history. which is being actualized in the aforementioned territories that used to belong to the former Empire. and this situation has been the most important tool for developing relations with the Eastern World. however. Turkey should be a reference point for the Arab counties with its economic power.).

the stability for international relations has played a significant role on Turkey‘s agenda. Bila. January 30. which is denied by the party – instead they declared that it possesses a ‘conservative’ identity – is growing stronger and these Islamist discourses are considered as supporters of this idea. accordingly. 2010.Ö. M. with the example of the long-term candidature period for the European Union which is considered as a ‘Christian Club’. Moreover. Y. 2011]. Aljazeera (2009). 2010. November 23. Turkey is considered as a state that is headed to the Muslim World as a result of the denial from the Western one. [accessed November 3. (2010). in other [accessed November 3. 2011].tr [accessed October 2. September 22. Milliyet. it is sure that the Islamic identity of the AKP is assumed to be the most significant factor of the increasing popularity of the party among the Muslim World.). N. The New York Times.aljazeera. However. 2002. http://www. http://www. Milliyet. In these conditions. December 24. http://www. Istanbul: Say Yayınları.com. Secularism and Nationalism in Modern Turkey.mondediplo. Ülkücülerin Siyasal İslamla İmtihani. Cagaptay. [accessed November 4.. Şiiri Böyle Montajlamışlar. (2010).B. Altuncu. P.milliyet. http://www. Lizbon İzlenimleri. E. and it seems that the importance of these kinds of discussions will keep their importance. Kameraya Takılan O İlginç An. [accessed November 2. . R. Turkey: What Axis Shift? Le Monde Diplomatique. P. (2009) Islam‘s Marriage with Neoliberalism State Transformation in Turkey. 2011]. 2011]. (2010).hurriyet. Arsu. Enneli. & Çıtak Koygun. M. 2011]. http://www.49-82. 2011]. 2010. F. S. 2002. (2009).com. Oxon: Routledge. (eds. S. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Bardakçı. Ö. pp.milliyet. the actual situation can be considered as positive Hero’s Welcome for Turkish Leader After Davos Walkout.. As we mentioned before. Hürriyet. In: Dö [accessed November 1. Stormy Debate in Davos over Gaze. would it be wrong if one says that the ‘neo-Ottomanism’ can be an inspiration point for the actual policy of the AKP? Works Cited Akgün.nytimes. Europe.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 55 The accusation about the Islamic identity of the AKP. in the former Ottoman territories. July 2010. which causes strong discussions among the secular society. & Altuntaş. Arıkan. Türkiye’de Kesişen-Çatışan Dinsel ve Etnik Kimlikler. (2006) Islam.

Washington January 30. Huffpost World’.Ö. 2011. http://www. Time. Amnesty Questions Claim that Gaddafi Ordered Rape as Weapon of War. 2011]. and Secularism in Turkey. R. 2011]. Radikal. September 11. 2011].23-48.britannica. & Altuntaş. A. http://www. The Independent.. In: Dönmez. Kesişen ve Ayrışan Etnik ve Dini Toplumsal Hareketler.2011]. 2011. Islam. Kendini Yaktı Devrimin Sembolü Oldu. http://www. Kaddafi Öldürüldü. [accessed November 8. (2010).com [accessed November 2. Turkey: Gaza Flotilla Raid Was ‘Cause for War’. Dönmez. CNN Türk. M. . 2009. [accessed November [accessed November 15.Ö.tr [accessed September 25.C. January 20. P. 2011]. (2011).radikal. Türkiye’de Kesişen-Çatışan Dinsel ve Etnik Kimlikler. Fraser. Eltahawy. http://www. ‘Justice and Development Party’ (2011) Encyclopædia Britannica. (2005) Modernity. http://www. 2011]. 2011]. Türkiye Batı Sisteminde Kalabilir mi? Milliyet. T. B.). A.radikal. Dünya.56 Chapter Two Çarkoğ [accessed November 28. (2011). http://www. 2011. September [accessed November 2. S. “Davos Kahramani” Istanbul’a Döndü. Enneli. http://www. (2006) Religion and Politics in Turkey. NATO’ya Göre Libya’da Görev Tamamlandı. (eds.washingtonpost. Zero Problem Policy. 2011. İdiz. Radikal. Oxon: Routledge. pp. Istanbul: Say Yayınları. October 20. 2011]. Euronews (2011). Global Security (2010). http://tuicakademi. 2011]. (2011).tr [accessed November 5. June 24. Erdogan’s Moment. Military. —. Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (2011). [accessed November [November 05. 2011.milliyet. & Rubin. Çınar. C. http://www. B. (2011). [accessed November 5. Başbakanlık Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı. Ghosh. (2010). 178 (21). 2011] —. [accessed November 1. —. TUiÇ AKADEMI. R. January 15. 2011]. 2011]. Çiçekçi. 2011]. 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. Türk Dış Polıtıkası’nda Halüsinasyon Görmek: Batı’dan Uzaklaş(ama) [accessed November 2. Kurulus Tarihi ve Gelisim. Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.

2011]. Lebanon. A. Hz. http://www. (2011). 2011]. February 12. http://www. (2010).gov. Star. http://www.hurriyet. [accessed November 18.turkishny. Republic of Turkey Ministry for European Union Affairs (2011). Syria and Jordan Join New Economic Forum. (2003).tr [accessed November 6. 2011. Hürriyet. ‘Kronoloji’ (2000) Atatürk ve Türkiye Cumhuriyeti. 2011].tr [accessed November Refah Partisi de Aynı Gerekçelerle Kapatıldı. Tunus’ta Devlet Başkanı Bin-Ali 23 Yıl Sonra Devrildi. Türkiye’nin Güvenlik Perspektifleri ve Politikaları. (2011). 2011].gov. Joint Political Declaration on the Establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council among [accessed November 26. http://www.un. —. Najam. [accessed November 3. 2003.1 Trillion. English News. http://www. 2011].org. Türk Dış Politikasında “Eksen” Tartışmaları: Küresel Kargaşa Çağında Realist Proaktivism. http://www. January 14. http://www.Turkey: Where East and West Meet 57 Keyman. 2011].S. 15. United http://www. —. [accessed November 6. Müderrisoğlu. F. [accessed November 1. AKP’nin Yeni Zarfı. (2010).tr [accessed November 7. November 2011]. Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011). http://www. Yavuz. 2011]. Yüksek. Mısır’da Devrim. radikal. Turkey – Syria Economic and Trade [accessed November 5.setav. NATO Lizbon Zirvesi: Füze Kalkanından Afganistan’a Beklentiler ve Gerçekleşenler. . [accessed November 1. United Nations in Turkey. Turkey. http://www. http://www. S. Üç Kuşak Erdoğanlar Camide. http://www. 2011]. Jordan. Syria. 2011. 2008. 2011]. Milliyet. Brief [accessed September 29.stargazete. 2011]. Seta [accessed November 2.turksam. March 15. (2011). —.tr [accessed November 1.mfa.ataturk. Ocak 2010. Press and Information. TURKSAM. History of Turkey – EU Relations. 2011]. 2011]. Sabah. Turkey. Radikal. Dış Politika. —. —.tr [accessed October [accessed October 30. http://www. 2011]. December 26.mfa.radikal. Al-Shorfa. Turkish NY (2010). Lebanon and Syria’s Economic Size to Reach $1. F. March 30. C. —. 2011]. http://www. Jordan and Lebanon. Ali Türbesinde Bir İ 2011].milliyet. Trade and [accessed October

uk [accessed November 7. 2011]. (2007).afp.58 Chapter Two Zaman. January 25. . Egypt Braces for Nationwide Protest. The Telegraph. Erdogan’s Islamist Party Wins Turkey‘s Election. http://www. 2011. July 23. http://www. 2011]. (2011).co.telegraph. AFP. [accessed October 25. J. 2007. Zayan.

Islam. modern Turkey proved that it is possible to have democracy and human rights in a Muslim society. . the Turkish trajectory should be studied closely to understand how she reached that situation. the concept of democracy has a significant importance on people’s government. with its legal system based on “Sharia”. there was an implicit assumption that the Arab countries need a role model in their quest for democracy. such as the presence of a viable opposition group. since Islam. Ataturk. Western scholars have always questioned the relationship between Islam and democracy. were asked frequently. Since the Ottoman Empire period. On the contrary. Democracy. In this context. Arab countries always had rulers. the Turkish case was widely debated following the Arab uprisings and questions such as “Can Turkey be a role model to the Arab countries?” “Does Turkey have a “Western” democracy?” etc. What are the fundamental characteristics of the Turkish Revolution (1923 – 1938)? What is the legacy of Ataturk? How did he create a country from scratch. From a Western perspective. Turkey’s relations with its neighbours make her an ideal candidate in the debate for a ‘role model’. and more importantly how did he make democracy work in a country with a Muslim population? Key Words: Turkey. is a method of governance itself. Besides these questions.CHAPTER THREE ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY: ARAB SPRING AND THE TURKISH EXPERIENCE GÖKHAN DUMAN Abstract: Uprisings in the Arab world make us question the concept of “democracy”. Turkish Revolution. but with missing crucial components. The ones belonging to the Orientalist camp claimed that Islam and democracy cannot coexist. Although Turkey might serve as a model with her democratic credentials. Some of them might have had some sort of elections. The Republic of Turkey stands as an example whereby a country with an overwhelming (98%) Muslim majority and has a multi-party political system with a functioning democracy. they could not have put democracy in its place. Arab Spring. Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. and it does not give any room for democracy.

In a democratic . every person is equal before the ballot box. and limited time of power for elected politicians. The main idea of democracy is ‘nobody rules forever’. In the West. Like every political concept. Irrespective of their race. language. existence of political parties. in other words they transfer power to politicians for representation in the structure of state. With the existence of democracy. When we take a glance at today’s world. fair and impartial elections. as in the USA. religion. People vote for candidates. to be able to vote in fair and impartial elections. However. a presidential one. presidents. the “right to vote” is considered as one of the fundamental civic rights. even though it is well known. rules of the game are similar. democracy is more and more associated with the “western” conceptualization of governing. like in Turkey. such as in Switzerland. The source of the power. Right at this point. Diamond and Platter (2006:168) defined democracy simply as equal rights of adults and a right to vote for every man. In this case. It is generally argued that the first condition for a democratic system is a ‘right to vote’. the People. democracy has also evolved throughout time from ‘direct democracy’ to a ‘representative democracy’ of today. In most of these. prime ministers or politicians are elected through a fair and impartial election process. I personally believe that repeating its requirements will be helpful to see the big picture of Arab Countries. it would not be wrong to say that political parties are the main actors of democracy. In modern societies. a political system can be a direct democracy. gender. can re-elect a certain political party or take the power back in the next election. More commonly.60 Chapter Three Democracy is one of the most contested terms of politics since ancient times. voting rights for adult citizens. like in France. the main questions arise: Why is democracy institutionalized just on the western side of the world? What are the requirements of a functioning democracy? What are the missing components in eastern countries in the western mind? A “Functioning” Democracy It is clear that ‘democracy’ is a well-known term all over the world. political parties are required. but people will always stand at the centre of the system. it is possible to say that the main understanding about democracy is that it is limited to the ‘western’ world. The mechanism of representative democracy can be considered as the best way to include people in a political system. a parliamentary democracy. However. social status. or a semi presidential democracy.

Separation of powers. social media and the . in a democratic system. and limitations. none of them can affect or even try to manipulate the other. right to be candidate.Islam and Democracy: Arab Spring and the Turkish Experience 61 country. Each of them has its own duties. in some political systems. In today’s democratic system. if one goes to vote and another one tries to stop him or criticize him. For instance. form a new one. Without the freedom of opinion. the political parties that fail to secure a prescribed amount of votes. executive power. By elections. other civic rights like freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration. besides conventional media channels. In such a system. Within this separation of power. For the maximum participation of people in politics and political debates. and judicial power need to be separated clearly. Elections. the voters can exercise political control over the party in power and provide room for alteration of the political party in power. and it provides accountability to the voters. It is true that in democracy. every single one can focus on its duties which provide a legitimate environment for politics. work for a political party and engage political activities like propaganda before the elections. not to vote is also a right. legislative power. A genuine democratic system is expected to guarantee these rights. especially if the electoral system requires a certain percentage of election thresholds. Freedom of press. the press is a fundamental tool to monitor and understand what the government does during its ruling period. It would not be wrong if one says that it is the main tool for people to learn about governmental policies and their implementations. as mentioned above. and provide protection for people who intend to use these rights. the electoral system might also cause the disappearance of some votes. people have the right to be a member of a certain political party. responsibilities. right to vote. A multi-party political system gives people the right to choose their representatives freely. On the other hand. the right to be a member of a political party. in a functioning democracy. in a democratic system. and one can make propaganda about it. elections take place every 4 or 5 years. regular elections need to be held frequently in a fair and competitive manner. Respect for and protection of civic and political rights. but nobody can stop the other using his right to vote. freedom of speech and union are also important. right to elect and to be elected are among fundamental civic and political rights. talk or act in a political sphere. Nowadays. the system has to protect voters. cannot represent their electorates in the parliament. According to these limitations. right to form a political party. nobody can think.

especially in Tunisia and Egypt. After decades of repression and political manipulation. In the West. They have demonstrated to the outside world that people now possessed power. They asked for a genuine democracy and questioned the real meaning of terms like ‘democracy’. And new NGOs have been established after Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak fled from their countries. . Yemen and even some of the Gulf countries. the initial response from the West was highlighting the dangers for the authoritarian rulers to be merely replaced by radical Islam. This has ultimately increased the already existing trends for ‘Islamophobia’. Thousands of candidates competed for a place in the new Parliament. they did not have real political ‘freedom’ due to the authoritarian regime created by their ‘dictators’. Libya. ‘vote’ and so on. They were not politicians. The “Arab Spring” initiated as protest movements. People from the aforementioned countries raised similar concerns for freedom. and most of them competed in elections. almost of these requirements of a democratic system have been considered established and institutionalized. “Arab Spring”: A Quest for Democracy Since early 2011. Repeating all these bricks of democracy before going further into the Arab Spring. However. it can be argued that these countries have passed a crucial stage with an organization of recent elections. When we look at the initial results of revolutions. In Tunisia and Egypt. they were the “people” who occupied streets and stayed there all day long. the people wanted to take charge. end of corruption and nepotism. Syria. People started to be a part of the new political systems in their countries. Elections after the uprisings have demonstrated Arab people’s long suppressed demand and eagerness for a democratic system. One of the most striking common features of the outcry from many countries was that they were raised by ordinary people who constitute the core of the society. first in Tunisia. but then it gradually converted into “revolutionary movements” seeking to change the status quo. new political parties have been created. democracy. was important to see the big picture. ‘freedom’. Until these elections. ‘people’. They have also shattered the widespread perception in the West regarding the irreconcilability between democracy and Islam. then Egypt. the world started to hear a call from Arab countries. All these elements listed above are the main building blocks for democracy. Especially the Internet is being considered as a “free world”.62 Chapter Three Internet have become essential tools. and demand a change in their political system.

Islam and Democracy: Arab Spring and the Turkish Experience


Forming political parties or even NGOs was virtually impossible. They did not have freedom of speech or freedom of assembly. In the aftermath of their revolution, they wanted be a part of the political system, and they created a new political scene for the future of their countries. Some of the countries that experienced the uprisings already had elections for the office of the President and/or the Parliament. However, these elections were conducted under the absolute control of the rulers. In this respect, the Arab people were also disillusioned about the electorate system, the practice of having rigged elections without any real effect on the political system. As the system lost its legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of the electorate, Arab people demanded more than cosmetic modifications. That is to say, having an election is not proof of democracy. If people lost their credence in the system, then that system needed to be revised. In this point, the call from Arab Countries and their struggle started a new era. In this environment, the question is, can Islam and democracy go together?

Islam‘s Compatibility with Democracy
Compatibility between Islam and democracy is yet another hotly debated topic in the field of political science. While scholars belonging to the Orientalist way of thinking argue their incompatibility, the ones in the opposite camp question the credibility and legitimacy of democracy in its Western sense. Some even claim that democracy is a foreign concept which does not belong and cannot be integrated to any Muslim society. In the meantime, they claim that democracy is also a tool to cut the line between people and religion because democracy mainly needs a secularized system, which is often considered as “not having a religion” in the eastern perspective. For ‘western’ democracy, the control of the system belongs to the people, in other words to the voters, which brings the total sovereignty of people. For some of the Islamic thinkers, there is only one sovereignty in the world, and that belongs to their ‘God’. The rulers of Islamic countries are often considered as the “shadows of God” or “hands of God”. Hence, putting the sovereignty of people at the centre of the political system, in other words having a democracy, is often considered as the denial of God’s sovereignty. In this line of thinking, elections are deemed as “unnecessary”. Since, it will not be possible to replace the sovereignty regardless of the elections results, Radical scholars consider democracy and elections as ‘sins’ against God, and if one keeps talking about these concepts, he can be accused of not being a good Muslim.


Chapter Three

There are, however, some other arguments in the Muslim world favouring the concept of democracy and arguing the inherent democracy embedded in Islam. They believe that it is possible to have an “Islamic democracy”. For them, it is not possible to adapt the western democracy, but a democracy which contains certain important elements of Islam can be formed and put into action in Muslim societies. Even today, when the Arab Spring is happening and re-shaping the region, this discussion is still on the agenda of eastern thinkers. As with the eastern thinkers, many scholars from the West also argue that Islam and democracy cannot be compatible. Even after the Arab uprisings, some argue that autocrats will simply be replaced by political formations favouring radical regimes. The most powerful opposition to entrenched leaders in many Arab nations is Islamists who are the groups that embrace a political view of Islam and reject secular forms of government. However, if we take into consideration the elections in Tunisia and Egypt, it is possible to say that the majority of these new political parties do not seem to have a secret agenda to lead their countries into radicalism. For instance, a significant number of women were elected in Tunisia; even the parties that are considered as Islamist did not make their propaganda around Shari’ah or head-scarf. They often tried to convince their people and Western observers that they would not interfere in the lifestyle of people or people’s freedom. From the beginning of the Arab Spring, scholars from East and West are talking about the future of the region. While discussing the future of these countries, most of them make frequent references to Turkey as a model. With its Muslim majority society, the Republic of Turkey has a functioning democracy within laic state structure and this characteristic places Turkey at the centre of debates about the future of the region.

The Turkish Experience
Turkey is an enormous country, with a population of 75 million. With its laic, social, democratic state structure, the Republic of Turkey is generally perceived as a democratic country in a Western sense. Today with its growing economy, Turkey is an important actor in world politics. Consequently, the Turkish experience became a case study for the debate about “Islam and democracy”. Proponents of the compatibility between Islam and democracy indicate the success and viability of the Turkish case. When we take a glance at the Middle East, it would not be possible to talk about another democracy which functions and puts people’s will at the core of the system. But for Turkey, it is quite common to say that it is a

Islam and Democracy: Arab Spring and the Turkish Experience


“bridge” between the east and the west which holds regular elections, and puts people as sovereign of the territory of Turkey. Within the perspective of these discussions, today’s popular question is: can Turkey be a role model for Arab States in which transformations are being actualized right now? There is no certain answer for that question. In order to provide an insight for the abovementioned question, one should also take into consideration the evaluation of the Turkish model. The Republic of Turkey was built on the Ottoman Empire’s heritages. During the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan was not only a ruler but also a Caliph, the successor of the Prophet Muhammad. Islam was the religion of the Empire, and Shari’ah was the fundamental law for a long time. At the turn of the 19th century, the Empire was heavily exposed to the ideas stemming from the French revolution, like freedom, equality and fraternity. With the growing national awareness and aspirations of different ethnicities, the Ottoman Empire imposed a comprehensive modernization programme. After a long period of an absolute monarchy under the guidance of Islam and reign of the Sultan, fundamental rights and liberties of the Ottoman subjects belonging to different religions were protected with the promulgation of the Noble Rescript of Rose Bower (Gülhane Hatt-I Şerifi) in 1839, the Imperial Rescript (Islahat Fermanı) of 1856 and the first Ottoman Constitution of 1876. With the so-called Tanzimat (Reorganization) reforms, rights of nonMuslims had been guaranteed. With the modernization programme, the millet system1 took a significant importance in the Ottoman structure. For instance, the Sharia courts were joined by special commercial courts and a criminal code. The adoption of the first Ottoman Constitution could be considered as the first attempt to adapt the concept of “constitutional citizenship.” Right after this brief information, it is certain to say that the universal terms like constitution, freedom, and rights were not alien terms for the Turks even during the Ottoman Empire. And the Turkish Independence War against the imperial powers of the period had significant repercussions on the future of the modern Turkey. The Turkish Revolution led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, contained a series of political, social, economic and legal reforms. These reforms were implemented in order to modernize the new born Republic and create a

The Millet system is a way of governance in which every Millet (ethnic/religious group) was taken care of by individual leaders. The millets were lay states within a state; they had a certain degree of autonomy, their own taxation system and their own set of laws, in return for unswerving loyalty to the Empire.

This process was commonly known as “secularization”. point to the separation of religion from state affairs as the crucial difference between Turkey and the rest of the Muslim societies. with a due emphasis on the educational system. like the Civil Code of Switzerland. These reforms had been done within a carefully planned programme. was abolished on the same . Accordingly. and ethics of Islam. the Directorate for Religious Affairs provides information for Sunni-Islam believers. it is necessary to differentiate the terms of secularism. and laicitè. The changes were both conceptually radical and culturally significant. The new Republic has respected the equality of religions and freedom of conscience for all Turkish citizens in their own private space under the protection of the Republic. In a laic state structure. and administer sacred worshipping places. Ataturk’s political reforms included a number of fundamental institutional changes that would bring the end of the Ottoman legacy. The term used in Turkish is based on the French word laicitè. Turkey has taken legal texts in Europe as an example and implemented them. who consider Islam as an obstacle against democratic development. The English word secularism may be misleading since it is often used in the context of anti-religious philosophy. enlighten the public about their religion. One of the main ideas was the separation of religion from state affairs. Even though the state is supposed to provide equal rights for every religion. The core of these reforms was the belief that Turkish society had to westernize itself both politically and culturally in order to be modernized. which was possessed by the Ottomans since 1517. which was created to execute the works concerning the beliefs. For that reason. The religious education system was replaced by a national education system on March 3. This was followed by a thorough modernization of the state apparatus and society. the new laic state’s position on religion was demonstrated by the establishment of the Directorate for Religious Affairs (Turkish: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı). and the Caliphate. but the Turkish implementation resembled more the French model of laicitè. democratic and laic state. Political change was implemented to unravel the complex system that had developed over the centuries. and Criminal Law from Italy. In the Turkish case. 1924. The reforms began with the modernization and adaptation of the constitution to the Western political system. worship. Some eastern thinkers. adapting laicism to the system cannot be considered as antireligious or anti-Islamic.66 Chapter Three modern. and it indicates the principle of separation between religion and the state. Administrative Law from France. the state controls religious affairs in order to provide equal rights for every religion.

the reform process was characterized by a struggle between progressives. official recognition of the Ottoman millets was withdrawn. they were given the right to vote and be elected in national elections. The direction of the change was important as well as the change itself. Another significant reform was extending social and civil rights to women. laic authority. The changes meant the end of the millet system of religious/ethnic communities. unemployment. Poverty. The Turkish experience. shows a lot of things about the modernization of a certain structure and how a new-born state can become democratic with reforms. etc. that actions without violence could change certain political systems. Under the new reformed system. In 1930. they are the sovereign ones. the Turkish Constitution stated the equality of everyone regardless of their sex. we saw people who occupied the streets in some European countries like Italy. Apart from adaptation of laicism. From the beginning of the “Jasmine Revolution”. language and ethnicity. Following the protests in Arab countries. The Role of Turkey in New Era Arab uprisings have indicated the beginning of a new era in World politics. represented by Ataturk and his reform-minded military-bureaucratic elite and conservatives. The new Turkish Republic could not institutionalize a multiparty system in Ataturk’s lifetime despite a few unsuccessful attempts. With the Arab uprisings. Finally. race. with the formation of the Democrat Party in 1945 and first multiparty elections in 1946. as a benchmark of the consolidation of multi-party democracy in Turkey. The first peaceful alteration of power took place in 1950. Spain. represented by proponents of the ancient Ottoman structures. In line with Ataturk’s conceptualization of equality between men and women. religion. the most commonly used terminology for the Tunisian . corruption. The ‘Arab Spring’ represented the success of collective actions. Revising the brief information about the Turkish experience will be helpful for the last part of this study. It was replaced by a common. women were permitted to participate in local elections. not the rulers. They wanted to be heard by their rulers and become the main actors for change. As such. Turkey had a genuine political competition between parties. and in 1934. Women’s position was strengthened when the Swiss Civil Code was adapted in 1926. Muslim societies understood that they are at the core of their states. another important reform was the integration of sovereignty of people. and other socio-economic factors made people occupy the streets.Islam and Democracy: Arab Spring and the Turkish Experience 67 day. the modernization process which goes back to the Ottoman Empire. most importantly.

scholars and thinkers. but the crucial question is whether Turkey can serve as a “role” model or even whether any country can serve as a model for one another in principle. pointing to Turkey as an example has made them think about how democracy and Islam can co-exist. For years. such as Facebook and Twitter via illegal ways. The main factor underlying these concerns is the Arab countries’ lack of experience in politics. Thus. taking Turkey as an inspiration might serve well for on-going transformation in these countries. By analysing the Turkish Experience. The Turkish Experience reflects the fact that many Muslims. In Syria. see democracy as their main hope and a vehicle for effective political participation. They might come to the conclusion that they do not need to sacrifice their religiosity to be entitled to democracy and basic rights. democracy is a highly contested term with many variations. especially from the West. Accordingly. the Internet. But. They have no idea about how to be engaged in politics and propaganda. is under the control of the governments. is a fundamental base of democracy as well as a .68 Chapter Three Revolution. political parties and civil society. It is a process which takes time and effort. For this reason. people can see what they are capable of achieving. in terms of democracy and fundamental rights. In a majority of Muslim countries. these countries were ruled by ‘one’ man. and consequently. access to social media is under strict control of the state. for example. their knowledge about the outside world is limited. while preserving their religious credentials. Sovereignty of people. However. have been pointing to Turkey as an example or even a role model since the outset of the Arab uprisings. in the meantime. Even today. popular sovereignty. are on the agenda of world politics. Arab countries might be in need of a guide or a compass for their transformation process. in some countries. in other words. The meaning of real democracy and the ways and means for being engaged in real politics cannot be conceptualized by people just in a day. some countries like Tunisia have a significant amount of educated people who can lead the country in this transformation process. But what about the issue of one country serving as a “role model” for another? As stated earlier. there was no political sphere for the people. whether living under secular or theocratic environments. the direction of change and destination that these countries are heading to. People can only access social media tools. it stands as one of the most effective systems for sustaining the participation of people in politics. Although some might argue that democracy is not the perfect system. the ultimate source of knowledge. democracy is accepted as an “alien” concept.

copy-paste democracy cannot be considered as an option. Thus. having a Muslim majority population does not make Turkey a role model for other Muslim countries. economic. The Ataturk period was. Nonetheless. Turkey still provides insights for the Arab people and the newly elected governments of these countries by telling them about her own transformational history. . which dissolves the theory about Turkey being a role model for Arab countries. as well as societal peculiarities. and democracy needs to be adapted according to different conditions. In conclusion. Its strong democratic credentials. they will probably be rejected by the society when you ‘paste’ them over. the aforementioned countries should create their own systems for an effective separation of religion from state affairs. Even if you ‘copy’ certain legal provisions or institutions of a country. and still is. more people-to-people contacts. In this regard. For this reason. A “copy-paste” democracy is not possible. and cooperation between national assemblies. Without taking account of the Ottoman legacy. Turkey might serve as a source of inspiration for these countries with its success story.Islam and Democracy: Arab Spring and the Turkish Experience 69 common element for different variations. and cooperation between civil society organizations. arguments propagating Turkey as a role model are generally constructed without a proper analysis of Turkish political history. and Ataturk’s reforms. Having a Muslim majority is not an obstacle on the way to democracy and the concept of secularism/laicitè is very central for both the transformation and consolidation of democracy in the Arab world. they need to study the fundamental characteristics of the Turkish Revolution. as a final thought to this study. important to understand under what conditions Ataturk and his companions created a nation from scratch and placed the laic state structure in its place – in a highlyreligious society which had the Caliphate. Thus. Furthermore. Turkey’s peculiar characteristics cannot be understood in their entirety. Turkey is capable of being a source of inspiration rather than a role model for Arab countries. If Arab nations want to understand modern Turkey. Each country has a different model of democracy based on their historical trajectories and political. countries affected by Arab uprisings do not need any role model in their journey towards democracy. While studying the relative advantages and disadvantages of the Turkish model of a functioning democracy with a Muslim majority. may also provide efficient channels for these countries to understand the Turkish Experience. 19th century modernization efforts. increased economic relations with the Middle East. Every society has its own dynamics. no country can serve as an “ideal template” or “role model” for another one.

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Studies such as that of Esposito and Mogahed. Kuwait. current trends in the sociological study of Islam have recognized the benefits of asking Muslims in majority Muslim . also consider their Muslim faith a motivation to fight for women’s rights. current trends in the sociological study of Islam have recognized the benefits of asking Muslims in majority Muslim contexts to speak for themselves. Politics. and what they look like. I will address the demographic profile of Islamic feminists based on a pilot study of Kuwaiti college students. Who Speaks for Islam? (2007).” Preliminary results show that although women appear more liberal than men on some women’s rights issues. a significant percentage of men. “Islamic Feminist” is defined as someone who agrees with the statement that “Islam is a source of personal motivation for me to fight for women’s rights.CHAPTER FOUR WHO IS AN ISLAMIC FEMINIST AND WHAT DOES HE LOOK LIKE? ALESSANDRA L. what they want. Feminism. Previous research on Islamic religiosity (González 2011) and Islam and gender (González and Al-Kazi 2011) has found that many perceptions of the Muslim faith and gender attitudes must be reconsidered. particularly those whose mothers have attended at least some amount of college. A demographic profile of the male respondents who identify as Muslims and believe that their faith is a source of motivation for them to fight for women’s rights is also discussed. and even academic wisdom might have about who the majority of Muslims are. In this paper. and Isobel Coleman’s Paradise Beneath Her Feet (2010). GONZÁLEZ Abstract: While much scholarship on Islam has been done by scholars from outside the Muslim context. Introduction and Background While much scholarship on Islam has been done by scholars from outside the Muslim context. In this paper. challenge many assumptions that politicians and policy makers. Key Words: Gender.

2011) and Islam and gender (González and Al-Kazi. A demographic profile of the male respondents who identify as Muslims and believe that their faith is a source of motivation for them to fight for women’s rights is also discussed. Who Speaks for Islam? (2007). and pro-women activist youths in a majority Muslim context. The data for this study come from a sample of Kuwaiti College students. “Islamic Feminist” is defined as someone who agrees with the statement that “Islam is a source of personal motivation for me to fight for women’s rights. This study contributes to the sociological fields of Religion and Gender from an International Relations Perspective. who in 2007 were excited to talk about the new possibilities for women in their country after women were allowed to vote and run for parliament there since May 2005. particularly those whose mothers have attended at least some amount of college. In this study. A study of similar juxtapositions is found in the case study of male.” As is elaborated further in this study. and what they look like. a significant percentage of men. and Isobel Coleman’s Paradise Beneath Her Feet (2010). This chapter fits into a volume that explores how International Relations academics understand the field of Islamic Studies.74 Chapter Four contexts to speak for themselves. The fact that Kuwaitis could explore new roles and responsibilities for women while retaining their Islamic cultural and religious identity makes this case study particularly timely and relevant. and also informs Islamic Scholars who can provide additional insights for discussion. the seeds of change were planted and growing. 2011) has found that many perceptions of the Muslim faith and gender attitudes must be reconsidered. . This paper addresses the demographic profile of Islamic feminists based on a pilot study of 1139 Kuwaiti college students. Previous research on Islamic religiosity (González. Before the current wave of populist revolutions swept throughout the Middle East. will serve for future research on the subject. results show that although women appear more liberal than men on some women’s rights issues. Studies such as that of Esposito and Mogahed. as well as how Islamic scholars perceive comparative analysis in International Relations. also consider their Muslim faith a motivation to fight for women’s rights. Muslim. and how they differ from Female Islamic Feminists. what they want. At the very least. and even academic wisdom might have about who the majority of Muslims are. who they are. challenge many assumptions that politicians and policy makers. exploring the concept of Male Islamic Feminists.

and insights into how this plays out differently for politically active men and women in majority Muslim contexts. 2005). and has begun to create new categories and definitions out of this particular focus of study. much of the latest focus on Sociology of Islam and Gender has started to set aside previous conceptions of the compatibility of Islam and feminism. 1998). 2009). a seeming paradox for outside scholars of feminism. This bias is particularly held of men in traditionally patriarchal. have recently come together to break through academic biases and paradigms that pit pro-women agendas against religious sensibilities. supposedly woven into the tapestry of her Islamic culture and religion. The fact that this chapter is also particularly focused on male subjects in a discussion of feminist paradigms in itself offers a paradigm shift from traditional feminist studies in the West. and Muslim women in comparative perspective (Bodman and Tohidi. 2001). 2009). globalization (Byes and Tohidi. Islam and International Relations (Kruase. Male Studies as Feminist Studies Scholars of women and gender. In actuality. and which purport an incompatibility between Islamic identity and a progressive women’s rights agenda. has generated much study (Sundal. It should be emphasized that this sample of Kuwaiti College Students is neither representative of Kuwaiti Muslim Men nor Muslim men as a whole.Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like? 75 Recent Trends in the Study of Islam and Gender A number of recent scholars have brought back a focus on the Muslim woman as an agent in her own “liberation” from patriarchal oppression. but what it does offer is a case study into the possibilities of the compatibility of Islam and a pro-women’s rights agenda. majority Muslim societies. such as in Turkey. That some educated women would fight for their right to wear the Islamic headscarf. Atasoy. 2006. as well as scholars of Islam. Some such literature includes studies of Muslim women within the study of Islam and political change (Moghadam. who have long held markers such as the Muslim headscarf as an inherent symbol of patriarchal oppression. The current study explores the paradoxical concept of a Male Muslim Feminist identity and offers ground-breaking empirical analysis into this little-known demographic. A male-focused study of gender supports the latest wave of research within gender studies that focuses on men as equally important to and in tangential relationship with the shifts of . A particular focus has been to analyse politically active Islamist Muslim women.

76 Chapter Four roles and responsibilities for women (Coltrane. particularly in a majority Muslim context. roles. In effect. This is an interesting question to ask of college students (the demographic of the sample) in a majority Muslim context (the Gulf state of Kuwait. . Exploring these two questions makes a contribution to the growing literature on Islamic Feminism. expanding current definitions of what it means to be “pro-women” and religious. with so many changes and possibilities for women that have never been offered before. to present evidence that male Muslim feminists do indeed exist. and responsibilities for men have changed as well. Baumeister. we see who of the sample of 1139 Kuwaiti College Students agrees or strongly agrees with the statement “Islam is a source of personal motivation for me to fight for women’s rights. 2010. Aims of the Current Study and Selection of Variables There are two aims of the current study: First. what they believe. N=733. where the data was collected). and second. Kimmel. the selection of variables is related to the aims of the study. 1997. to explore who these male Muslim Feminists are. Data: ISAS Kuwait 2007. and how they differ from female Muslim women’s rights activists in the Middle East. Figure 1 shows the breakdown of “Islamic Feminists” in the sample by gender. Naturally.” This answers the definition of “Islamic feminist” as someone who is an activist for women’s rights from within their Islamic religion. the rights. In order to select the demographic of interest. and should also be considered an important matter of study. 2008).

” These respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I consider myself a feminist. but is not as pertinent to the consideration of the importance of religiosity to the definition of an Islamic feminist. the Male respondents who fit the definition of Islamic feminist as outlined in Figure 1. and respondent fatigue is a likely cause of the drop in the number of respondents to this question. .” This second measure of “feminist” is a valid one.” However. which is displayed by gender in Figure 2: Data: ISAS Kuwait 2007. the statement addresses more of the subject of a belief in “gender equality. *In the Arabic translation.Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like? 77 It also drastically reduces the number of respondents by almost half.1 Another way to define a “feminist” is by self-ascription. An extensive profile of these Male Islamic Feminists is displayed in Table 1. in the Arabic translation distributed to the students. the term “feminist” refers more closely to a belief in “gender equality. N=832. but nonetheless provides a sizeable sample with which to conduct the rest of the analysis. those Male respondents who agreed that “Islam is a source of motivation” for them to fight for women’s rights. So for the purposes of this study. are the ones selected for further analysis. 1 The question of Islamic Feminism came towards the end of the survey.

and law majors. and life skills) at all three campuses of Kuwait University (Shwaikh. 16% are married. González and Al-Kazi. and are 78% Sunni. including modules on religious practice. In other respects. The ISAS for Kuwait has a total of 159 items. while having more engineering and Islamic studies majors. political science.2 The survey was distributed to students during class time (2263 surveys were distributed). . Keyfan. Kuwait University is the oldest and largest university in the country. belonging. 2011. For this chapter. most of the analysis was done selecting only the 2 A comparison by field of study indicates the sample had fewer natural science. The data were collected in 58 undergraduate classes from 11 different departments (anthropology. education. so the fact that there were proportionally more of these majors in my sample than the proportion of majors in the university population as a whole must be considered as part of the sampling error. as evidenced by the fact that more than half of the respondents’ mothers have attended at least some amount of college. English. The ISAS focuses on the measurement of religiosity. electrical engineering. education. attitudes about democracy and relations with the West. 2007). and contains some religiosity items approximate to those in the Baylor Religion Survey (Bader et al. and family religiosity. The ISAS English version was translated by a local team of translators and edited by social science faculty involved with this project. About 45% are in their last year of college. liberal arts information.000 annually. spiritual experience. Social attitude modules include questions on women’s rights.000 and $100. Sixty-one percent of respondents are female. Over half (58%) come from families that earn between $40. liberal arts. The data was then entered into a database by the Statistical Unit at Kuwait University and analysed using statistical software packages SAS and SPSS. such as sex and sect ratio. and Khaldiya).78 Chapter Four Data and Methods The data for this study come from the Islamic Social Attitudes Survey (ISAS) data of 1139 Kuwaiti College students collected in 2007 (see also González. and students were invited to take the surveys during the class period (participation was voluntary). These students come from highly educated families. 2011). No discipline was oversampled. minority rights. belief. The survey was in Arabic. sociology. the sample matched the university population.. and half are in their early twenties. political attitudes and civic engagement. statistical consultation. We did not distribute any surveys to the faculty for Sharia and Islamic studies. religious networks. behaviour. psychology. business.

More than half do attend the mosque at least once a week (a ritual more prescriptive for Muslim . a Principle Components Factor Analysis of Social and Political Attitudes was done by gender to see where Male Islamic Feminists differ from Female Feminists on various political and social topics of interest. Findings: What Male Islamic Feminists Look Like First. Third. a descriptive analysis was conducted to explore demographic. women’s rights and political attitude variables. or of the incompatibility between traditional dress (such as the ghutra for men or hijab for women) and progressive attitudes about women’s rights. socialization and women’s rights and political attitude variables (Table 1) which serves to answer the question “Do Male Islamic Feminists Exist?” in the affirmative. religiosity. The data show that most of the male Kuwaiti college students who identified themselves as Islamic Feminists. but almost 90% wear the traditional Arab headdress (called a ghutra in Kuwaiti Arabic). which begins to shake some of the superficial stereotypes about male Muslims uniformly wearing beards in the example of the Prophet Mohammed. and gives us leads on the question of what Male Islamic Feminists look like. which may indicate socialization towards the compatibility of Islam and higher education for women. or Muslim headscarf. socialization.” In order to address the research question “Who are Male Islamic Feminists?”. live in a household with less than USD $50. as was provided by the example of their mothers. religiosity. first a descriptive analysis was conducted to explore demographic. The point of mother’s education is one worth highlighting here because of the likely influence on the male student’s perceptions of the range of possibilities for women in their societies. 95. religiosity.2% of the Male Islamic Feminists wear a beard.3% of the same male students report that their mothers wear the hijab.000 annual income. have never married. and socialization variables. only 10. Second. This analysis was conducted by gender to determine which factors increased the likelihood that the male or female Kuwaiti Muslim college student would identify as someone whose personal faith motivated him or her to fight for women’s rights. are between the ages of 21-25.Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like? 79 male students from the sample who also responded that they “agreed or strongly agreed” with the statement “Islam is a source of personal motivation for me to fight for women’s rights. and would have a college-educated mother. On issues of individual religiosity. a Binary Logistic Regression of Feminist Identity was conducted on demographic.

9 236 235 234 236 214 228 232 236 42.7 43.0 67.1 5.2 55.4 17.6 33.4 54.9 23.0 210 236 221 230 N .5 12.6 28.0 61.2 13.80 Chapter Four Table 1.8 71.1 36.7 36.2 2.8 10.5 32.9 14.3 87.2 89. Male Islamic Feminist Descriptive Statistics Valid Percent Demographics Age 18-20 21-25 26-36 Marital Status Married Never Married Household Annual Income Less than $50 K $50 K to $100 K More than $100K Mother’s Education High School or less Some College or More Religiosity Wears a Beard Wears Traditional Arab Headdress (Ghutra) Attends Mosque at Least Once/Wk Reads the Qur’an at Least Once/Wk Prays at Least Once/Wk Considers Self a Religious Person Sect Sunni Shia Religious School of Thought Salafi Muslim Brotherhood Najaf – Shia Qums – Shia Muslim – No Affiliation 10.

4 81 229 236 234 216 232 - 232 235 213 231 188 236 213 205 .9 13.7 57.9 8.3 26.0 0.3 23.6 74.3 3.4 31.2 26.2 71.3 22.0 65.7 19.6 95.7 37.2 28.9 27.4 1.4 86. 34.2 0.8 8.5 30.Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like? Socialization Parents are Religious Raised Religiously Mother Wears Hijab Female Friends Wear Hijab None A few About Half Most All “I don’t have close female friends.4 5.” Major in School Natural Science Engineering Social Science Medicine Arts Business Education Sharia and Islamic Studies Biology Women’s Rights Attitudes Woman Can Be a Good Muslim and Not Wear Hijab Political Islamist Islam is Compatible with Women’s Political Leadership Equal Contribution to Income Personal Status Laws Unfair Political Attitudes Political Activity Score 0 1-4 5-7 US Right to Invade Iraq US Should leave Iraq Immediately Note: Data come from the ISAS Kuwait Survey 2007.9 82.6 67.3 23.

it may be that scholars and statisticians have difficulty identifying religious and pro-women men (and women) in Muslim societies because they do not fit under the political label “Islamist” and may not get picked up by secular or Liberal political candidates either.82 Chapter Four men than women in majority Muslim contexts) and almost 62% consider themselves religious. but are not so secular or Liberal as to avoid having any female friends with hijab. Interestingly. This is important to note because it is possible that religious and pro-women Muslim men may not identify as politically Islamist because of the tendency of those parties to incorporate traditional and non-progressive roles for women into their political platforms. and about 83% say they were raised religiously. these Male Islamic Feminists are certainly raised with religious sensibilities. A minority (31%) identify as Political Islamists. Religious Salience is a measure found consistently to be a good measure of individual religiosity (Glock and Stark. in a Muslim society where gender segregation in public is the norm. indicating some ecumenicalism that might accompany the ideological liberalism of this Male Islamic Feminist demographic. 1966) and is helpful to our exploration of the salience of religion to these Male Muslim Feminists. to a few wearing hijab. but as it is not the focus of the study. about 37% identify as Muslims with “no affiliation. we simply note a diversity of social networks ranging from no female friends. Education (24%) and Social Science (23%). College majors of Male Islamic Feminists vary. About 87% say their parents are religious. and 20% say only “a few” of their female friends wear the headscarf. The breakdown by sect mirrors the general breakdown in Kuwait (about 70% Sunni. about 30% Shia. Engineering (26%). Along with the large percentage who did not identify with a particular religious School of Thought. An interesting variable to note is whether or not. There are possibly other factors that influence the opportunity for these male students to select possible female friends. none wear hijab. but among the top majors are Sharia and Islamic Studies (27%). are their female friends religious or not? For the sample of Male Kuwaiti College students who we identify as “Islamic Feminists.” while the rest are distributed between other Schools of Thought in Islam. do these Male Islamic Feminists have close female friends at all? Of those. When it comes to socialization. according to the Kuwait entry of the CIA WorldFactbook).” about 26% say they do not have close female friends. . and then about 23% say of their female friends. These are interesting findings because they show that these Male Islamic Feminists are not strictly conservative Muslims (or more might have responded that they did not have close female friends).

Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like?


As expected, Male Islamic Feminists tend to support Liberal or progressive positions on various women’s rights attitudes, including the belief that “a woman can be a good Muslim and not wear hijab” (67.5%), and that women should have an equal contribution to household income (71.4%). Interestingly, only 31% of Male Islamic Feminists agree that Personal Status Laws are “unfair” in Kuwait, which differs from the results of the Female Islamic Feminists (see Table 3). Personal Status Laws in Kuwait are based largely on the Islamic Shariah, or “Islamic Law” which does discriminate by gender on matters such as settlement and child custody in the event of a divorce, ability to own property, percentage of inheritance of wealth, ability to pass citizenship to children, and various other social and political status issues (Al-Mughni, 2005). Lastly, these Male Islamic Feminists span the gamut of political activity, ranging from absolutely no participation in political activities (about 35%), to participating in 1-4 political activities (37%) or participating in 5-7 political activities (28%), which include running as a political candidate, volunteering on a campaign, text-messaging, flyerdistribution, forwarding an email, writing a letter, making a phone call, attending an informational meeting or conference, marching, protesting, donating money, or voting in a political, religious, or women’s rights campaigns (ISAS 2007). Most (65.7%) believe both that the US was right to invade Iraq in 2003 and that American troops should leave Iraq immediately. Remembering that the data was collected in Kuwait, a country which had been invaded by Iraq under Saddam Hussein in 1990, might help to interpret these seemingly paradoxical results by emphasizing that for this sample of Male Kuwaiti college students, global politics, as with matters of religion and gender, may hold various strong beliefs in tangent and tension.

Findings: Who is More Likely to be an Islamic Feminist
Second, a Binary Logistic Regression of Feminist Identity was conducted on demographic, religiosity, and religious socialization variables. This analysis was conducted by gender to determine which factors increased the likelihood that the male or female Kuwaiti Muslim college student would identify as someone whose personal faith motivated him or her to fight for women’s rights.


Chapter Four

Table 2. Binary Logistic Regression of Feminist ID on Demographics, Religiosity Measures, and Religious Socialization Variables (by Gender)
Males Only Constant Demographics -0.007 (0.080) Income 0.064 (0.360) Mother’s Education 0.681 (0.345) Married 0.848 (0.737) Religiosity Measures Weekly Mosque Attendance -0.279 (0.358) Daily Qur’an Reading -0.158 (0.373) Daily Prayer 0.609 (0.514) Wears a Beard/Faceveil 0.383 (0.628) -0.204 (0.295) Raised Religiously -0.383 (0.476) Politically Islamista -0.477 (0.353) Religious Experience 0.060 (0.334) Religious Salience 0.344 (0.340)

Females Only

B (SE) Odds Ratio B (SE) Odds Ratio 1.536 (1.844) 4.645 1.425 (2.318) 4.157 Age 0.993 1.066 1.976* 2.334 0.756 0.854 1.838 1.466 0.816 0.682 0.621 1.062 1.411 1.506 -0.098 (0.104) -0.533 (0.355) 0.116 (0.334) 0.888(0.432) 0.708 (0.808) 0.326 (0.325) -0.534 (0.423) -1.152 (0.480) 0.0907 0.587 1.123 2.429* 2.031 1.385 0.586 0.316*

Religious Socialization Parents are Religious

0.835 (0.262) 2.305*** -0.162 (0.444) -0.488 (0.363) 0.047 (0.308) 0.611 (0.333) -0.497 (0.391) 0.136 412 0.850 0.614 1.048 1.843 0.608 -

Nagelkerke R N

Shia b 0.409 (0.390) 0.096 227

Note: Data comes from the ISAS Kuwait Survey 2007. “Feminist ID” is defined as someone who agrees or strongly agrees that “Islam is a source of personal motivation for me to fight for women’s rights.” *p < 0.05 level; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001. a Liberals and Moderates were the contrast categories; b Sunni Muslims were the contrast category.

Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like?


Interestingly, none of the demographic or individual religiosity variables had any effect on the likelihood of male respondents identifying as Male Islamic Feminists, except for the mother’s education, which had a positive effect on Islamic Feminist identification. For women, it appears that marital status, wearing a face veil (niqab), and religious socialization of the parents impacted the likelihood of female Islamic Feminist Identity. Being married and having religious parents increased the chance that a female would identify as an Islamic Feminist, while wearing a face veil decreased the likelihood that a female would identify as a feminist. Here, we make several preliminary conclusions that there are indeed gender differences in Feminist Identity, even controlling for the same demographic, religiosity, and religious socialization variables. While male influences on Feminist Identity are still to be explored, preliminary results show that the mother’s advanced level of education appeared to positively affect Male Islamic Feminist Identity. On the other hand, a select few variables from all three areas of influence (demographic influences, individual religious practice, and religious socialization) influenced the likelihood of Female Islamic Feminist identity.

Findings: Where Male and Female Islamic Feminists Differ
Third, a Principle Components Factor Analysis of Social and Political Attitudes was done by gender to see where Male Islamic Feminists differ from Female Feminists on various political and social topics of interest. From the results in Table 3, we see that Male Islamic Feminists believe that a woman can wear hijab and still be considered a “good” Muslim, and that it is important that she contributes equally to household income. A second factor shows a strong belief that American troops should leave Iraq immediately (keeping in mind that this data was collected in 2007). The last Factor shows that Male Islamic Feminists are politically active. This explains 57% of the variance in select Social and Political Attitudes for Male Islamic Feminists. Also in Table 3, we see that Female Islamic Feminists believe that the US was right to invade Iraq and that the US should not leave Iraq immediately, suggesting a patriotic pro-Western political bias that differs from the men. The second factor shows that Female Islamic Feminists also believe that women can go without their veil and still be good Muslims, and that Islam is compatible with women’s political leadership. This result may indicate that for both Male and Female Islamic Feminists, the headscarf is indeed more of a cultural and political marker rather than a

86 Chapter Four Table 3. Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. . Principle Components Factor Analysis of Social and Political Attitudes by Gender (Varimax Rotation) Source: ISAS Kuwait Survey 2007. Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser normalization.

Preliminary Conclusions Some of the preliminary conclusions we can draw from this exploratory analysis of Islam and gender in a majority Muslim context include the fact that previous conceptions of the incompatibility of Islam and progressive women’s rights are no longer applicable to Muslim youth in contemporary majority Muslim contexts. The third factor shows that Female Islamic Feminists believe that Personal Status Laws are Unfair in Kuwait. A second important finding in the study is that. These characteristics explain 51% of the variance in select Social and Political Attitudes for Female Islamic Feminists. It appears from these results that Female Islamic Feminists may take a more liberal attitude towards Sharia. for females. or a shift in individualizing notions of religious identity into Eastern contexts. rights to citizenship of their children. the sample of Kuwaiti college students used in the exploratory analysis of this study provides evidence of a demographic of Muslim youth that is both religious and progressive towards women’s rights. while neither demographics. 2003). the reconfiguration of global Islam. were more likely to find themselves agreeing that their faith was a source of inspiration for them to fight for women’s rights. Whether it is due to the pervasive availability of information in the digital age (Eickelman and Anderson. but only the high level of a mother’s education influenced the men in the sample to take on the “Islamic Feminist” identity. and those who claim their parents are religious. Important factors originate in socialization. and an individual religious ecumenicalism that is open to re-conceptualizing certain political and social attitudes towards women’s rights that are not tied to a particular brand of political Islam or religious school of thought. . nor individual religiosity. distinguishing them from their Male Islamic Feminist counterparts. custody of children. This distinguishes Islamic Feminists from other more conservative Islamist men and women who would see the hijab as a requirement for a woman to be considered “good” Muslims.Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like? 87 strict religious requirement. whether it is the advanced education and individual piety of the mother. wearing niqab (the face veil). Personal Status Laws in Kuwait are based on Sharia (Islamic Law) that does discriminate by gender when it comes to settlement in divorce. and other rights such as property ownership. being married. and view the resolution of perceived injustices from the discriminatory treatment of women under Personal Status Laws as coming from within their Islamic faith.

As opposed to the females in the study. While men focused on rights for women in the private sphere. the men were unchanged by circumstances later in life (such as marriage) or individual religiosity measures (such as dress). Lastly. not only is there such a present demographic found here in the case study of Kuwaiti college youth. Muslim. particularly analysing differences by gender. religiosity.S. gender differences in social and political attitudes by both male and female Islamic Feminists bring to light the differences in social and political agendas that the two may seek when manifesting their belief in “fighting for” women’s rights. and socialization characteristics. The factors that influence the likelihood of Muslim youth identifying as Islamic Feminists. and should be explored further in future research. this suggests an equally powerful influence of socialization on both genders. and whether or not they could contribute equally to household income. Summary This study set out to explore the Male. presence in neighbouring Iraq). The findings of this study contribute to the increasing literature and empirical study on Islamic Feminism. For men. death. having a mother with at least some college education increased the likelihood that he would view his Islamic faith as a source of motivation to fight for women’s rights. such as the role of foreign powers in the region (for example. citizenship of children.88 Chapter Four In one sense. which dictate rights in the event of divorce. may be many that were not captured by this exploratory analysis. but that they have particular demographic. and Pro-Women demographic. Females were more likely than males to fight for women’s rights in the public sphere than solely the private sphere. and the fairness of Personal Status Laws for women. the women in the group were more likely to focus on political and social issues in the public realm. This particular sample of Kuwaiti Male Muslim youths expressed their pro-women beliefs and attitudes both differently and similarly to female Islamic feminists. such as the ability to choose whether or not to wear hijab and be considered a “good” Muslim. and offer potential for future research from both . termed here as “Male Islamic Feminists. the U. and other rights.” The study asserts that. the compatibility of Islam and women’s political leadership. emphasizing matters such as women’s political leadership and Personal Status Laws which discriminate by gender. inheritance. where men were particularly influenced by having a more educated mother.

Religious Salience. González. and Nayereh Tohidi. and Rodney Stark. (2005) “Kuwait” in Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Citizenship and Justice edited by Sameena Nazir and Leigh Tomppert. Gallup Press. C. and Paul Froese. (2010) Is There Anything Good About Men? How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men. A. (2008) Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. L. eds. and Jon W. Glock. and Gender Equity. Boston: Brill. (2001) Globalization. (2011) “Measuring Religiosity in a Majority Muslim Context: Gender. Gender. (2011) “Complicating the ‘Clash of Civilizations’: Gender and Politics in Contemporary Kuwait. J. London & Istanbul: AMSS UK & SETA. W. Vol. Baumeister. H. S. D. Kruase. (2003) New Media in the Muslim World. (1966) Religion and Society in Tension. M. D. (2007) Who Speaks for Islam? What A Billion Muslims Really Think. H. (2010) Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East. Esposito. Oxford University Press. Lynne Rienner Publishing. A. (1998) Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity Within Unity. and Dalia Mogahed. Works Cited Al-Mughni. New York: Freedom House and Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. Housework. Bader.Y. Coltrane. 125-139. Security & Democracy: Muslim Engagement with the West. and Religion: The Politics of Women’s rights in Catholic and Muslim Contexts. (2009) Citizenship. (2007) American piety: Content and methods of the Baylor Religion Survey. eds. and Nayereh Tohidi. Eickelman. C. Byes. and Religious Experience Among Kuwaiti College Students – A Research Note. 2 edited by Patrick Michel and Enzo Pace.Who is an Islamic Feminist and What Does He Look Like? 89 scholars of International Relations and Comparative Sociology. L and Lubna Al-Kazi. I. pp. González. . Oxford University Press. Rand McNally and Company. Kimmel. Coleman. (1997) Family Man: Fatherhood. Palgrave Macmillan. R. J. F. Indiana University Press. L.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. HarperCollins. Anderson. ed. 50(2):339-350. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 46(4):447–64.” Chapter in the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. F.. as well as scholars of Islam and Gender in majority Muslim contexts.. Carson Mencken. H. Bodman. F. Random House. publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ku. https://www. Moghadam. Yildiz A. 109-130. University of Pennsylvania Press. Human Rights in the Arab World: Independent Voice.” Chapter in Yildiz Atasoy and Amr Hamzawy.” (2011) CIA WorldFactbook. (2005) “Invisible Women Visible Islam: Engendering Everyday Lives of Educated Islamist Women in Turkey. 2006.90 Chapter Four “Kuwait. Citizenship.” Anadolu University of Social Sciences. vol 5. and Civil Society in the Arab World. issue 1. V. .cia. (2006) “Women. (2009) Islam‘s Marriage with Neoliberalism: State Transformation in Turkey.html. London & New York: Palgrave. F.

but as an academician and a theorist. however it was Ahmet Davutoğlu who embedded this Ottoman reference into a reconsideration of the role of the West and of Turkey from a decidedly intellectual-Islamist position. Thus. even though the foundations for his regional foreign policy go back to the 1980s. Abdullah Gül. without getting into Davutoğlu’s politics as a strategist and an implementer. religion in international relations. soft power. I hope to read. and the Prime Minister at that time. Prof. at least partially. Key Words: Ahmet Davutoğlu. Professor Davutoğlu was granted the title of ambassador by the joint decision of the then President. in 2003. strategic depth. Dr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Islam.CHAPTER FIVE AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: ROLE AS AN ISLAMIC SCHOLAR SHAPING TURKEY’S FOREIGN POLICY İŞTAR GÖZAYDIN Abstract: There is little doubt that Ahmet Davutoğlu. the role of religion in Turkey’s current foreign policies as well. is the major driving force of Turkey’s ‘proactive and multidimensional’ foreign policy. Davutoğlu was one of the leading actors on behalf of the Turkish government during the shuttle diplomacy for the settlement of 2008 Israel–Gaza conflict. Turkey‘s current Minister of Foreign Affairs of pro-Islamic AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi). As an ambassador. I will scrutinize through his works how Davutoğlu as a scholar perceives the fields of Islam and international relations. . In this chapter. and is shaping the transformation of Turkish foreign policy in accordance with his ‘strategic depth’ doctrine. Ahmet Davutoğlu is also an academic of political science and international relations that has published several books and articles. Turkey.

In almost all of the related publications. Jeffrey Haynes (2011) Religion. Some recent books on religion and politics have also sections on religion and international relations. Richard Falk (2001) Religion and Humane Global Governance. “Religion and globalization”). For an article that investigates the relationship between preferences affected by Islamic worldview of Turkey’s new leadership and foreign policy through models. Haynes 2007: 19.). Oxon-New York: Routledge. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. The publication of several books on the topic within this period2 signifies the phenomenon. Thomas Banchoff (ed. David Wessels. Fox and Sandler 2004: 1214. pp. Scott M. New York: Cambridge University Press. it is mentioned that there exists a global resurgence/return of religion (Banchoff 2008: 9-13. Politics and International Law: Selected Essays. The last decade has been a period that religion got brought into international relations. London and New York 2009. Douglas Johnston (ed. Essex: Pearson Longman. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.) (2003) Religion in International Relations: The Return from Exile. Thomas (2005) The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Relations. Giorgio Shani. Scott M. dünyalar ayağına gele. New York: Palgrave. Routledge. Jack Snyder (ed.) (2011) Religion and International Relations Theory. see Güner 2011. 1 . may everyone seek your wisdom)1 The last quarter of the twentieth century witnessed the return of religion to the mainstream of political life in an array of settings around the world. 2 For some examples in a chronological listing see. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Fabio Petito and Pavlos Hatzopoulos (ed. Daily prayer of paternal granny Hacıkızıebe for her only grandson Ahmet.) (2008) Religious Pluralism. Thomas (2010) ‘A Globalized God: Religion’s Growing Influence in International Politics’.) (2003) Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik. may you be a great man. see. 89 (6) pp. New York-Chichester-West Sussex: Columbia University Press. “Transnational religious actors and international relations”. Globalization.92 Chapter Five ‘Kuzum. Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics.’ (My lamb. Jeffrey Haynes (2007) An Introduction to International Relations and Religion. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press. Foreign Affairs. “Religion and foreign policy”. may the whole world lie at your feet.93-101.271-339 (includes four articles: Jonathan Fox. 3121. sen bir büyük adam olasın. Jeffrey Haynes (ed. Falk 2001: 2. Johnston 2003: 3. “Integrating religion into international relations theory”. Petito and Hatzopoulos 2003: 1. Jeffrey Haynes. Hanson (2006) Religion and Politics in the International System Today. She took care of him mostly after Davutoğlu’s mother died when he was four (cited in Zengin 2010: 27 and 32). Jonathan Fox and Shmuel Sandler (2004) Bringing Religion into International Affairs. Eric O. and World Politics. herkes sana akıl danışa.

“… soft power is not the same as little old ladies sipping tea. religion only finds a place in the context of ‘building bridges to moderate Islam’ in an article titled ‘Dialogue-based Public Diplomacy: a new Foreign Policy Paradigm?’ (Riordan 2005).e. the ultimate” (Falk 2001: 30). as follows: “the global resurgence of religion is the growing saliency and persuasiveness of religion. the mysterious. Haynes 2007: 31-34. Shani 2009: 308-309. 214-216). 69. political parties. Hanson 2006: 17. who coined the term two decades ago (Nye 1990). According to Nye. In Snow’s (2009: 3) words. to influence what others do through attraction and persuasion” (Haynes 2009: 296). Thomas 2005: 26-42)3. Wessels 2009). Thomas 2005: 12. and discourses in personal and public life. Haynes 2009. Voll uses the term in a “negative” context reminding the readers of a religious impetus in U. usually but not necessarily a state. foreign policy that was reinforced by Bush administration had resulted in an increase in the soft power of Osama Bin Laden and other radicals (Voll 2008: 262-268). perceives religion in international relations as a persuasive power reserved for same-faith parties. as the concept is used in this context. the transcendent. Falk 2001. Haynes 2009: 296-304. Wessels 2009: 324. Fox and Sandler 2004: 22. the increasing importance of religious beliefs. 109-110. the sacred. Haynes 2007. Petito and Hatzopoulos 2003: 2. “as encompassing both the teachings and beliefs of organized religion and all spiritual outlooks that interpret the meaning of life by reference to faith in and commitment to that which cannot be explained by empirical science or sensory observation and is usually associated with an acceptance of the reality of the divine. It is also interesting to see that in a book on soft power in international relations. Hanson 2006. Thomas 2005. it is often used in conjunction with more forceful and threatening forms of compliance and persuasion. and the growing role of religious or religiously-related individuals. non-state groups. and communities.Ahmet Davutoğlu: Role as an Islamic Scholar 93 Shani 2009: 311. 3 . Religion is understood in this context. practices. Upon discussions of Westphalian legacy (Banchoff 2008: 52-54. 2009. Joseph Nye.” It is quite recent that religious soft power is considered with regard to foreign policy4 (Haynes 2007: 44-55. 328). Petito and Hatzopoulos 2003. Fox 2009. and organizations in domestic politics. Falk 2001: 6-8. changing paradigms of international relations and the rise of faith-based diplomacy more or less get to be the common denominator of all mentioned material (Banchoff 2008. i. Soft power is another concept used in regard to the role of religion in international relations. Shani. 4 John O. and this is occurring in ways that have significant implications for international politics” (Thomas 2005: 26). “religion is a double-edged sword as an American soft-power Thomas defines the global resurgence of religion. 54. Thomas 2005: 25-26. Fox and Sandler 2004. referring to “the capability of an entity.S.

Davutoğlu was the chair of the International Relations Department at Beykent University.6 He worked in Marmara University. is the major driving force of Turkey’s ‘proactive and multi-dimensional’ foreign policy (Keyman. and Prime Minister at that time. a prestigious and old establishment from the end of the nineteenth century. in political science and international relations both in Boğaziçi University. in 5 For critical views on the concept of soft power see articles of Steven Lukes’ and Janice Bially Mattern’s in Berenskoetter and Williams. Istanbul between 1996 and 1999.94 Chapter Five resource. Turkey’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs of pro-Islamic AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi). the Saudi Government (Nye 2004: 96). and we have to be aware that their concerns and traditions are every bit as important as those of the West”. it was Ahmet Davutoğlu who embedded this Ottoman reference into a reconsideration of the role of the West and of Turkey from a decidedly Islamic or intellectual-Islamist position (Öktem 2010: 25). and focusing on Wahhabism. 30 May. Ahmet Necdet Sezer. even though the foundations for his regional foreign policy go back to the 1980s. which he calls a “sorcerer’s apprentice that has come back to bedevil its original creator”. He was promoted to associate professorship in 1993 and to full professorship in 1999.5 Turkey is not at all an exception to these developments in the international relations. Davutoğlu completed his MA degree in public administration and Ph. There is little doubt that Ahmet Davutoğlu. However. My perception of the concept of soft power is similar in substance but not identical to the combination of the second dimension (agenda setting) and the third dimension (or the radical dimension) of power. as expounded by Steven Lukes in Power: a Radical View (Lukes 2005. 20-29). 2010 (cited in Öktem 2010: 25). alerting him to the fact that “[t]he majority of people in the world do not live in the West. . with a strong education predominantly in German. Istanbul from 1999 to 2004. 6 Keynote lecture at the Oxford Conference ‘Turkey’s Foreign Policy in a Changing World’. Davutoğlu’s residency as Professor of Political Science at the International Islamic University in Malaysia (IIUM) between 1990 and 1995 was a particularly important period in his career. and how it cuts depends on who is wielding it” (2004: 59). Istanbul with a double major in economics and political science. Abdullah Gül. Born in the mountainous southern part of Konya (Taşkent) in 1959. He graduated from Boğaziçi University.D. 2009). Professor Davutoğlu was granted the title of ambassador by the joint decision of the then President. he attended middle and high school in Istanbul – Istanbul Erkek Lisesi.

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Role as an Islamic Scholar


2003. As an ambassador, Davutoğlu was one of the leading actors on behalf of the Turkish government during the shuttle diplomacy for the settlement of 2008 the Israel–Gaza conflict. He also worked as the senior consultant to the Prime Minister from 2002 to 2009. He has been the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey since May 1, 2009. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu is also an academic of political science who has published several books and articles. His publications include Alternative Paradigms: the Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory, The Civilizational Transformation and the Muslim World in English, Stratejik Derinlik (Strategic Depth7), and Küresel Bunalım (The Global Crisis) in Turkish. All through Davutoğlu’s work (and consequently through his diplomatic career) we may trace his perception of Muslim culture as not being a subsidiary to Western culture, but an alternative. In his first book Alternative Paradigms: the Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory, which is produced from his Ph.D. dissertation, Davutoğlu asserts that the differences between Western and Muslim paradigms cause an obstacle for the study of contemporary Islam as a subject of social sciences, especially of international politics. He (1994a: 5) argues that:
The interrelationship of ontology, epistemology, axiology and politics might be a meaningful anchor point to understand the irreconcilability of the philosophical bases of Islamic and Western political theories, images and cultures. (…) The principle difference between Islamic and Western weltenshauungs is related to the contrast between the “ontologically determined epistemology” of Islam and the “epistemologically determined ontology” of the Western philosophical traditions. This difference is especially significant in understanding the axiological basis of political legitimacy and the process of justification.


Subtitle of the book may be translated as ‘Turkey’s International Position’ (as in Balcı and Miş 2008: 403; Crooke 2010: 19; Hale and Özbudun 2010: 182; Gordon and Taspınar 2008: 105; Kösebalaban 2001: 693; Meral and Paris 2010: 86; Müftüler-Baç 2011: 289; Walker 2007: 35) For some other translations see, Fuller (2008: 169): ‘Turkey’s Place in the World’; Köni (2011: 71): ‘Strategic Analysis’; Larrabee (2010: 178): ‘Strategic Depth and the International Position of Turkey’; Murinson (2006: 962): ‘The Turkish International Location’; Öniş and Yılmaz (2009: 23): Turkey’s International Standing; Robins (2006: 199): ‘Turkey’s International Location’; Sözen (2010: 121): ‘The International Position of Turkey’.


Chapter Five

In other words, Islamic and Western paradigms are incompatible because they are based on opposite relationships between God and humans. From his point of view, Islamic culture and religion is based on an ontological hierarchy, whereas Western culture is based on ontological proximity. This means that “the conflicts and contrasts between Islamic and Western political thought originate mainly from their philosophical, methodological, and theoretical background rather than from mere institutional and historical differences” (Davutoğlu 1994a: 2). Thus, the main thrust of Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory is to show that what Davutoğlu calls “the West” and “the East” are two radically and fundamentally different paradigms. The difference between the two paradigms is so irreconcilable that even translation between the terms of one to the other is impossible; hence one cannot translate dawlah as ‘state’ (Davutoğlu 1994a: 96-109), shura as ‘parliament’ (Davutoğlu 1994a: 111-134), and not even din as ‘religion’. The two paradigms can only be alternatives to each other; so attempts at fusion, modernization or reform along Western lines are doomed to failure. Hence, despite its philosophical sophistication, Davutoğlu’s thesis boils down to be a reverse mirror-image of Rudyard Kipling’s orientalist adage: “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”.8 As Yusof (2007: 7) points out, “Davutoğlu appropriates Husserlian phenomenology in explaining the evolution and transformation of the idea or consciousness of God in Western philosophico-theological history”. Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory is based on some bold generalisations; for example, for Davutoğlu ‘the West‘ is based not on Christianity but a ‘proximity to God’ which blurs the fundamental, ontological difference between godhead and humanity, which antedates (and postdates) Christianity. While such generalisations may prove insightful and illuminating at times, Davutoğlu remains oblivious to variations and some of the major shifts in the history of Christianity. For example, the whole moral dimension of the Augustinian critique of the “pagan proximity to God” is disregarded. Something that maybe more relevant for Davutoğlu’s purposes is the major split within Christianity prior to the reformation. Part of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s critique of the Western (catholic) Church’s version of Christ-centred Christianity was that the latter, with its realistic depictions of Christ and the Saints, with its understanding of ‘imitatio Dei’ etc.,
8 It is interesting that Davutoğlu himself critically mentions Kipling in Küresel Bunalım in regards to his White Man’s Burden (2002: 98).

Ahmet Davutoğlu: Role as an Islamic Scholar


compromised God’s transcendence, and hence made him more ‘proximal’ to humanity. This critique can obviously be related to various issues like iconoclasm, on which the Eastern Church carried marked affinities with, and perhaps influences from Islam. Furthermore, Davutoğlu, while particularly sensitive to the representation of Godhead on earth (the issue of clergy), does not take the almost total disappearance of the figure of Christ (the man-God) from the Enlightenment debate on religion. It is difficult to see how the ‘God of Philosophers’ (the Deus sive Natura of Spinoza) preserved his ‘proximity to humanity’ compared to a ‘sovereign’ God who is still conceived of in personal terms, as in Islam. On the other hand, somewhat surprisingly in a student of Şerif Mardin, Islam too is seen in extremely monolithic terms; for Davutoğlu Islam is the ‘high sunni tradition’. In Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory there exists just a very dismissive and passing reference to “… some extremist factions of Khawarij and Shi’a” (Davutoğlu 1994a: 57), but no saints of the Atlas, no evliyas, sheikhs, dedes and what is most telling, no discussion of that most extreme statement of proximity between man and God: ‘En el Haq’. At a basic, phenomenological (or maybe anthropological) level, the contrast between a religious attitude based on obedience to a God conceived as the ‘wholly other’ and one that is based on the veneration of a Man-God does seem to be useful, but one should probably view this contrast more as a continuum rather than a dichotomy as Davutoğlu does. However, even conceived of in dichotomous terms, the poles do not map as neatly on to existing historical religions or civilizations; not even when they are conceived of in as ‘ideal-typical’ ways as Davutoğlu conceives of Islam and the West. It is probably true that Islam nowhere developed trinitarian tendencies; however reference to categories of human beings of varying degrees of godliness (some of which are influenced perhaps by Christian examples) abound in the Islamic tradition(s). On the other side of the coin, at least some of the (post)Enlightenment unitarian (Deist and Theist) tendencies in the West have been manifestly influenced by Islam. In Alternative Paradigms: the Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory what Davutoğlu seems fail to appreciate is that tawhid itself is an essentially contested concept. In indulging in such denial, he forecloses any possibility of a process of learning from each other, which we know to have occurred historically, let alone a synthesis. Despite the impressiveness of the intellectual apparatus he deploys, Davutoğlu seems to be remarkably ‘innocent’ of any Hegelian

Stratejik Derinlik (Strategic Depth). especially assuming that actually the writing of this book precedes Alternative Paradigms: the Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory in which the philosopher never gets mentioned. Fukuyama’s thesis (1990) that later evolves into his book The End of History and the Last Man in 1992. 127. Davutoğlu’s criticisms to ‘end of history thesis (2002: 6. 165-166. 209. In Küresel Bunalım. Davutoğlu sets up his ‘strategic depth’ doctrine that Later in his works Fukuyama get mentioned in similar contexts repeatedly: Fukuyama’s assertion of Islam world as a new threatening pole to Western values (Davutoğlu 2001: 136. 253. 178. “distorted and victimised ideas in the name of political pragmatism” (Davutoğlu 2002: 31). 97-99104. and Hitler’s concept of the 3rd Reich as a “parallel in strategic mentality”. 294). what he qualifies as a civilizational transformation and crisis.10 It seems that Davutoğlu prefers to read Hegel along the unfortunate line of Karl Popper and leaves him aside from his further intellectual realm. 70. 62. 35-36. 253. In The Civilizational Transformation and the Muslim World.98 Chapter Five influences. 294). however it is remarkable that Davutoğlu refers on several occasions to Hegel in The Civilizational Transformation and the Muslim World. one observes a neutral or even rather a more positive approach to Hegel: “limitless freedom” (Davutoğlu 2002: 2).11 One may observe the repercussions of his line of perception of Islam and international relations reflected in Davutoğlu’s first two parts of his third book in chronological publishing. In this book. 42. 11. 18. not as a scholar. 11 Davutoğlu’s negative perception of Hegel later appears in his book Statejik Derinlik when he qualifies the philosopher’s reading of history. seems to be a trigger for asserting his claims against the ‘theories of endism’ and suggests “Islamic paradigm provides a comprehensive counter-proposal to this civilizational crisis” (1994b: 114). and which is a reformulation of Alexandre Kojève’s reading of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. 9 . 10 Davutoğlu mentions in Civilizational Transformation and the Muslim World that it had already been ready for publication in November 1992. 221-222. see Balcı 2009: 96. but as the ‘organic intellectual’ of a political bloc. 249250). Davutoğlu initially makes an analysis of the state of things after the ‘pulling down of the Berlin Wall’ (1994b: iii). however was delayed due to the urgency of some other projects (1994b: iv). Fukuyama’s ‘evangelist’ approach (Davutoğlu 2002: 8-9. Fukuyama’s second-hand and distorted reading of Hegel apparently infuriates Davutoğlu9 with what I believe to be very good cause. For an evaluation of Davutoğlu’s approach to ‘crash of civilizations’ metaphor. 16. Davutoğlu points out an ‘imaginative continuity’ from a book published in 1926 under the title to Huntington’s thesis (Davutoğlu 1997: 1). That comes at a price: he ends up writing. (2001: 29). 80-82.

whereas. constant data involve geography. giving a meaning. but he nonetheless knows that Turkey’s success in the years to come critically depends on its ability to come to terms with the new realities of today rather than foolishly hoping to revive Turkey’s glorious past. Germany.Ahmet Davutoğlu: Role as an Islamic Scholar 99 shapes the transformation of Turkish foreign policy for almost a decade. In this respect. (…) has taken great pains to define the guiding principle as “zero-problems with neighbors” rather than “neo12 . Turkey cannot be explained geographically or culturally by associating it with one single region. the fascination with “neo-Ottomanism” should hardly be embraced by anyone seriously caring about the future of Turkey as the illfated history of the Ottoman Empire is well known”. Turkey occupies a unique space. and influencing. and Egypt. Gordon and Taspinar (2008: 51) note that Davutoğlu’s “neo-Ottoman” vision is very different from that promulgated in the late 1990s by Erbakan where he sought to create an Islamic alliance with Muslim countries as an explicit alternative to the West. In this formulation. Turkey’s diverse regional composition lends it the capability of maneuvering in several regions simultaneously. understanding. According to Murinson (2006: 947). Like Russia. he lists what he calls the dimensions in social sciences including international relations: description. paradigms of mentality enter the scene more and more. explanation. Iran. “… Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu (2008: 78) argues that: In terms of geography. in this sense. population and culture.12 “the multi-dimensional” Alessandri (2010: 14) claims that “Davutoğlu has a particular inclination for imaging Turkey’s future by relating it to the past. AKP “want to reach out to the east to complement their ties to the West. and military capacity. potential data include economic capacity. Hence the book develops into an analysis of Turkey‘s weight and power in international affairs with its “frontiers” (Davutoğlu 2001: 19) that expand “beyond the homeland in the cognitive map of policymaker’s minds” (Aras 2009: 4). hence his perceptions of alternative paradigms reappear in his ‘doctrine’ and consequently in his policies. According to Çandar (2009: 5). According to Davutoğlu (2001: 3). it controls an area of influence in its immediate environs. technologic capacity. the origins of the ‘strategic depth’ doctrine can be traced to Özal’s neo-Ottomanism. not to replace them”. As a large country in the midst of Afro-Eurasia’s vast landmass. In the introduction of Stratejik Derinlik. it may be defined as a central country with multiple regional identities that cannot be reduced to one unified character. He formulates a country’s relative weight and power in international affairs as follows: Power = (constant data + potential data) x (strategic mentality x strategic planning x political will) (Davutoğlu 2001: 17). while stepping from description to influencing. history.

Upon these premises. 3. in an article titled ‘Turkey should become a central country’ that appears in Radikal. a daily Turkish newspaper.”13 blessed with multiple identities and a location at the heart of Eurasia where Asia. it is not a “bridge”14 as some claim (Davutoğlu 2002: 191-193). A new diplomatic style (self-confidence). Kalın 2009. 14 For an evaluation of the “bridge” metaphor for Turkey see. 13 For a genealogy of the “central state” metaphor for Turkey see. and complementary policies. According to Ulgen (2010: 5). on neo-Ottomanism see. Europe and the Middle East meet. Good relations (zero problem) with neighbours. thus he depicts such characteristics as. 5. not only the diplomats and politicians but also the intelligentsia of Turkey need a transformation in mentality. Transition from static diplomacy to a rhythmic one (to increase the influence of Turkey in international organizations to become a global power). see Duran 2006: 303. In Davutoğlu’s reading. Basic conviction that Turkey is not a bridge but a central country (merkez ülke) is a crucial element in Davutoğlu’s perception. Turkey is a “central country. . and Davutoğlu’s innovative approach to geopolitics is reflected in his previous works. like his article ‘The Clash of Interests: An Explanation of the World (Dis)Order’ that was published in a journal of Turkey‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Davutoğlu 1998). Bilgin 2007: 747. (b)ecause “neo-Ottomanism” is a throw-back to Turkish sentiments of grandeur and can equally be perceived as expansionism by the regional counterparts of that foreign policy”. A defence against “Neo-Ottomanism” can be found in Kınıklıoğlu. 4.100 Chapter Five foreign policy of the Erbakan government. 2009. Proactive. 2010: 85-86. Davutoğlu suggests that in order to achieve these goals. For some previous depictions of neo-Ottomanism in Turkish foreign policy. the strategic depth doctrine is based on a comprehensive historical-cultural reading of Turkey’s position in international politics that highlights the country’s Ottoman legacy and Islamic tradition. Also for an interview with İbrahim Kalın. multinational. 2. he asserts what Turkish foreign policy should be based on five interdependent principles (2004): 1. Democratization without risking security and stability (broadening the sphere of freedoms and strengthening domestic political legitimacy). “in Ottomanism”. chief foreign-policy adviser to Prime Minister Erdoğan.

15 For a detailed analysis of the foreign policy application of Davutoğlu’s doctrine. Turkey’s multiple identities yield a multidimensional foreign policy that seeks to avoid privileging one relationship over another. The premise of this argument is that Turkey should not be dependent upon any one actor and should actively seek ways to balance its relationships and alliances so that it can maintain optimal independence and leverage on the global and regional stage. substantial. global balances. . For another very flattering evaluation of Davutoğlu. see Duran 2008: 88-89. and national interests. see Davutoğlu 2010: 3. For ‘Turkey’s methodological approach to world affairs’. geography. and comprehensive vision of Turkey’s strategic position yet written. historical. and fertilizing Western modernity with the OttomanIslamic civilizational heritage” (Kardaş 2006: 318-319). it will have a stronger position with respect to other power centres as well as global powers. but is able to face up to this identity and can produce thesis and solutions in that identity. “… a Turkey that does not solidify its position in Asia cannot aspire to being anything more than a minor player in Europe”.Ahmet Davutoğlu: Role as an Islamic Scholar 101 Eastern platforms one who is not uneasy with her/his eastern identity. “… perhaps the most systematic. geopolitics. Beyond the academic discussions surrounding Turkey’s potential and place in the world. Stratejik Derinlik advocates seeking to counterbalance Turkey’s dependencies on the West by courting multiple alliances to maintain the balance of power in its region. “… only when Turkey overcomes its own internal historical and psychological hang-ups about Islam and begins to understand the Middle East in its own psychological terms can Turkey develop effective relationships (…) in other regions”. political cultures. To the extent that Turkey commands more influence in its own near-abroad. but the importance of the book lies in its broad thrust and comprehensive vision and not as a history of the world”. 15 In Fuller’s (2008: 44) reading of Davutoğlu. Fuller (2008: 169) evaluates Stratejik Derinlik as. Davutoğlu’s critics accuse him of shaky historical readings on many issues. The objective of Davutoğlu’s doctrine is. therefore. and cultural depth.reading of history. turkey needs to participate in the globalization process as an active agent. drawing on its geographical. According to Davutoğlu. see Falk 2011. It is based on sophisticates and complex – if controversial. Another aspect of such an understanding is as Barkey (2010: 252) notes. to establish Turkey as an important player in international diplomacy. in Western platforms one that has assimilated Western notions and is capable of debating on Europe’s future with a European view” (Davutoğlu 2004). The bottom line is “to overcome the contradictions in its identity and reformulate it under the pressure of globalization.

but rather are constitutive of the self.102 Chapter Five Küresel Bunalım is an outcome of several TV interviews held after September 11 where Davutoğlu evaluates the state of things and which he qualifies as a ‘global crisis’. He projects this perception in Stratejik Derinlik by employing concepts like inner self/embodied self/false-self to Turkey (Davutoğlu 2001: 59). In this framework. He expresses that (translation is by the author): I explained about the concept of Soft Security (used in English in the original text) in a speech of mine at (a) NATO summit. Conflicts and division are not contingent “errors” that may be superseded. Turkey‘s major contribution to NATO is this. Davutoğlu qualifies another division in self: “when one (Davutoğlu uses the term ‘mentality’ instead of ‘one’) that has no knowledge of Ottoman classics but of Hegel looks back to her/his culture. and alternatively using the Turkish ‘güvenlik’ for security. In this context. then he refers to it as ‘soft security’ by using the concept in English. 16 . The enormous body of work associated with Laing’s contemporary colleagues. Ronald David Laing (19271989). Sincerely. One of the most important countries of NATO to have a Muslim majority population is by itself Soft security (Akyol 2011: 99). like Melanie Klein. In an interview dated 26 September 2001. Davutoğlu uses the concept ‘divided self’ in the context of problems that have emerged in western ontology and argues in detail that Islam may respond in a positive sense to international order and to globalization (Davutoğlu 2002: 98). Laing’s views of a “wholesome” self look hopelessly naive when looked at from a more contemporary perspective. (…) There is security provided by military means. is a source that Davutoğlu refers to quite frequently in regards to his ideas expressed in his 1966 book The Divided Self. Davutoğlu’s endeavour to understand the self turns out to be as essentialist as his understanding of the phenomenological world. Davutoğlu uses the Turkish expression ‘yumuşak güç’ (soft power)16 in an interview. Kirişçi and Kaptanoğlu (2011: 711) also claim that Davutoğlu’s “stated goal for Turkish foreign policy is to transform Turkey into a strong regional. actor through the exercise of soft power”. and there is also security provided by lowering the tension and through diplomacy. certainly experiences fragmentation between her/his self and her/his cultural identity” (Davutoğlu 2002: 106). view self as being a product of necessary division within the totality of the psychological material. That is Soft Power. however. Donald Woods Winnicott and Heinz Kohut (among others). and even global. a Scottish psychiatrist associated with the antipsychiatry movement.

the diplomat appear to be far more sensitive to the varieties of Islamic experience and interpretation than Davutoğlu the theoretician. its accusations against China of committing ‘genocide’ against the Uighurs.” These attempts all coincide with Ahmet Davutoğlu‘s contributions to Turkish foreign policy. signs of rapprochement with Armenia. Concluding. according to which all the traditional religious holidays are determined. especially those pertaining to purchase and sale of foundational properties which can be justified in terms of a traditional Islamic paradigm. its role in Sudan. as well as its contacts with Khaled Meshal and Hamas. enable a peaceful co-existence with other religious backgrounds and sensibilities. roughly the second week of April. Despite criticisms from more traditionalist circles. its warming relations with Russia.Ahmet Davutoğlu: Role as an Islamic Scholar 103 As Fotiou and Triantaphyllou (2010: 99) point out. . but according to the international solar calendar. Afghanistan and Pakistan. and the Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. the academician who insists on the cohesive unity of Islam as an alternative paradigm. One could go further and agree with Davutoğlu that a religious rather than a nationalistic framework is far more conducive to an understanding of the plights of religious minorities. In all these instances. Moreover. that only making peace with one’s own religious background and sensibilities. “indications of (…) a soft power17 aspiration are seen in (Turkey‘s) mediation efforts between Syria and Israel. the celebrations initiated by the present administration around the birth of the Prophet Mohammed (kutlu doğum haftası: the “blessed birth week”) raise issues of a different order. and the United States (US) and Iran. see Altunışık 2008: 49-50. the date for the week was determined not according to the traditional lunar calendar. I would like to focus on two separate implementations of the Justice and Development Party-ruled administrations over the last decade in Turkey. However. the steps taken towards resolution of the Kurdish issue. is far from being “innocent” as it so 17 For Turkey’s obstacles to be a soft power. These aspirations are also visible in its Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform initiative proposed during the Russian–Georgian crisis of 2008. Davutoğlu the man of action. Those two implementations are both admittedly related more to internal affairs but which have obvious international repercussions. The first is the abolishing of various restrictions on the religious (Christian and Jewish) minorities in Turkey. the politician. in order to express my concerns over perceiving Islam as a monolithic body. the date chosen for the festivities. its co-chairmanship of the Alliance of Civilisations.

pdf . a non-malignant dividedness that Davutoğlu does not seem to have envisioned but nevertheless exhibits in his own being. http://www. I hope it is clear that I am not criticizing the syncretism underlying practices. Istituto Affari Internazionali: Documenti IAI 1003. (2011) Tarihin Dönüşü. one could say that such syncretism does not lie at the level of doctrine but rather at the level of popular consumption. say. Wahhabi Saudi Arabia or Shiite Iran. But either way. But it is not just about the date. but even more so to the heterogeneous nature of the religious experiences it harbours and the creativity with which people and administrations respond to this heterogeneity. one would be hard pressed to find a traditional Islamic legitimation or precedent for the occasion. The administration of which he is a part. but instead a genuinely universalistic Weltanschaaung. it would seem to be precisely the syncretistic fusion that makes Davutoğlu so uncomfortable.104 Chapter Five obviously vies for public attention with the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover. Only by creatively engaging foreign. A festivity like the ‘blessed birth week’ would have been unimaginable in. an “alternative paradigm” in Davutoğlu’s terms. like the “blessed birth week” – to the contrary. clearly has such universalistic aspirations and so far has been pursuing them with remarkable success. Taha. Alessandri. alien elements rather than by aspiring towards an artificial coherence can a paradigm become truly universalistic. On his behalf. Emiliano (2010) ‘The New Turkish Foreign Policy and the Future of Turkey-EU Relations’. not as a theological orthodoxy.iai. geography. Works Cited Akyol. Such a line of argument is clearly foreclosed if we really want to interpret Islam. Turkey owes the kind of soft power it exercises not only to its size. but the bookish scholar. This is a different division. İstanbul: Yakın Plan. however it is precisely the syncretistic nature of Turkish Islam that makes Turkey into such a pliable tool of soft power in international politics. or The iconography of the festivities clearly derives to a large extent from that of Christmas—though not perhaps Christmas as Christian rite but rather Christmas as a modernist and consumerist cultural ritual. more concerned with consistency and coherence would seem to condemn the dividedness such syncretism implies.

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are confronted with two competing and oftentimes conflicting systems defining comprehensive ways of living life. Muslims living in Europe. The following examines the ways in which Muslim intellectuals in Europe address the dual tensions and at times promote ideas that confront founding principles of the European polity. defining the . Muslim intellectuals throughout Europe are suggesting various levels of integrating Islamic and European principles into a Muslim’s daily life. religious considerations can at times challenge the concept of separating religion and state affairs. As some Muslims living in Europe a priori maintain a non-secular perspective to their identity. including but not limited to the European Union. A close examination of Muslims living in Europe shows a dynamic. Polity.1 Addressing the challenges of 1 European polity is referred to as the conceptualization of shared multi-level governance binding the normative values of Europe.CHAPTER SIX ISLAMIC IDENTITY POLITICS AND EUROPEAN POLITY ARI VARON Abstract: To understand how Islam is shaping the religious discourse in Europe the article highlights the inter-Islamic debate led by Muslim intellectuals as they each relate to a network-oriented framework of European polity. European polity represents the social contract defining the relation between civil society and institutional structures of Europe. diverse and cross-cultural inter-Islamic debate discussing. Europe. Mobilization. conventional definitions of European polity. Shedding light on the identity integration processes already occurring potentially increases the efficiency of social integration and effective political mobilization for Muslims living in Europe. and at times confronting. Key Words: Islam. integrated with Islamic and European aspects of their identity. The paper develops a framework composed of four interrelated levels of analysis comparing and contrasting the various interpretations of Islamic identity in Europe. Integration.

. legal system and institutionalized concept of governing within a secular based. and translated.” (Barker 1959. the chapter develops a framework of analysis juxtaposing European Islamic identity and European polity. values. second. Secondly. Events on the ground throughout Europe suggest that Muslims are gradually overcoming the ethnic differences from their countries of origin by recognizing two commonalities: first. as proposed by various Muslim intellectuals. Analysing the suggested balance of being Muslim and European. uncovers a vivid Islamic discursive debate promoting significantly different interpretations of Islamic identity within European polity. Muslims in Europe create a mutually reinforcing mechanism formalizing the means to integrate elements from both the Islamic and European identity. Analysing the viewpoints promoted by Muslim intellectuals throughout Europe is gaining increasing importance as European society changes. immigration trends suggest that the largest group acquiring citizenship in EU countries were from Muslim countries (Vasileva and Sartori. 2008). so does the importance of analysing the potential effects on political mobilization and social integration. Plato and Aristotle's definition the term is: “polity accordingly means the subdivision of the normal type of constitution which is characterized by the rule of the many: it is the rule of the many for the common good: it is democracy turned unselfish. practices. nation centric political system. in consequence. Magnifying the social influence of Muslims living in Europe on the political system are substantial demographic changes. Two trends specifically emphasize the influence of Islam on a seemingly mono-ethnocentric European society. However the equilibrium integrating the two sources of identity are not equally recognized or integrated. and a national law in France banning the burqa and niqab (April 2011).112 Chapter Six the dual identity integration occurring throughout Europe. they are all Muslims. to a higher sphere. the United Kingdom or France: the unification of ethnically diverse Muslim population to refute the minaret ban in the Swiss referendum (November 2009). 311) 2 For a select example see: Switzerland. 2005). First that Islam today is the fastest growing religion in Europe (Masci.2 By joining these two qualities. the creation of national Islamic organizations to promote policy to the government such as MCB as well as EU-wide think tanks – such as ECFR – promoting Islamic ideals to all Muslims living in Europe founded in the United Kingdom (1997). despite national differences they are all European. collective identity. As the social and political influence of Muslims in Europe increases. that despite theological variations.

and norms of European polity? In what ways are Muslims in Europe blending Islamic principles into their definition of political mobilization and social integration? The chapter presents a framework of analysis examining multiple prominent Muslim intellectuals in Europe as they view aspects of European polity.Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity 113 As Europeans. Issues separating religion-state relations arise as some members of the social group defined by Islam have. the Islamic outlook on European polity de facto contains different religious inspiration. while others present complex challenges to the common understanding of European polity. to define a single agreed upon definition for “European identity” for all Europeans or “Islamic European identity” for all Muslims living in Europe. as a nonChristian faith. However. principles and norms under a single institutional structure intimately associated with its member states in a form of supranational identity (Europa. if not practically impossible. Each intellectual promotes distinct perspectives on how Muslims should adapt. Moreover. The framework presented below provides an initial approach to elaborate interpretations and potentially increase the efficiency of social integration and effective political mobilization for Muslims living in Europe. analysing prominent Muslim intellectuals throughout Europe emphasizes broader yet distinct trends and perspectives on social . 2007). 2009). a non-secular world-outlook on their identity. values. Some of the intellectuals accommodate. Therefore. to European principles. A New Framework Analysing European Polity It is methodologically difficult. values and norms. Within Europe there exist multiple distinct religious interpretations promoting divergent perspectives defining how a Muslim should live his or her life in a European context. principles and ideology than the Christian based moral principles inherent in contemporary European polity (Kung. Two questions become increasingly pertinent for inquiry: How do some Muslim intellectuals in Europe adapt to or confront the principles. creates an objective framework of analysis shared throughout Europe as well as reflected upon throughout the various Islamic discourses. European identity in itself is subject to diverse opinions and is constantly changing. as opposed to identity. Focusing on European polity. a priori. Defining the identity of Muslims living in Europe is no less complex. or the formalization of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009 suggests a process of institutionalization of “a concept of Europe” unifying joint ideas. Muslims and non-Muslims alike explore the potential changes already occurring within European society.

recognizes the multi-dimensional nature of multiple sources in the process of identity formation (Mishal & Talmud. 2000). Analysing the Muslim intellectuals juxtaposed on a multi-level network-oriented framework of European polity. they are less likely than nonMuslims in Europe to believe that there is a conflict between modernity and being a devout Muslim” (PEW June. Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals have conflicting views on the definition and importance of each level of analysis. The poll suggests that Europe’s Muslim minorities “are less inclined to see a clash of civilizations than are some of the general publics surveyed in Europe. highlights the areas of accommodation and confrontation separating religion from public affairs from the perspective of Muslims living in Europe. 2006). The relationship varies as some Muslims in Europe challenge the secular concept of European polity by incorporating religious observance in public life. values and norms defining Islamic identity and European polity. Notably. A PEW poll from 2006 provides justification for examining Islamic religiosity in Europe. national and local. The four network-oriented levels are conceptual. The framework of analysis compares and contrasts Muslim intellectuals in Europe according to four network-oriented levels of analysis relating to European polity. the four network-oriented levels of analysis contextualize the various perspectives .114 Chapter Six and politically sensitive issues from the standpoint of Muslims living in Europe. transnational. the network orientation focuses on the intermeshing of the two areas of study calibrated to address the viewpoints of Muslims in Europe as they view their European context. as opposed to rigid categories. Predefining dichotomous categories such as Muslims and Europe creates a framework of analysis predisposed to contradiction. each level of analysis reflects a different aspect of the interactions between Islam and European society. Instead. The reflections of both European and the Muslim intellectuals are elaborated below accordingly. As Muslims living in Europe debate the integration of Islamic and European identity. Comparing the perspectives of Muslim intellectuals helps identify the potential areas of confrontation between the Muslim intellectuals and European concepts defining aspects of European polity. Independently. The focus on interrelated network-oriented levels. the four levels highlight the comprehensive relations between a spectrum of perspectives integrating principles. yet simultaneously relate to all four levels. As a coherent whole. Throughout Europe. At stake is the understanding of how Muslims in Europe view the relationship between Islam within its European context.

and divine law could be of greater utility to the general public. suggest that religious institutions and leaders are no longer satisfied with remaining on peripheral levels of influence from the political decision makers. belief. Although they allowed for a divine order that made the rights of humans possible. and they had the effect of taking religion—at least church religion—out of public life” (Jurgensmeyer. is thus a-priori inherent in the secular concept of European polity. The trends over the past several decades. According to Jurgensmeyer. “The ideas of John Locke about the origins of a civil community and the “social contract” theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau required very little commitment to religious belief. either a secular or religious hierarchy in society. whereas the combination of the two together – religion and secularity – creates unfettered tensions. 1995. By why should liberal democracies make a distinction between religious actions in the public or private sphere of life? The central reason for such a distinction is that both the religious and secular concepts of identity provide order and a hierarchy within society. removing the importance of divine law as a leading source of inspiration in public life. The dichotomy presented. Religious leaders believe their understandings of rights. While the role . “either could claim to be the guarantor of orderliness within a society: either could claim to be the ultimate authority for social order. their ideas did not directly buttress the power of the church and its priestly administrators. The foundation of the liberal Western democratic state clearly separates religion from public life. mankind took upon himself the ability and responsibility for creating his own future. 2001). It is not just the institutions as a whole that are looking for greater influence. religion and God consistently remained tenable as central to personal action of an individual’s private life. As religion was separated from public life. however.Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity 115 of Muslim intellectuals towards political mobilization and social integration. when either the state or religion assumes full political control by itself. principles. it reduces the other to a peripheral social role. As Jurgensmeyer argues. the concept of religion and secular identity are rivals. 381). pg. Such claims carry with them an extraordinary degree of power” (Jurgensmeyer. As the tenets of liberal democracy separate religion from the public sphere. Conceptual: Religious and Secular Identity The first level of analysis focuses on the conceptual differences between the religious and secular basis of identity in Europe.

” which can be occupied by other religious interpretations or political forces as well (Coakley. religion plays a substantive role in European politics. While a 46%plurality identifies first as a Muslim. religious pluralism became a realistic possibility. including the acceptable level of state support for religious institutions. norms and perspectives. As religion was relegated to the private sphere. leaders of religious institutions challenge the concept of religious neutrality. the judiciary system and the formation of national identity. In sharp contrast. 2002). The tendency is strongest in Great Britain where 81% in the Muslim oversample selfidentify as Muslim rather than British. 2002). addressing the fluctuations and implications for concepts such as citizenship. utilizing their public influence beyond merely providing religious counsel. attempting to determine the political and social forces comprising a nation’s identity (Casanova 1994). by playing a significant role in determining values. and Germany are comparable to those seen in most . It is generally accepted that Islam is not just a religious institution. 2005). The levels seen in Britain. According to a Pew Global Attitudes Report. a nearly equal 42% see themselves as primarily French. Spain. culture and religious ideals when defining European polity. Throughout history and apparent today. raises many questions as to the absolute neutrality of European states in religious affairs (Madeley 2003). but also represents a political system as well (Rehman 2007). both internationally and in a member state politics (Fox and Sandler. while an additional 10% say both equally. throughout Europe Muslims often have a varying tendency to view the balance between their dual identities of National and Islam: “Large percentages of Muslims in Europe say they think of themselves first as a Muslim rather than as a citizen of their country. religion also prepares the ground for “ethnonationalist mobilization. while in Spain 69% do so and in Germany 66%. Muslims living in France are far less likely to identify first with their faith rather their nationality. A European “Identity Crisis” Adding Islamic perspectives to the debate on religion and state adds an additional dimension to the discussion incorporating diverse history. However.116 Chapter Six of divine inspiration has often been ignored as an important political factor. Muslim intellectuals reflect on the desired relations between Islam and the state. and members of diverse religious communities could coexist peacefully within European society (Coakley. The relation between the state and religion.

thinking of themselves primarily in terms of their national identity: 90% in France. Yusuf Qaradawi. explores separating scientific . to a conception of politics. a Swiss born Muslim European scholar. 87% primarily identify as Muslims. In Pakistan. that is completely cut off from religious points of reference. pg. 70% in Germany. stating clearly: There is no religion or spirituality whatsoever that is not in one way or another related to politics. even in the most secularized and ideologically atheistic. Khaled thereby calls on Muslims to maintain Islam as a primary source of their identity. Muslim intellectuals broadly agree that the separation of religion from public life causes a form of “identity crisis” in Europe. 220). The Westerners do not realize this point. 67% do so” (PEW. An example of defining religion’s role in public life comes from Tariq Ramadan. 117 A later PEW poll highlights the contrast to the sentiments throughout Europe that most Christians hold. even if the latter are only represented in the society’s cultural background – France is culturally Roman Catholic just as China is nurtured by Confucianism – and political systems and politicians cannot neglect or ignore those dimensions (Ramadan: 2008. Amr Khaled. an Egyptian born tele-evangalist. For Khaled. Ramadan suggests that the proposed “crisis” is the result of the concept of secularism built into European polity itself. #880). 2009). there is no political system or practice. states that every person is derived “from two matters and you have to feed them both. agnostic or non-believing societies. 2011). The suggested “crisis” is created due to internal confrontation between modernity and secularism. separating religion from identity is irrelevant. Ramadan suggests that to address the crisis of identity. Ramadan believes that the term “secular society” is understood differently in the Islamic mind-set than it is here in Europe. 2006).Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity of the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed. the way in which European society has distanced itself from religion (Ramadan and Amghar 2001. Following this concept. religiosity is essential. Europe needs a “true dialogue with itself” rather than a cultural dialogue about integrating others into Europe (Ramadan. July 2006). According to Tariq Ramadan. By emphasizing the religious sources of European culture. “the West is passing today through a crisis which we might render “a crisis of modernity” (Ramadan. 63% in the United Kingdom and 53% in Spain (PEW. a popular Muslim religious leader who founded several Islamic institutions in Europe. in Jordan. or specifically. 261-2). or to more or less elaborate discourse about the issue. Ramadan inextricably ties religiosity to European polity. Similarly. The two are the body and spirit” (Khaled.

118 Chapter Six research from religious authority. it refutes the stability of European institutions based on selfdetermination as developed throughout the Enlightenment. religion and religious revelation are positive influences of identity. should be at the base of defining morality in society. “Transnational networks linking the country of origin to the country of residence and promoting participation in both spaces challenge the single allegiance required by membership in a political community. specifically Islamic principles. that doing so reduces the inspirational value of European culture for Muslims. culture and politics. not Western civilization. To varying degrees religiosity is identified as a core source determining all aspects of identity. Secondly. which is defined as suffering from a lack of clarity defining religion and religiosity. Qaradawi’s assertion is that Islam. First. Ramadan argues for the inherent connection between religion and politics. Multiple memberships and multiple loyalties lead to confusion between rights and identity. On the other side of the Islamic discursive spectrum. Muslim intellectuals suggest that by integrating religious principles into public life. he believes that political life without religion is inconceivable. 2002). the “crisis” could be solved. Islam. On one hand. The perspectives of Muslim intellectuals in Europe openly confront the legitimacy of separating religion in the public sphere. Transnationalism incorporates actors and entities outside of Europe into the European decision making process. not to be separated existentially from public life. This signifies the distinction between the status quo definitions of a culturally secular Europe and Europe’s religious minorities as “Europe” in the traditional sense. the term “identity crisis” emphasizes the conceptual flaw in separating religion from state affairs. Transnational: Trans-European Political Identity Transnationalism represents the ability of multiple nations to share and expand upon a common consensus shared by a group of nations. is the source of identity for society according to Qaradawi. Authoring an extensive article titled: due to its secular nature “Has Western civilization brought any comfort?” Qaradawi broaches the question of a dual source of identity (Qaradawi. and not secular society. and lead to a redefinition of the balance between community structures and the state. Qaradawi and Khaled argue not only for the inability to separate religion from all aspects of life. As religion is deemed to be an important aspect within society. The concept of an “identity crisis” is problematic on two fronts. distinguishing Europe from everybody else. states and nations – in short question the very . By emphasizing the existence of an “identity crisis” in Europe.

The cultural. on-going exchanges of information. Levitt discusses the ways in which religion can alter religious practices within the state. it’s in their nature and their culture. An additional definition of transnationalism is the cultural-religious link between two ethnically diverse nations. religious and ethnic issues being dealt with in France are also being dealt with in Switzerland. But they don’t want the nature of their ways of life and thinking and social relations to be distorted. 2009). Vertovec refers to the tangible elements involved in trans-national relations. Peggy Levitt elaborates that: “studies of transnational religion should not focus solely on how religion is transformed in the host country setting. still. Levitt adapts the strict perspective of transnationalism to incorporate social and culture sensitivities. 2001. pg. Globalization is contributing to heightening this feeling” (Sarkozy. And feeling you are losing your identity can be a cause of deep suffering. 2003. pg. … Europe’s peoples are welcoming and tolerant. emphasizing the nature of European politics. As President Sarkozy emphasizes. Former President of France Sarkozy issued remarks following a national referendum in Switzerland on 29 November 2009 prohibiting the construction of Mosques with minarets in the country. By issuing remarks following the referendum in Switzerland. 14). social integration and political mobilization of Muslims living in Europe are a trans-European affair. pg.Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity 119 concept of citizenship” (Kastoryano. President Sarkozy states clearly that “France was able to take the lead in the battle to change Europe. Transnationalism defined in this way represents the desire. . Kastoryano’s description of transnational networks emphasizes the trans-European influence defining the identity of European member states. 12). and the continuous. readiness and willingness of including nonEuropean actors to play a central role in determining European polity. Focusing on transnational religious practices. Transnationalism can also be described as “the actual. Beyond theory flowing into real life. the trans-European nature of identity relating to Muslims living in Europe is observed between France and Switzerland. 9). money and resources as well as regular travel and communication that members of a Diaspora may undertake with others in the homeland or elsewhere within the globalized ethnic community” (Vertovec. Sarkozy’s statement was a message to Switzerland as much as to his own French population. iterative relationship between the two” (Levitt. They must also examine the ways in which these changes alter sendingcountry religious practices. her common unit of analysis is the nation and not religion. Although Levitt’s discussion is about transnational religions. 2001.


Chapter Six

Islam in Europe as a Transnational Influence
Influential Muslim intellectuals have the ability to share their knowledge, experience and expertise throughout Europe, regardless of national identity. Tariq Ramadan does not limit his Islamic perspective to the Muslim community of his birthplace, Switzerland. Following the London bombings in 2005, the British government, at the request of then Prime Minister Tony Blair, added Ramadan as a member of the British Task Force when formulating British policy towards the British Muslim community (British Home Office Report, 2005). Ramadan’s participation in formulating official British policy, at the request of the British government, recognizes that perspectives from across Europe can assist specific countries to cope with their own Muslim population. Ramadan’s participation in forming British policy is trans-European. However, Ramadan does not limit his policy advice merely to Europe. Ramadan believes that “Western Muslims no longer merely listen to the “Islamic world,” they now interpret, query, suggest and the last – in its turn and in parallel – listens, questions, suggest, and accepts, or disagrees. … we [European Muslims] are at the heart of that transition, beginning to have an influence on traditional Muslim societies” (Ramadan, 2008). Ramadan also believes that “Muslims belong to a “spiritual community” based on principles, and if the community or its members betray those principles, their duty is to stop them or oppose them” (Ramadan, 2009). Ramadan’s work influences Muslims throughout Europe on a transEuropean level, as well as Muslims throughout the world. Ramadan shows his dedication to the three definitions of transnationalism above. He formalizes a trans-European connection between Muslim communities throughout Europe, as well as a transnational connection with Muslims outside of Europe. Within Europe, Khaled seeks to create a common Islamic discourse for all European Muslims, simultaneously linking Europe’s Muslim communities and the broader Islamic world. Amr Khaled emphasizes that “the Islamic civilization is the best civilization that ever lived on earth” and part of his work is to assist the revival of the Ummah (Islamic Nation) itself (Khaled, #582). Separating the national elements in defining the Islamic nation certainly allows for greater unification amongst Muslims, increasing cooperation and reducing potential cultural tensions. Khaled’s “goal is no less than a revival of the Ummah itself” (Lindsay, 2004). Muslims should maintain a strong knowledge of Arabic to prevent dissolving into European societies as well as ensuring a loyalty to their country, or family’s country, of origin (Khaled, Life Makers: Episode 6:

Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity


Perfection). The transnational connection bolsters the cross cultural integration of Muslims within and without Europe. The revival of a unified Islamic nation emphasizes the borderless trans-national nature of Islamic identity. Recognizing the importance of Muslims keeping cultural connections to the greater Ummah, Khaled beseeches that subsequent generations of Muslims living in Europe not lose their faith or Islamic cultural heritage. Bassam Tibi, a Syrian born German-educated professor, believes that Islam‘s Diaspora in Europe is transnational; however Tibi emphasizes Europe has failed thus far in shaping Europe’s Muslim Diaspora along the identity lines of European polity (Tibi, 2009). Tibi refers to the term transnationalism according to the Western standard, nation-based definition, emphasizing the potential integration of Muslims into the European social and cultural community. However, even the moderate Tibi does not go so far as arguing for abandoning the Islamic definition of transnationalism defining the integral part of Muslims within the broader Islamic nation. Tibi defines Muslims as part of Europe, but given the failure of social integration thus far, they are still referred to within the transnational definition of “Islam’s Diaspora.” According to Tibi, Europe has failed to influence the Muslim transnational Diaspora in Europe; however, governments outside of Europe have not been so negligent. One example shows how a Muslim country strives to maintain cultural contacts with their “Diaspora” communities in Europe. In an official meeting with Chancellor Merkel of Germany in 2008, Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Erdoğon made a passionate, and surprise, public request that Turkish Muslims in Germany remain connected to Turkey and its culture. Erdoğon stated “for immigrants to speak better German, they have to be able to speak their own mother tongue first” (Spiegel Online, 2008). Erdoğon’s request signals the intimate connection Turkey feels with its Diaspora community in Germany. The request also indicates that Muslims in Europe are maintaining close ties with their home countries, while at the same time, their home countries are seeking to maintain close cultural connections with the Muslim community too. The question remains pertaining to the balance of allegiance between the European country of residence and the non-European country of origin, as well as understanding how the balance affects European polity. Comparing the three Muslim scholars above shows distinct perspectives relating to the transnational influence of Muslims in Europe. Some intellectuals prescribe that Muslims maintain a clear connection with Arab culture and tradition so as to not “lose” Islamic faith; while


Chapter Six

others promote adapting Islam in Europe to its cultural surroundings. Khaled seeks to create a trans-European Islamic identity, Ramadan bridges between the national definition of European identity and the transnational unifier Islam provides, while Tibi suggests the national hierarchy should prevail over the religious transnational identity Islam provides. All three scholars reconcile the nationalistic based identity within Europe, however, all three scholars also view Islam as a means of redefining a transnational European identity.

National: Political Mobilization
Although variations exist, there are two general concepts relating to the formation of a collective identity. The first is that the state creates a collective political identity for its citizens, unifying a diverse group of people into one nation. The second is that civil society, communities and non-state actors each, together and separately, determine their own political identity, the total of which creates the characteristics and identity of the state. The role of the state, whether determining a collective identity or merely an institutional framework for society, influences the specific characteristics of political mobilization. If the former is followed, the state has larger control on social matters, if the latter, then social groups in society have greater freedom of social change in political mobilization. The first concept defining the role of the state is concisely defined by Ernest Gellner: “Two men are of the same nation if and only if they recognize each other as belonging to the same nation. In other words, nations maketh man; nations are the artifacts of men’s convictions and loyalties and solidarities” (Gellner, 2006). For Gellner, what matters is the over-arching body that defines the source of control in a state, demanding the dedication of its citizens to something larger than the sole individual. Despite the progress and unity in its formation, states are the “driving force” of the European Union. “Even though they are submitted to supranational norms, states keep their autonomy in internal decisions, and in international relations they are the main actors of negotiations. As far as the nation is concerned its relevance stems from the fact that it remains the emotional unit for identification, mobilization and resistance” (Kastoryano, 2003, pg. 14). The second concept can be described by the competition between nonstate actors – local and international – with the state. According to RiseseKappen, once international or transnational actors overcome the hurdles in a state-dominated system “their policy impact might be profound… the more fragmented the state and the better organized civil society, the easier

2004). . positive political mobilization will help prevent European society declare Muslims a burden on society and thus detrimental to the European way of life (Khaled. Civil society represents a team member to help determine the characteristics of the state. the state is an institutional obstacle to be overcome in order to influence policy. thus determining their own relationship with – and confines of – the state. Between Integration and Introversion). goals and desires of non-state actors. For Risse-Kappen. ideals and liberty for its people verses the desires of society to shape. Muslims living in Europe should be useful citizens. Khaled promotes Muslims living in the West increasing the knowledge of Europeans towards Islam (Khaled. contributing positively to their surroundings socially.). The debate revolves around the responsibility of the state as the protector of values. and believes the best way to influence society is through expanding the number of people who view Islam positively (Khaled.d. 2006b). Qaradawi encourages Muslims to engage in politics in order to influence their surroundings for the betterment of the Muslim community. The negotiation between these two concepts takes place in an active discourse between the various actors – government and non-government alike – determining the role. Episode 1: A Call for Coexistence). The state is thus an entity to mould according to the interests. culturally and politically by increasing awareness of the beauty of Islam. Islamic Political Mobilization in Europe Relating to the democratic essence of political mobilization. for example the hijab in France. and influence the state according to its ideals. 1995). Yusuf – 5B:). Qaradawi believes that legislation against Islamic practice. Muslims should have no qualms in taking advantage of their civil liberties and freedom of speech to advocate for the Muslim community in Europe and around the world (Qaradawi.Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity 123 should be the access for transnational actors” (Risse-Kappen. and political action entails that the Muslim community utilize democratic mechanisms to prevent and if necessary overturn anti-Islamic legislation and policies (Qaradawi. will only feed extremism. mould. Amr Khaled combines the concept of political mobilizing. Subsequently. Political action is promoted in accordance with a Hadith: “He who does not concern himself with the affairs of Muslim can never be one of them” (Qaradawi. n. responsibility and inherent connection between the state and society.

Ramadan creates a transformative reform of how Muslims living in Europe view their place in European society. Similar to Qaradawi. 2010). thus he calls on Muslims to be active. 2006b). Ramadan describes the current level of political mobilization as the outcome and process of over two decades of political evolution combining Muslim thinkers as they understand their European environment (Ramadan. All Muslims are invited. 2007a). . appropriately guided political mobilization will show the way of peaceful coexistence in Europe instead of Islamic extremism (Wise. 2005).” recognition of a new moral and cultural surrounding that dictates the harmonization of the Islamic faith with political mobilization throughout Europe (Ramadan. Episode 1: A Call for Coexistence). 2004b). including going to vote on Election Day (Ramadan. Ramadan promotes Muslims getting involved in bolstering their role in shaping European polity as they desire it to be in the future (Ramadan. Ramadan believes a central way for social change is through the electoral system. yet recognizes that being Muslim in Europe is a true test of faith. A cornerstone of the Islamic political mobilization is not necessarily the removal of religious signs in public spaces but rather the increased awareness and education of the importance of religion within a pluralistic society. 2006). As such. He defines the mobilization of Muslims living in Europe as a “Silent Revolution. the second is maintaining a strong connection with Islamic culture and transnational allegiances. An additional goal of Muslim political mobilization is preventing Islamists from controlling the narrative of Islam in Europe. Therefore. he incorporates Islamic goals. addressing cultural sensitivities and building trust within the various Muslim communities and between Muslims and non-Muslims living in Europe (Ramadan. 2007d). the Silent Revolution need be based in an Islamic reform that fits European cultural realty (Ramadan. finding ways to help nonMuslims gain respect for Islam. 2006c). 2004a). all within the guidelines of coexistence (Khaled. principles and interests into its message of political mobilization. Tariq Ramadan focuses on the active participation of Muslims in society. political mobilization through the increased understanding of religious cultural dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims (Ramadan. to participate in this political mobilization (Ramadan. Ramadan sets out an agenda of creating local and national initiatives. and even required. For continued progress and success. Instead of introverting into their own community.124 Chapter Six Khaled promotes a two track form of political activism: the first is internal within European society. Muslims should be proactive.

The importance of community level networks expands beyond the contextual relevance of just the locality. The mere promotion of religion as an agenda of political mobilization does not necessarily represent a confrontation with European polity. it does indicate an increasing role of religion influencing political affairs. religion. lived practice of migrant religion in at least two locations. Although at differing levels. Local: Social integration The fourth level of analysis represents the intersection of an individual’s private actions as a member of society with their public life. When the state is recognized as a framework for social action. Islam included. The ultimate significance of the social level of analysis is the distinction an individual determines between the public and private aspects of life. yet also represents the building blocks of national and international networks. The form of political mobilization also recognizes the role of the state in determining social manners.” both . The community represents the smallest unit of analysis of political identity within society. As religion is integrated into a person’s life on the private level. how he or she then separates or combines religious actions in the public sphere determine the levels of secularism envisioned by society at large. When the state is recognized as determining a collective identity. religious leaders defer many aspects of determining religiosity in public to the state. As Europe continues its metamorphosis into a large scale transnational entity.Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity 125 Each of the intellectuals creates a unique agenda for political mobilization. the connection of the community level with the states allows the people living in Europe to maintain a localized cultural setting intertwined with a common unified European collective. Levitt proposes that “studies of transnational religion focus on the everyday. can be interpreted as holding a larger aspect of identity in European polity. The conceptual divide subsequently differs depending on what level of Islamic values and practices should drive the political mobilization of Muslims living in Europe. however. European society places a high level of importance on maintaining the separation of religious affairs between private life and public affairs at the local level (Fetzer and Sopper 2005). the state either as determining a collective identity or representing a framework for a Muslim to develop a European Islamic identity. The community local level of social network is crucial because political identity shifts over time as the political priorities of liberal democracies change to accommodate the pressing issues of society (Soysal 2006).

Khaled views the diversity of social integration currently exhibited in the Muslim communities of Europe as either fully integrated or totally introverted. pg. some Muslims make a great separation between manners and Ibadat (acts of worship). As Islamic identity originates from a different religious-ethno-cultural system. pg. Between Integration and Introversion). 12). Islam is one unit. An Introduction to Manners). protect. Levitt recognizes the inherent connection between the social and national level of analysis. It is the local level of analysis that ultimately drives the communal understanding of secularism throughout the conceptual. Brothers and sisters. known as Ibadah. one is straight. Where are manners then? You will reply. “as long as Ibadat are regularly performed. . 8). and between religion and life. Khaled states that: “Unfortunately. to what degree and where? The divergent perspectives of Muslim intellectuals relating to social integration raises issues regarding the collective relevance of local decisions in Europe. this is an incorrect concept. do some actions of European society become relevant only for Muslims and not broader society? And if so. 2001.126 Chapter Six at the grass roots social level and home country (Levitt. transnational and national levels as well. 2001. outside the mosque. how can that perception be reconciled with the conception of a collective identity found in the current perception of European polity? Islamic Social Integration Social integration for Muslims in Europe is at times guided by religious moral directives. Khaled believes that it is impossible to separate religion from daily acts of worship in Islam. and religion and performing Ibadat are another. Balancing those two extremes the discourse suggests a third way. and potentially legitimate that different definitions of the concepts and principles are considered appropriate in society. manners have no importance!” … You think that life is an issue. However. Islam is an integral whole” (Khaled. it is plausible. you are praying full-heartedly. and give voice to their concerns” (Levitt. This separation has nothing to do with Islam. The question arises whether or not social integration based on Islamic principles in Europe is acceptable and if so. you are different. as opposed to secular social considerations. women are wearing the appropriate Hijab. Muslims should integrate in a positive way without dissolving fully into European society (Khaled. determining that “religious membership also incorporates followers into an institution that can potentially empower. Inside the mosque.

. the proper cultural hierarchy for Muslims is based on preference for Islam according to Islamic values (Khaled. politically and financially. as Muslim citizens and residents of Europe are fully European. A believer who would integrate and mingle with others waiting patiently to be harmed by them is better than a believer who would neither mingle with them nor would be harmed by them (Khaled. Life Makers: Episode 2). God loves those who act equitably (Ramadan. according to the discourse’s definition. 2004a. God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for. rather coexistence. for Islam represents the best social agenda (Khaled. p. Khaled thus places an equal burden on Muslims coexisting in European society and the European state accommodating such a social agenda. Part of social integration within European polity is that Muslims in Europe remain independent. Between Integration and Introversion). not enforcing Western culture upon Muslims living in the West. that process has already begun to take place. 2004b). but carefully choose elements of those cultures to adopt into Islam. Muslims in Europe should also strive for religious integration into European culture. as Muslims have made Europe their home (Ramadan. According to Ramadan. Khaled ultimately promotes raising awareness of the positive aspects of Islam and providing reasons for non-Muslims to respect Islam (Khaled. 2006b). Episode 1: A Call for Coexistence). Ramadan perceives the social integration of Muslims living in Europe through the lens of Islam being a European religion (Ramadan. the social agenda is not integration into society. from nonEuropean Islam (Ramadan. while. Culture: The Distinguishing Feature of a People). The preferred social agenda promoted by Coexistences is thus neither integration nor introversion. 2010). but rather positive contribution to society (Ramadan. Coexistence represents mutual interaction. Episode 1: A Call for Coexistence). 2007c). integration must contribute to the progress and development of European social norms (Ramadan. and neither drive you forth from your homelands. verily. Between Integration and Introversion). Europe cannot simultaneously ask Muslims to replicate European culture and coexist (Khaled. Khaled bases his concept of social integration on the Hadith. 2007a). 6).Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity 127 Muslims should not isolate themselves but also should not lose their identity as Muslims (Khaled. intellectually. Ramadan finds legitimate Islamic justification promoting social integration in the Quran (60:8) As for such (of the unbelievers) as do not fight against you on account of your faith. Muslims must engage other cultures. such as Europe.

1992). that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Yusuf Qaradawi bases his concept of social integration on the “Law of Minorities” intentionally preventing the social integration of Muslims within European society (Qaradawi. part of the role of Muslims living in Europe is to maintain a strong connection with the Muslim majority states from which they or their family originated in order to then again strengthen the connection between Islam and their European countries of residence (Qaradawi. for integration to occur.128 Chapter Six Yet Ramadan views the concept of social integration as multifaceted. instead the principles of Islam should guide Muslims in their interactions with European society (Aljazeera. 2004). Qaradawi does not promote full segregation. Allah forbiddeth you only those who warred against you on account of religion and have driven you out from your homes and helped to drive you out. 2002b). but also must adapt their view towards Muslims as integrated already (Ramadan. For Qaradawi. 2007b). A principle based social integration allows Muslims living in Europe to maintain their social obligations to the state as well as to Islam. . Europe must acknowledge the difficulties it has faced in integrating Muslims. but Muslims should intermingle into their society only enough to avoid being accused of isolating themselves completely from Western society (Qaradawi. religion. The discourse suggests part of the burden of integration is placed on the European state. He defines relations between Muslims and non-Muslims based on two verses of the Qur’an: Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes. Whosoever maketh friends of them (All) such are wrong doers (60:8-9) (Qaradawi. 2007c). not religious identity (Ramadan. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers. causing them to forget the message. Directly relating to Islamic identity in Europe. Balancing the various identity traits Muslims should make social decisions based on shared principles. 2005). history and values of Islamic civilization. 2007b). cultural heritage and other aspects (Ramadan. 2006a). 1992). receiving Muslim converts and defending the causes of the Muslim nation (Qaradawi. European culture is aggressive and demands Muslims embrace a culture different from Islam. 2001). that ye make friends of them. Qaradawi elaborates an agenda for Muslims living in Europe defined through three issues: spreading the message of Islam to Muslims. Beyond integration. Qaradawi’s “professed aim is to provide a specific interpretation of Islamic law that both takes into account the local circumstances of Muslims in Europe and guards the principle of sharia” (Brunner. A Muslim’s identity is comprised of multiple elements: nationality.

For many Muslims in Europe. Conclusion: Islamic Discourse and European Polity A close examination of Muslim intellectuals in Europe shows a dynamic. not the individual. If total social integration is considered a basic assumption of European polity. individuality is often seen as individualism which. through a clear analysis. 60:8. and secondly how each of the discourses define a lacking European agenda that needs to fully accept its Muslim minority within the social sphere. while the discussion centres on the cultural role Islam should play in a Muslim’s life. as in the West. June 2006). religion. it becomes possible to identify trends and perspectives leaning towards social integration or segregation within the Islamic discourses. social and political reference point for Muslims is traditionally the village. Some Muslim intellectuals place a priority on integrating into European society. Ramadan and Qaradawi. None of the discourses promotes full assimilation. This paper develops a dynamic network-oriented framework of analysis to better understand the active debate between the Islamic discourses as they view the multiple layers of European polity. By analysing the rhetoric . the total adoption of European culture at the full expense of losing of Islamic culture. former minister for equal opportunity for the French government emphasizes the point stating that “the cultural. others actively influencing the European public discourse suggest the integration of Islamic principles into their European based lifestyles. cite the same Qur’anic verse. can be perceived as a form of selfishness” (PEW. Azouz Begag. Therefore. even Qur’anic citations need to be interpreted according to the context of the specific social agenda each intellectual promotes. in order to justify vastly different agendas for social integration. Each of the discourses develops some form of obligations from European society to assist Muslims to develop an agenda of social integration. the question of social integration revolves around the role of religion in his or her daily life. Interesting to note is how two discourses. Ramadan cites the verse to promote an agenda of contributing to European society.Islamic Identity Politics and European Polity 129 Comparing the intellectuals uncovers a dual challenge: first defining the appropriate level Muslims should integrate into European society. consensus within the Islamic discourses views otherwise. and the community. Yet. For Muslims. if it is misunderstood. diverse and cross-cultural inter-Islamic debate at times confronting conventional definitions of European polity on multiple levels. while Qaradawi uses the verse to justify maintaining an Islamic enclave within European society. Each intellectual maintains some adherence to Islamic principles.

belief in religion. The effect on society. The significance of religion for a religious person is beyond political identity. For the truly religious. A full analysis of the discourses provides a platform for distinguishing between the broader messages of each of the Muslim intellectuals. 2004). They show us where we have come from and where we are going. and in reference to the balance for Muslims in Europe between their dual identities. The consequences of the existence of multiple Islamic discourses in Europe are beginning to be apparent: greater ability for Europe’s Muslim communities to demand and receive rights from the political institutional system (Savage. perceptions and concepts within European polity as well. it is not farfetched to believe that Islam is already playing a role in changing norms. its contents and characteristics than their secular counterparts. inadvertently or intentionally. Islamic principles into the conceptual manifestation of European polity. its . It is not currently clear how Muslims in Europe will fully influence European polity. they integrate. It also becomes possible to identify the variations contained within the Islamic discourse itself. Viewing the analysis of the various Muslim intellectuals through the suggested framework can provide a nuanced understanding of the different Islamic voices influencing how the change is happening. 2010). Religiously based perspectives have a different starting point for defining identity. Upon conclusion. source of inspiration for life in Europe. the political system and European polity are as yet unknown. Yet. yet segregated. For the pious believers. As God and religion form an existential. as well as the maintenance of traditions in that effect.130 Chapter Six of Muslim intellectuals throughout Europe in a uniform framework. and that is the basis of the humility of man and the ultimate equality and mutual responsibility of all of us” (Goldshmidt. religious traditions provide “a moral compass and a secure footing in an everchanging technological and impersonal world. as different Muslim intellectuals promote and propagate different opinions relating to European polity. religious expression represents the adherence to a direct interpretation of God’s will. European and Islam. 2004). it becomes possible to identify key issues and distinctions that either promote or prohibit the full integration of Muslims living in Europe into the European lifestyle. one last element becomes clear from the analysis above. as the participation of Muslims in Europe gradually increases. As the European Muslim population becomes more active in politics it is only natural that issues important to Muslims will gradually shift public opinion and government policy (Savage.

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etc. nationality (large number of people called citizens). structure. Nation-State is a kind of polity or political unit of analysis. particularly on the political spectrum. and sovereignty (attained through the recognition bestowed by another nation-state or simply by an international organization such as the United Nations). events. i. One way to look at it is to specifically consider one element that has had a significant role in conceiving international relations as an academic discipline. whereby debates (major and minor) and discourses (mainstream and periphery) were centred upon that element. In spite of that understanding.e. particularly Islamicists (those who passionately study Islam and its civilizations based on different bodies of knowledge). It comprised the elements of authority (form of government). system..CHAPTER SEVEN ACCOMMODATING ISLAM INTO IR: THE CASE ON “NATION-STATE” NASSEF MANABILANG ADIONG This initiative is a deliberated mental effort of contemplating whether there is an Islamic impact in today’s praxis of international relations. and Philosophy). and will always be. the trends. it is a modern entity (mostly secular in nature) that evolved from Greek/Italian city-states. which was conceived by European political elites and commonly attributed by some political/social scientists as a product of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. and has been. agency. actions or movements in the international community or arena. territoriality (juridical set of legal boundaries). The Prophet Muhammad. International Law. Western scholars (orientalists) oftentimes and consciously overlook the contributions of Asian or Middle Eastern scholars. Moreover. civilization. Roman’s res publika (public affairs) to the Western nation-state system. a contentious issue. to the literature on the study of the nation-state.e. The element of Nation-State played a prominent part in conceptualizing international theories (including International Relations. actor. and related dominions (directly or not) influenced by the practices. particularly on its complex characterizations and its relations with other elements. society. i. .

140 Chapter Seven subsequent members of ulama (scholars). It is for abbreviation purpose only. Tracing the Significance of the Research Problem The idea will primarily focus on the vagueness of interpretations and understanding on the conceptualization of nation-state in both disciplines: International Relations (IR) and Islamic Studies (IslStud). An imperative example is the 9/11 event that changed the relations of mostly Western countries (US and Europe. the author may lead to the discovery of their probable mutuality or reciprocity with support of the method (which will be further elaborated at the methodological section). The proponent hopes to discover an area or element that will show a profound and explicit relation between Islam and IR by studying the significant role and meaning of nation-state. geographically speaking) and Muslim-dominated countries (Arab nations. The null hypothesis is the opposite of it. 2) International Relations. especially on the current waves of religious movements affecting the behaviour of nation-states and their relations with one another. How religion interacts with IR and vice-versa. 1 .1 and how a via media (middle way) of linkage of understanding may be reached. and examined are works of contemporary scholars. and 3) Islamic Studies. and operationalized in IR and Islamic Studies. While the secondary (supporting) query is what the similarities and differences of IR’s and IslStud’s understanding on the conceptualization of nation-state are so as to locate a probable via media of understanding. Malaysia. analysed. authors.e. which will be used all throughout the essay. in comparing the concept of nation-state in both disciplines. have also contributed to the conception and evolution of the nation-state phenomenon. was conceptualized. Iran. Turkey. and jurists. This idea is particularly concerned with contributing to the expanding (and exclusively extant) literature and significantly emerging subdiscipline in the form of relations between ‘Religion’ and ‘International Relations‘. It is delimited by the relevance of time period (meaning the data and instrumentation that will be included. Indonesia. Pakistan. The primal research inquiries are how the nation-state originated. among others). Thus. same as with ‘International Relations’ into ‘IR’. i. Kindly please be reminded that the proponent will abbreviate ‘Islamic Studies’ into ‘IslStud’. it will not help him provide answers to the posited statement of the problem. and commentaries that have similar research interests. The scope of the research only dwells on three entities: 1) NationState.

and relatively related points of view). Liberalism. Concepts such as ummah. Corbin. Strauss. Realism. The CCM is a method 2 See: Glaser’s and Strauss’ The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research.L. Islamic philosophy has been excluded and only political Islam and jurisprudence will be concentrated on. Selected mainstream theories of International Relations and Islamic politics and jurisprudence are the focus of its theoretical and conceptual frameworks. views. dar al-Ahd. this is not purely objectively done (caveat). Seeking and Modifying Method(s) for Appropriation A preliminary exploratory research (which means it is for the purpose of formulating hypotheses worth testing and complementing the tools used at Comparative Analysis Method) will help create an efficacy of research design and data collection for the purpose of reviews. The suggested independent variables are International Relations and Islamic Studies. the proponent selected ‘Comparative Analysis Method (CAM)’ put forward by Barney G. and J. which are within the tenets of political and jurisprudential Islamic views will be utilized on the part of Islamic Studies. and Social Constructivism are the selected theories on the part of International Relations. observing the nation-state by incorporating two distinct frameworks in a demarcated theoretical phenomenon. It hopes to straighten the line connecting these variables. Islamic Studies is explained (in conjunction with the study) as within the parallels or equation of Islamic views on politics. etc. consensus. dar al-Harb. while the dependent variable is nation-state. governance.. leadership. and to some extent foreign relations experiences. Glaser.Accommodating Islam into IR: The Case on “Nation-State” 141 written aspects that are relevant to the study. Contemplating the Theoretical Framework(s) There is one observation which may help in the progress of the study. but is intersubjectively (pertains to sets of similarities. . That is. dar al-Islam. To ameliorate our focal understanding on a specific operational method.2 While theirs is called ‘Constant Comparative Method (CCM)’ under the grounded theory -. So. and partially shared divergences on meanings subject of previous contention by scholars) constructed instead.mine was a renovation of their method which I named CAM. A.

In the modern context. ideas. which is inducing specific facts or imperative details. while the Ummah is for the IslStud. or element of time. Preliminary Findings It is quite apparent that the first factor in tracing the comparison or contrast of the concept of nation-state in both bodies of knowledge (IR and IslStud) is on the notion of ‘level of analysis’. while interpreted in various ways. nation-state and Ummah are similar at a certain degree of understanding. CAM involves coding. 3 See: Strauss’ and Corbin’s Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques.3 Three data analytical or coding stages under CAM will be operationalized: the first stage is the Textual Coding. The generalization or probable outcome of this study is to humbly locate areas of via media (middle way) between perceived extreme poles on the concept of nation-state in IR and IslStud. historicity. The nation-state is the unit of analysis for the IR. next is the Arithmetical Coding. and further it through the use of analytical induction. It instead removes the use of constancy by making it a presentation of two variables and compares them appropriately. and categories. thus allowing us to categorically pinpoint inferences of similarities and differences. However.142 Chapter Seven for analysing data in order to develop a grounded theory. CAM does not concern itself with extrapolating previous theories and comparing them with current theories so as to develop a grounded theory. the inferential chart of ‘compare and contrast’ will compose the result of the data analysis. if you are going to deeply analyse the context. Thus. . nation-state is also considered as an imagined community where people think and feel they are affiliated within the boundary of that community. while CAM uses a parallel horizontal manner. the process of going through the data ‘with a fine-toothed comb’ looking for themes. The goal of grounded theory is to develop a theory that emerges from and is therefore connected to the reality that the theory is developed to explain. regardless of periodicity. the Ummah is considered as an imagined space of community where people believe they are part of that space. Through these CAM codes. and the last step is the Categorical Coding. CCM uses a parallel vertical approach of comparing the past to present.

where there is a strong emphasis on the essence of religiosity. limits of boundaries or territoriality. the notion on sovereignty lies a fundamental difference between them. In addition. In IslStud. or set of ideas. it is their God that has the sovereign power. IR’s interpretation depends on the style of leadership or form of government. and the sovereignty issue. while in IslStud. Concluding Summary There are stark differences between the interpretations of IslStud and IR on the conception of the nation-state. it is the individual’s affinity with Islam regardless of racial or geographical orientations that define his/her citizenship. dictatorship. Consequently the last clear explicit comparison is that the government has the authority in IR’s nation-state interpretation. and define what constitutes the characters. ideology. as . and compositions of it. and sometimes via domestic referendum of the citizenry.Accommodating Islam into IR: The Case on “Nation-State” 143 Secondly. the jurisdiction of the authority. culture. while God has the sole authority in IslStud’s nation-state interpretation. particularly Sunni‘s and Shia’s different political schools of thought. or democratic. IslStud submits to juridical divisions of ‘dar‘. bestowing them legitimacy and accorded rights in the international community. the political prism of IR is based on nationality of parents or birthplace of an individual. The sovereignty issue is primarily a contestation between the people and recognition from other nation-states and God. The operationalization of constructivism to the nation-state is primarily influenced by idea. In IslStud. where their sovereignty is recognized and respected by other sovereign nationstates and international organizations. For the jurisdiction of authority. For the categorical claim of territoriality. IR respects or is subdued to international treaties and agreements. and the claim of being universal. Selected categorical claims under the selective coding stage include citizenship or membership. it is the government elected/appointed by the citizenry that has the utmost will of authority over its jurisdiction. and Sufi’s philosophical description of a leader. For categorical claim of citizenship. Thus. monarchical. where all believers are subjects and considered part and parcel of the whole Ummah (societal) system. These ideas are embedded within the construction of the nation-state. The inhabitants or people who believed they belong to that nation-state are the ones who formulate. In IR. describe. while IslStud is finite as long as there are presences of Muslims. elements. The juridical understanding of an Islamic nation-state is purely ideological. whether totalitarian. Consequently. there are different variations or descriptions laid by scholars.

144 Chapter Seven of this moment. the researcher has not found any clear elements for reaching a via media or middle way in their (IR and IslStud) understandings of nation-state. .

139. 77 Islamic Feminist. 74. 102. 67. 104. 94. 85. 126. 62. 59 ijtihad. 43. 63. 63. 71 Arab world. 47. 130. 74. 139 International Relations. 8 Islam. 5. 124. 95. 88 . 116. 120. 133. 117. 125. 59. 5 English School of International Relations. 132. 130. 74. 99. 41. 69. 6 democracy. 7. 65 Caliphate. 83. 81. 111. 63. 122. 6. 111. 122 ethnonationalist mobilization. 7. 118. 6 human rights. 121. 79. 91. 6 Hanbali. 138 dar. 56. 49. 91. 83. 5. 73. 127. 123. 129. 51. 87 Islamic feminists. 140. 143 Islamic civilization. 102. 87. 76. 3. 57 Bassam Tibi. 49. 128. 107. 48. 70. 75. 66. 135 democratic peace theory. 64. 117. 112. 115. 97. 64. 51. 1. 59. 88. 134. 61. 51. 116. 74. 95 Ernest Gellner. 80. 52. 119. 118. 108. 74. 55. 91. 62. 98. 106. 114. 1 Ahmet Davutoğlu. 6. 124. 103. 48. 77. 141 Contextual Coding. 73. 45. 127. 89. 64. 2. 82. 70. 112. 45. 1. 101. 127. 82.INDEX Abdullah Gül. 99. 112 Caliph. 70. 75. 95. 82. 75. 73. 43. 1 epistemology. 136. 94 Alphanumerical Coding. 54. 4. 47. 1. 43. 129. 1. 103. 70. 47. 121 burqa. 103 Ahmet Necdet Sezer. 76. 117. 113. 94 Abrahamic Faiths. 84. 8. 78. 143 Dar al-Ahd. 6 International Law. 113. 138 Arab Spring. 8. 59. 54. 125. 137. 120. 104. 100. 62. 64. 129 European Union. 87. 46. 126. 107. 60. 138. 120. 65. 8. 124. 88. 128 Islamic feminist. 4. 59. 106. 1. 8. 123. 46. 140 Iranian revolution. 131. 137. 111. 131 European Polity. 85. 139 Comparative Analysis Method. 105. 66. 4. 3. 123. 41. 116 European polity. 43. 7 Iran. 93. 133 Edward Said. 139. 69 Atatürk. 91. 55. 62. 107. 89. 4. 114. 79. 141. 5. 44. 69 Categorical Coding. 85. 67. 94. 5. 96. 118. 69. 44. 6 Dar al-Islam. 4. 6 Dar al-Harb. 7. 96. 89. 1. 135 Holy Qur’an. 92. 75 Hanafi. 8. 2. 2. 107. 6. 53. 141 international system. 121. 8. 76. 39. 113. 101. 48. 128. 119. 122. 120. 89. 51. 6 hijab. 142 Amr Khaled. 49. 8. 106. 96 civilization. 141. 121. 68. 57. 4. 4. 39. 42. 133. 115 Democracy. 129. 92. 116. 7. 68. 60. 142 Christianity. 140. 111. 133 feminism. 8. 4 East. 132. 142 culture. 39. 117. 59. 4. 90. 95. 112.

117. 93. 47 . 44. 55. 44 Shari’ah law. 45. 1. 5. 117. 47. 128. 83. 43. 133. 65. 65. 140 ummah. 139. 140 Noam Chomsky. 49 Middle East Studies Association. 101. 53. 132 secular civil code. 100. 67. 6 Middle East. 116. 94. 67 Maliki. 104. 75. 69. 139. 144 Virtue Party. 64. 85. 6. 2. 39. 95. 7. 117. 114. 91. 138. 40. 129. 45. 39. 54. 137. 78 Kuwaiti college students. 119 Turkey. 66. 65. 111. 7. 92. 39. 113. 78 Islamic veil. 57. 51. 84. 48. 52. 6 Shari`a. 121. 93. 118. 124. 141 polity. 8 Turkey’s Foreign Policy. 117. 47 religion. 60. 4 Muhammad Bouazizi. 103. 54. 115. 94 U. 48 Welfare Party (Refah Partisi). 97. 107 Peace of Westphalia. 119. 92. 41. 116. 106 Sunnah. 67. 120. 82. 126. 70. 47 Kuwait University. 113. 142. 111. 50. 80. 8. 139 veil. 49 ontological propositions. 69. 41. 42. 94.S. 44. 2. 66. 118. 91 Islamic Social Attitudes Survey. 56. 54. 95. 55. 74. 101. 46. 69. 5 North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 87 laicism. 111. 101. 66. 139 Index post-Cold War. 54. 57. 5. 114. 5. 64. 3. 2. 71. 7 politics. 133 Nation-State. 106. 1 modernity. 128. 47. 112. 45. 129. 131. 68. 4. 91. 47. 51. 59. 39. 120. 135 Sunni. 45. 63. 124. 139 Political Islam. 9 via media. 60. 79. 100. 125. 49. 130. 49 Turkey’s foreign policy. 7 oriental culture. 48. 82. 53. 7. 1. 116. 44 Shafi’I. 6 sociological study of Islam. 91. 41. 78. 91. 141 United Nations. 126. 106. 52. 1. 102. 63. 140 Turkey’s AKP. 138. 45. 107. 136 Islamic revivalist movements. 99. 40. 91. 105. 42. 91. 94. 131. 47. 46. 83. 112. 52 Muslim intellectuals. 68. 66. 99. 4. 104. 58. 40. 96. 131 Muslim world. 76. 104 sovereign’ nation-states. 133. 66. 48. 117. 130. 60. 118. 3. 2 Quran. 65 Kemalism. 140 religious pluralism. 131 nationalism. 96 Ottoman. 6. 92. 59. 8 Islamicate. 61. 102.146 Islamic Identity Politics. 69. 143 Tariq Ramadan. 127 Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 114. 49. 130. 6. 117. 3 sovereignty. 125. 75. 136 Transnationalism. 140. 4 orientalist. 73. 40. 143 statecraft. 114. 6. 8. 115 Kemal Ataturk. 43. 131. 44. 93. 70. 138 Mohammed Arkoun. 83. 123. 103. 49 Welfare Party.. 3. 115 John Locke. 113. 4 Islamic Scholar. 87 Veil. 118. 90. 41. 67. 67. 102. 46. 46. 49. 64. 73 soft power. 88 ulama. 3. 7 Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 119. 48. 100. 127. 108. 8. 47. 130. 47. 111 Islamic law. 112. 116. 67. 42. 51. 43.

101.International Relations and Islam: Diverse Perspectives West. 48. 68. 91. 136. 128 147 . 75. 107. 4. 39. 94. 99. 78. 96 Western values. 60. 54. 129. 123. 108. 1. 117. 54 Yusuf Qaradawi. 92. 90. 117. 52. 4. 64. 43. 127. 70. 62. 7. 95. 97. 137 Western culture. 135. 49. 98 Western World. 40. 96. 47.

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