dunnettreader + islam   26

Judith Herrin - Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire. (Paperback 2009) - Princeton University Press
Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium--long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium--what it was, and what special significance it holds for us today. Bringing the latest scholarship to a general audience in accessible prose, Herrin focuses each short chapter around a representative theme, event, monument, or historical figure, and examines it within the full sweep of Byzantine history--from the foundation of Constantinople, the magnificent capital city built by Constantine the Great, to its capture by the Ottoman Turks.

She argues that Byzantium's crucial role as the eastern defender of Christendom against Muslim expansion during the early Middle Ages made Europe--and the modern Western world--possible. Herrin captivates us with her discussions of all facets of Byzantine culture and society. She walks us through the complex ceremonies of the imperial court. She describes the transcendent beauty and power of the church of Hagia Sophia, as well as chariot races, monastic spirituality, diplomacy, and literature. She reveals the fascinating worlds of military usurpers and ascetics, eunuchs and courtesans, and artisans who fashioned the silks, icons, ivories, and mosaics so readily associated with Byzantine art.

An innovative history written by one of our foremost scholars, Byzantium reveals this great civilization's rise to military and cultural supremacy, its spectacular destruction by the Fourth Crusade, and its revival and final conquest in 1453. - no ebook - lots of illustrations - Introduction downloaded to Tab S2
books  downloaded  Byzantium  Roman_Empire  medieval_history  elite_culture  religious_history  religious_culture  Islam  Islamic_civilization  Islam-expansion  architecture  architecture-churches  diplomatic_history  military_history  Christendom  Christianity-Islam_conflict  Orthodox_Christianity  Crusades  Constantinople  13thC  14thC  15thC  Ottomans  court_culture  courtiers  ritual  art_history  decorative_arts  popular_culture 
august 2016 by dunnettreader
Judith Herrin - Margins and Metropolis: Authority across the Byzantine Empire. (eBook, Paperback and Hardcover 2016) - Princeton University Press
1st volume of 2 covering her 40 year career - This volume explores the political, cultural, and ecclesiastical forces that linked the metropolis of Byzantium to the margins of its far-flung empire. Focusing on the provincial region of Hellas and Peloponnesos in central and southern Greece, Judith Herrin shows how the prestige of Constantinople was reflected in the military, civilian, and ecclesiastical officials sent out to govern the provinces. She evokes the ideology and culture of the center by examining different aspects of the imperial court, including diplomacy, ceremony, intellectual life, and relations with the church. Particular topics treat the transmission of mathematical manuscripts, the burning of offensive material, and the church's role in distributing philanthropy.

Herrin contrasts life in the capital with provincial life, tracing the adaptation of a largely rural population to rule by Constantinople from the early medieval period onward. The letters of Michael Choniates, archbishop of Athens from 1182 to 1205, offer a detailed account of how this highly educated cleric coped with life in an imperial backwater, and demonstrate a synthesis of ancient Greek culture and medieval Christianity that was characteristic of the Byzantine elite.

This collection of essays spans the entirety of Herrin's influential career and draws together a significant body of scholarship on problems of empire. It features a general introduction, two previously unpublished essays, and a concise introduction to each essay that describes how it came to be written and how it fits into her broader analysis of the unusual brilliance and longevity of Byzantium.

Judith Herrin is the Constantine Leventis Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium, and The Formation of Christendom (all Princeton). -- downloaded Introduction to Tab S2
books  kindle-available  downloaded  Byzantium  medieval_history  empires  political_history  politics-and-religion  political_culture  empires-governance  Islam  Islamic_civilization  ancient_Greece  Christianity  Christendom  elite_culture  urban_elites  rural  center-periphery  Orthodox_Christianity  Roman_Catholicism  religious_history  religious_culture  religion-established  manuscripts  iconoclasm  philanthropy  intelligentsia  church_history  theology  Islam-expansion  Christianity-Islam_conflict 
august 2016 by dunnettreader
Akeel Bilgrami, ed. - Beyond the Secular West (2016) | Columbia University Press
What is the character of secularism in countries that were not pervaded by Christianity, such as China, India, and the nations of the Middle East? To what extent is the secular an imposition of colonial rule? How does secularism comport with local religious cultures in Africa, and how does it work with local forms of power and governance in Latin America? Has modern secularism evolved organically, or is it even necessary, and has it always meant progress? A vital extension of Charles Taylor's A Secular Age, in which he exhaustively chronicled the emergence of secularism in Latin Christendom, this anthology applies Taylor's findings to secularism's global migration. (...) What began as a modern reaction to—as well as a stubborn extension of—Latin Christendom has become a complex export shaped by the world's religious and political systems. Brilliantly alternating between intellectual and methodological approaches, this volume fosters a greater engagement with the phenomenon across disciplines.
Preface, by Akeel Bilgrami
1. Can Secularism Travel?, by Charles Taylor
2. The Sufi and the State, by Souleymane Bachir Diagne
3. The Individual and Collective Self-Liberation Model of Ustadh Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im
4. Creating Democratically Friendly Twin Tolerations Outside of Latin Christendom: Tunisia, by Alfred Stepan
5. Secularism and the Mexican Revolution, by Claudio Lomnitz
6. Is Confucianism Secular?, by Peter van der Veer
7. Disenchantment Deferred, by Sudipta Kaviraj
8. An Ancient Indian Secular Age?, by Rajeev Bhargava
9. Gandhi's Radicalism: An Interpretation, by Akeel Bilgrami
10. A Secular Age Outside Latin Christendom: Charles Taylor Responds
books  kindle-available  secularization  modernity  modernization  Islam  tolerance  liberalism  decolonization  secularism  universalism  MENA  Tunisia  Mexico  India  ancient_India  Gandhi  Sufis  Confucianism  connected_history  Taylor_Charles  Christianity  Christendom 
july 2016 by dunnettreader
Eamon Gearon - Turning Points in Middle Eastern History | The Great Courses
Turning Points in Middle Eastern History
Lectures at SAIS
36 lectures that covers the period from the rise of Islam and the last Caliph (1924)
The complaints hover around
(1) exclusion of important turning points - though most concern 20thC after 1924 eg foundling of Israel
And
(2) that he's "soft" (though not necessarily "biased") re Islam
The more open minded reviewers who know a lot of Western Civ history, but little re both Islam and the Middle East history, gave high marks for control and very high marks for delivery
Islam  buy  Islamic_civilization  18thC  20thC  MENA  courses  16thC  19thC  medieval_history  video  17thC 
april 2016 by dunnettreader
Nile Green - The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen’s London | Princeton University Press
In July 1815, six Iranian students arrived in London under the escort of their chaperone, Captain Joseph D’Arcy. Their mission was to master the modern sciences behind the rapid rise of Europe. Over the next four years, they lived both the low life and high life of Regency London, from being down and out after their abandonment by D’Arcy to charming their way into society and landing on the gossip pages. Drawing on the Persian diary of the student Mirza Salih and the letters of his companions, Nile Green vividly describes how these adaptable Muslim migrants learned to enjoy the opera and take the waters at Bath. But there was more than frivolity to their student years in London. Burdened with acquiring the technology to defend Iran against Russia, they talked their way into the observatories, hospitals, and steam-powered factories that placed England at the forefront of the scientific revolution.The Love of Strangers chronicles the frustration and fellowship of six young men abroad to open a unique window onto the transformative encounter between an Evangelical England and an Islamic Iran at the dawn of the modern age. This is that rarest of books about the Middle East and the West: a story of friendships. Nile Green is professor of history at UCLA. His many books include Sufism: A Global History. -- Intro downloaded pdf to Note
books  kindle-available  intellectual_history  religious_history  cultural_history  19thC  British_history  British_Empire  Industrial_Revolution  technology_transfer  Iran  Islam  London  Austen  sociology_of_knowledge  sociology_of_science_&_technology  networks-social  networks-information  British_foreign_policy  downloaded 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
The real roots of Sunni-Shia conflict: beyond the myth of "ancient religious hatreds" | Vox Jan 2016
The story, as told, usually goes something like this: 1,400 years ago, during the seventh century, there was a schism among Muslims over who would succeed as…
Instapaper  MENA  religious_history  religious_culture  religious_belief  Islam  Shia  Sunni  geopolitics  Islamic_civilization  from instapaper
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Birmingham Qur’an folio one of world’s earliest | The History Blog
Carbon dating of the skins used puts it right at the earliest post-Mohammad stage, which may shift assumptions about when and by whom the earliest written Qur'an was used to record oral versions
Pocket  text_analysis  manuscripts  Qur'an  Islam  Mohammad  from pocket
august 2015 by dunnettreader
Emran El-Badawi, "The Qur'an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions" (Routledge, 2013)
The Qur'an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions (Routledge, 2013) written by Emran El-Badawi, professor and director of the Arab Studies program at the University of Houston, is a recent addition to the field of research on the Qur'an and Aramaic and Syriac biblical texts. Professor El-Badawi asserts that the Qur'an is a product of an environment steeped in the Aramaic gospel traditions. Not a "borrowing" from the Aramaic gospel tradition, but rather the Qur'an contains a "dogmatic re-articulation" of elements from that tradition for an Arab audience. He introduces and examines this context in the second chapter, and then proceeds to compare passages of the Qur'an and passages of the Aramaic gospel in the subsequent four chapters. These comparisons are organized according to four primary themes: prophets, clergy, the divine, and the apocalypse. Each chapter contains numerous images constituting the larger theme at work. For example in the chapter "Divine Judgment and the Apocalypse," images of paradise and hell taken from gospel traditions are compared to the Qur'anic casting of these images. Moreover, Professor El-Badawi includes three indices following his concluding chapter that provide a great deal of raw data and textual parallels between the Qur'an and the wide range of sources he has employed. The value of his work is evidenced by the fact it was nominated for the 2014 British-Kuwait Friendship Society's Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies
books  interview  audio  intellectual_history  religious_history  Biblical_criticism  text_analysis  philology  Biblical_allusion  Qur'an  Islam  Mohammad  Gospels  Early_Christian  apocalyptic  religious_culture  religious_lit  religious_imagery  late_antiquity  Byzantine 
august 2015 by dunnettreader
What do we actually know about Mohammed? | openDemocracy
It is notoriously difficult to know anything for sure about the founder of a world religion. Just as one shrine after the other obliterates the contours of the…
Instapaper  Islam  religious_history  archaeology  historiography  late_antiquity  MENA  Byzantine  text_analysis  from instapaper
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Nicolas Delalande & Thomas Grillot - Interview with Jocelyne Dakhlia - Pouvoir et passions en terre d’Islam | Feb 2014 - La Vie des idées
Also translated into English -- Domaine(s) : Histoire -- Mots-clés : Moyen-Orient | islam | démocratie | Moyen Âge -- Aux clichés tenaces sur le despotisme oriental ou l’incompatibilité de l’islam avec la démocratie, Jocelyne Dakhlia répond par l’enquête historique sur les formes et les logiques du pouvoir dans les sociétés musulmanes. Son œuvre prolifique, qui s’étend des cours sultaniennes du Moyen Âge à la Tunisie contemporaine, redéfinit les contours de la Méditerranée et invite à penser autrement l’histoire de l’Europe. -- downloaded pdf to Note
Islam  Islamic_civilization  Islamic_law  political_order  political-theology  political_history  religious_history  religious_culture  government-forms  orientalism  despotism  democracy  democratization  liberal_democracy  MENA  medieval_history  medieval_philosophy  Mediterranean  North_Africa  19thC  20thC  21stC  historiography  modernity  Europe-exceptionalism  downloaded 
april 2015 by dunnettreader
Dr. Ahmad Shafaat - What is Riba | Islamic Perspectives
Begun January 2005, slowly adding additional chapters -- This bookmark is for the Introduction -' Planned Contents -- Part I – RIBA IN THE QUR`AN *-* I - The Qur`an And The Authentic Ahadith Do Not Define Riba. *-* II - Riba In Pre-Islamic Arabia. *-* III - Riba In The Qur`an – A Detailed Examination of Relevant Verses [PDF Document] *-* IV - Riba In The Qur`an – A Closer Examination of Some Relevant Issues. *-* V- Usury/Interest In Other Societies. **--** Part II – RIBA IN THE HADITH. *-* VI -Ahadith About Husn al-Qada` *-* VII- Ahadith About Riba – An Overview. *-* VIII -Ahadith About Riba – An Examination Of Their Transmission (Naql) *-* IX- Ahadith About Riba – Making Sense Of Them. *-* Conclusion. -- We can hardly doubt that in the Qur`an riba is some kind of increase in the amount of a loan. But what is its precise nature? The commonly held traditional view is that riba is simply interest, that is, any increase in the loan required by the lender as a condition for advancing the loan. But many commonly held views, when they are scrutinized in the light of three primary sources of Islam – the Qur`an, authentic ahadith, and reason -- turn out to be either fundamentally flawed or harmful oversimplifications. Is the commonly accepted definition of riba one of the exceptions? Unfortunately, not. It turns out that this definition is a harmful oversimplification.
Islam  Islamic_law  Islamic_finance  credit  creditors  investment  investors  risk  risk_premiums  interest_rates  usury  theology  legal_reasoning  Qur'an  Hadith 
march 2015 by dunnettreader
Recommended Reading Lists | A Common Word Between Us and You
More often than not, one’s understanding of a religion comes from sources which are either prejudiced or which do not have an authentic understanding of the religion. To really understand a religion, one must be able to view it as its adherents do. One should be able to enter the particular world-view of the religion and see through its eyes. This will enable us to understand the particular values, attitudes and behaviors that the particular religion recommends for its followers. It is in this light that a number of prominent Muslim and Christian scholars have kindly compiled recommended reading lists. Some of the reading lists have been compiled according to levels, others according to categories, while others remain as one list. It is hoped these lists will serve as a guide, lighting the way to a better understanding of each others Tradition. **--** Muslim Scholars -- Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr. -- Sheikh Ali Goma’a. -- Prof. Timothy Winter -- Dr. Joseph Lumbard. **--** Christian Scholars -- Dr. Mirolslav Volf -- Reverend William Sachs -- Dr Nicholas Adams -- Roland Schatz -- downloaded pdfs to Note
comparative_religion  religious_history  religious_culture  theology  Christianity  Islam  Islamic_civilization  Islam-Greek_philosophy  legal_history  legal_system  legal_theory  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  bibliography  downloaded 
november 2014 by dunnettreader
Tillman W. Nechtman, review - Penelope Carson, The East India Company and Religion, 1698-1858 | H-Albion, H-Net Reviews. June, 2013
-- nuanced way in which her focus on faith forces us to appreciate the religious balancing act that was always at the heart of company rule in South Asia. Axiomatic though it may be that the company struggled to balance missionary work against its trading functions, The East India Company and Religion is richest in its insistence that historians have overly homogenized what we mean when we refer to missionary activity. Take, for instance, the competing interests of the Church of England and other dissenting religious communities. Ought the company’s missionary involvement in South Asia focus on the established church? Or, ought it be more inclusive? Would Anglican missionaries threaten indigenous religious sensibilities as being aggressively statist? Hence, as Carson suggests, the question of how the company functioned in India vis-à-vis religion was always also a question of the constitution of church and state in Britain more broadly and of the religious composition of the state and the company’s growing empires around the globe. -- Carson notes how little changed with respect to religious policy after the crown replaced the company as the sovereign power in South Asia. Queen Victoria’s clear unwillingness to impose upon the religious convictions of her South Asian subjects--in clear defiance of the will of Britain’s Evangelical community--was a reaffirmation of the company’s religious compact with the people of India.
books  reviews  17thC  18thC  19thC  religious_history  British_history  British_Empire  British_politics  India  East_India_Company  missionaries  religious_culture  politics-and-religion  Church_of_England  Evangelical  Hinduism  Islam  colonialism  Victorian  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader
John Philip Jenkins: The Lost History of Christianity | Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Publishers Weekly - Revisionist history is always great fun, and never more so than when it is persuasively and cogently argued. Jenkins, the Penn State history professor whose book The Next Christendom made waves several years ago, argues that it's not exactly a new thing that Christianity is making terrific inroads in Asia and Africa. A thousand years ago, those continents were more Christian than Europe, and Asian Christianity in particular was the locus of tremendous innovations in mysticism, monasticism, theology and secular knowledge. The little-told story of Christianity's decline in those two continents—hastened by Mongol invasions, the rise of Islam and Buddhism, and internecine quarrels—is sensitively and imaginatively rendered. Jenkins sometimes challenges the assertions of other scholars, including Karen Armstrong and Elaine Pagels, but provides compelling evidence for his views. The book is marvelously accessible for the lay reader and replete with fascinating details to help personalize the ambitious sweep of global history Jenkins undertakes. This is an important counterweight to previous histories that have focused almost exclusively on Christianity in the West.
books  amazon.com  kindle-available  religious_history  Early_Christian  late_antiquity  medieval_history  church_history  religious_culture  MENA  Africa  Asia  Islam  Islamic_civilization  Buddhism  mysticism  monasticism  science-and-religion  Mongols  Eurasia  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader
Jessica Riskin, review essay - Newton and Monotheism | JSTOR: Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Summer 2010), pp. 399-408
Reviewed work(s): (1) Peter Dear. The Intelligibility of Nature: How Science Makes Sense of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. xii + 242 pp., illus., index. ISBN 978-0-226-13949-4. $17.00 (paper). ; *--* (2) Stephen Gaukroger. The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210–1685. Oxford: Clarendon, 2006. ix + 563 pp., illus., index. ISBN 978-0-199-55001-2. $39.95 (paper). ; *--* (3) Peter Harrison. The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. xi + 300 pp., index. ISBN 978-0-521-87559-2. $43.00 (paper). ; *--* (4) George Saliba. Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007. xi + 315 pp., illus., index. ISBN 978-0-262-19557-7. $43.00 (hardcover).
books  reviews  jstor  bookshelf  kindle-available  intellectual_history  history_of_science  sociology_of_knowledge  science-and-religion  Scientific_Revolution  Biblical_criticism  Bible-as-history  Islam  monotheism  Newtonian  original_sin  Fall  epistemology  cultural_history  scientific_culture  religious_culture  intelligentsia  intellectual_freedom  Islamic_civilization  Renaissance  Islam-Greek_philosophy  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Brenna Moore - Beyond the Catholic-Protestant divide - review of Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation « The Immanent Frame - Nov 2013
Gregory seems to think if Europe had avoided theological split all would have been well,maybe even avoid modernity and its evils - ignores Catholic relations with other religions and Christianity entanglement with colonialism and economic imperialism -- Also ignores important 20thC European Catholic rethinking of relations with others, support for eg human rights etc that Gregory disparages, ignoring Catholic links -- quote: With this twentieth-century European Catholic scholarly tradition as a backdrop, it appears all the more remarkable that Gregory did not follow its lead in thinking through the role of Christianity’s relationship to non-Christian religions in the making of modernity. Modern civilization, including secularization and consumerism, is incomprehensible when defined as a debate between Protestants and Catholics alone. Christians’ encounters with religious others shaped their own self-understanding in the early modern period and beyond, and the interactions between religiously diverse people must be central to any genealogy of our present. These encounters—sometimes violent, sometimes deeply humane—between Catholics and Jews, between missionaries and those they met on the frontier, between the orientalists and their archives, have to be at the center (or at least included somewhere!) of any analysis of the Christian roots of contemporary global capitalism and consumerism. Maritain and his cohort faced this head-on. José Casanova and Saba Mahmood have leveled similar critiques at Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age. In short, it is impossible to understand the historical trajectory of Christianity without understanding its contact with non-Christian others. Why does Gregory, like Taylor, bracket all of this? Had he not, what difference might it have made for the conclusions of The Unintended Reformation?

John W. O’Malley’s work has shown that few areas of sixteenth-century Catholicism were more significant than the intense upheavals caused by the missionary activity that began with the Portuguese and Spanish conquests and explorations and lasted through the seventeenth century. Catholics, he argues, were not always as fixated on Protestant reforms as we tend to assume (hence his preference for the label “early modern Catholicism” rather than “the Counter-Reformation”).
books  reviews  kindle-available  religious_history  intellectual_history  modernity  Christianity  Catholics  Reformation  16thC  17thC  20thC  comparative_religion  Judaism  colonialism  Spanish_Empire  Netherlands  tolerance  Counter-Reformation  Islam  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
Carlos Fraenkel's "Philosophical Religions" Reviewed by Peter Gordon | New Republic
In a remarkable and important book, Carlos Fraenkel characterizes Lessing as one of the late exponents for an intellectual tradition of philosophical religion that stretches as far back as late antiquity. This is a tradition that united pagan thinkers such as Plato with Christians (Origen and Eusebius) and Muslims (Al-Fārābī and Averroes) and Jews (Philo and Maimonides) in a shared philosophical vision, according to which historically distinctive religions should not be understood in the literal sense. They must be interpreted instead in allegorical fashion, so as to grasp their higher and purely rational content. This allegorical content is far from self-evident. But those who are incapable of philosophizing, or have not yet arrived at the requisite intellectual maturity, are not lost: the historical forms of a given religion offer just the sort of moral and political instruction most of us need if we are to conduct our lives with virtue and for the common good. Only the philosopher will understand that the historical forms have an educative function
books  reviews  kindle-available  intellectual_history  ancient_philosophy  Plato  Aristotle  Judaism  Islam  Medieval  theology  Early_Christian  Spinoza  allegory  Biblical_criticism  Bible-as-history  Strauss  Enlightenment  Bolingbroke  monotheism  reason  Neoplatonism  Aquinas  scholastics  Deism  EF-add 
november 2013 by dunnettreader
The state of religion in China [series] « The Immanent Frame
Series of posts - starts October 2013

October 1st, 2013
Opiate of the masses with Chinese characteristics
posted by Thomas DuBois

October 4th, 2013
The Communist Party and the future of religion in China
posted by André Laliberté

October 8th, 2013
The “good” and the “bad” Muslims of China
posted by Yuting Wang

October 10th, 2013
Secular belief, religious belonging
posted by Richard Madsen
China  religious_history  religious_culture  politics-and-religion  Islam  Buddhism  Confuscianism  Christianity  securitization  secularism  modernization  Communist_Party  sociology_of_religion  community  identity  EF-add 
october 2013 by dunnettreader
Ali Mamouri Iran on Quest to Legitimize Velayat-e Faqih in Iraqi Seminaries - Al-Monitor August 2013
With the worsening sectarian crisis in the region and the emergence of a sectarian conflict in Syria, the regime expected Najaf to support the Shiite position in the conflict as represented by Iran and its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon, or at least remain silent on the matter. But Najaf’s explicit position against waging jihad in Syria and the illegitimacy of the religious edicts calling for participation in the sectarian fighting there have placed Iran in a very awkward position.

The conflict between the Iranian regime, which believes in velayat-e faqih, and Najaf, which rejects that notion, has made some researchers in Shiite affairs predict the end of the traditional Shiite reference with Sistani’s death. But this seems unrealistic because of the coherent social structure in the Najaf seminary and its general position in the Shiite world.
Islam  Shiites  Iran  Iraq  Syria  MENA 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Mehdi Khalaji - The Last Marja: Sistani and the End of Traditional Religious Authority in Shiism (2006) - Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Iraqi Shiite cleric Ali Hussein al-Sistani has achieved tremendous popularity in recent years, becoming the greatest marja, or independent religious authority, in the Shiite world. But how does his influence compare to that of Iran's Supreme Leader, who can draw upon the considerable resources of the Iranian state?In this Washington Institute Policy Focus, Mehdi Khalaji offers an in-depth look at the current state of Shiite leadership. Drawing in part from his theological training in the seminaries of Qom, Iran, he traces the gradual marginalization of the seminary system in Iran and Iraq -- the former through political monopolization by the ayatollahs, the latter through direct suppression at the hands of Saddam Hussein. By undermining the traditional sources of independent religious authority in the heart of the Shiite world, he argues, the Iranian regime has succeeded in its goal of dominating Shiite religious, political, and social networks both inside and outside Iran. He goes on to explore what this dramatic shift in Shiite authority means for Western interests and U.S. policy.

51 PAGES 
Islam  Shiites  Iran  Iraq 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Dani Rodrik: The Problem is Authoritarianism, Not Islam - Project Syndicate August 2013
Ultimately, democracy relies on an implicit quid pro quo among contending groups, according to which each agrees to protect the others’ rights in exchange for recognition of its entitlement to govern should it win an election. Constitutional provisions alone cannot ensure such an outcome, for those in power can easily override them. Instead, norms of proper political behavior must become embodied in the polity’s enduring institutions – its political parties, parliaments, and courts – in order to prevent abuse of power. What sustains these norms is the knowledge that undermining them will have consequences that are damaging to all. If I do not protect your rights while in power today, you will have little reason to respect mine when you come to power tomorrow. When an outside force such as the military interrupts this game, either directly or because one of the parties can rely on its intervention, the dynamics of political behavior change irrevocably. A case can be made for military intervention when a country finds itself on the edge of civil war, as Turkey was in 1980 (and as Egypt arguably was in July); but one should not confuse restoring order with restoring democracy. What does not help – and in fact backfires – is for outsiders to view the political crisis of Middle Eastern societies as the result of an Islamist-secularist divide. This perspective plays directly into the hands of authoritarian rulers like Erdoğan,
political_culture  democracy  legitimacy  MENA  Islam  Turkey  Egypt  military  authoritarian  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader

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