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  • Author: Fabio Petito, Fadi Daou, Michael Driessen, Elie Al-Hindy, Georges Fahmi, Nejja Al-Ourimi, Silvio Ferrari, Mohammed Hashas, Scott M. Thomas, Pasquale Ferrara, R. Scott Appleby, Miguel Angel Moratinos, Alberto Melloni, Azza Karam, Paul Gallagher, Nayla Tabbara, Mohamed Abdel-Salam, Andre Azoulay, Jean-Marc Aveline
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: Polarization and discrimination linked to religion have been increasing in many parts of the world, including on the two shores of the Mediterranean. Against this background, however, seeds of hope have emerged from a number of religious leaders who have called for a new narrative of human fraternity and inclusive citizenship. This report analyzes the opportunities which human fraternity and inclusive citizenship offer for government-religious partnerships aimed at building more inclusive and peaceful societies across both shores of the Mediterranean and puts forward interreligious engagement as a new policy framework that recognizes and amplifies these novel dynamics. Can the interreligious narrative of human fraternity help to create new inclusive forms of citizenship? How can governments and international organizations better partner with religious leaders and communities to concretely build inclusive societies from the MENA region to Europe?
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Refugees, Citizenship, Pluralism , Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa, Mediterranean
  • Author: Elizabeth R. Nugent
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: The economic decline of the Muslim world and the rise of Western Europe has long captured the attention of scholars across disciplines. Explanations largely focus either on Islam, whether its financial institutions or the essence of its teachings, or on Western colonialism as the culprit. In Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment, Ahmet T. Kuru puts forward a new explanation rooted in class relations. He takes issue with existing approaches, convincingly demonstrating the intellectual and economic vibrancy of the Muslim world between the eighth and twelfth centuries, undermining arguments about Islam’s incompatibility with progress, and asserting that colonialism occurred too late to explain multiple political and socioeconomic crises. Instead, Kuru identifies the eleventh century as a critical juncture when the Muslim world witnessed the emergence of alliances between Islamic scholars (ulema; singular alim) and the military. These alliances persisted through path dependence and gradually hindered intellectual and economic creativity by marginalizing independent intellectual and bourgeois classes in the Muslim world. In turn, the absence of these classes led to the persistence of authoritarianism and the well-documented underdevelopment in the contemporary period.
  • Topic: Development, Islam, History, Authoritarianism, Book Review, Political Science
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Scott M. Thomas, Anthony O'Mahony
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In February 2019, Pope Francis became the first pope to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Like John-Paul II before him, he has also visited Egypt, and he went to Morocco in March 2019. The pope participated in a colloquium on “human fraternity” and interreligious dialogue sponsored by the UAE-based Muslim Council of Elders—the brain-child of Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the most important Sunni Muslim university in the world. The Council of Elders sponsors initiatives to engage young Muslims on Islamist ideology by promoting a more “authentic” interpretation of Islam. Islamist violence—with its beheadings and mass executions—has provoked disgust across the Muslim world and is causing young Muslims to become more distant from their imams and mosques. It is becoming clear to many Muslim intellectuals in Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon that, in order to defeat Islamism, there needs to be greater dialogue and coexistence with Christians. Pope Francis is attempting to lead the way, extending his “culture of encounter.”
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Culture, Violence, Catholic Church
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Vatican city
  • Author: Sonia Boulos
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on International Security Studies (RESI)
  • Institution: International Security Studies Group (GESI) at the University of Granada
  • Abstract: The perception of Islam as antithetical to European human rights values is widespread in Europe. Such perceptions complicate the task of integrating Muslim minorities across Europe. While incrementing respect to human rights norms among migrant communities is an important element of any integration policy, this goal should not be perused by forcing migrant communities to adhere to human rights norms based on purely secular grounds. The drafting history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the ultimate proof that human rights can be justified from different political, philosophical and religious perspectives. While European States cannot compromise their commitment to human rights, even in relation to migrant communities, still, they must allow other narratives on the importance and the meaning of human rights to emerge. Muslim migrant communities must be allowed to engage in intra-group religion-based dialogues to reevaluate their stance on human rights and to debate their meaning. After being given the opportunity to engage in internal debates on the significance of human rights, Muslim migrant communities should also be engaged in cross-cultural dialogues with the rest of community to generate a wider agreement on the meaning and the application of human rights. This two-fold strategy is consistent with the principle of subsidiarity, which suggests that for human rights be effective they must be seen as legitimate by all those small groups that are close to the individual. Such legitimacy cannot be imposed from the outside, it must emerge from within these small groups. However, for these intra-group and cross-cultural dialogues to succeed, the separation of religion and State cannot be understood as the complete exclusion of religion from the public sphere. Individuals of different philosophical or religious convictions must have an equal access to public debates on the centrality of human rights in the European legal order.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Islam, Religion, Culture, Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Martin van Bruinessen
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: In spite of their overwhelmingly Muslim populations, Indonesia and Turkey are formally secular states though of different kind. However, both allocate a surprisingly high proportion of the state budget to the administration of Islam, considerably higher than most countries where Islam is the state religion. In Turkey during the years 1950-2000 and in Indonesia during the New Order period (1966-1998), the state invested heavily in the education of “enlightened” religious personnel and the dissemination of religious views that were compatible with the drive for modernisation and development. Turkey’s Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) controls a huge bureaucracy through which the state interacts with the pious conservative part of the population. Schools for the training of prayer leaders addressed the needs of the same segment of the population and were intended to facilitate the integration of these conservatives into the project of secular modernisation. However, these institutions had the unforeseen effect of enabling the social mobility of once marginalised conservatives, allowing them to gradually gain control of part of the state apparatus. Mutatis mutandis, very similar developments can be observed in Indonesia, where the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) and the Council of Islamic Scholars (MUI) were expected to provide development-friendly religious guidance and prevent undesirable expressions of religiosity. After the fall of the Suharto regime, the MUI made itself independent of the government and instead became a vehicle through which various conservative religious groups strove to influence government policies, with various degrees of success.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Social Movement, Secularism, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Meagan Torello, Rafael Leal-Arcas, Caitlin Werrell, Francesco Femia, Carmel Davis, Ziad Al Achkar, Ang Zhao, Buddhika Jayamaha, Jahara "Franky" Matisek, William Reno, Molly Jahn, Therese Adam, Peter J. Schraeder, Juan Macias-Amoretti, Karim Bejjit
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: In the first issue of our 20th volume, the cooperative and conflictual nature of climate change in international relations is explored. Rafael Leal-Arcas analyzes the necessity of a symbiotic relationship between bottom-up and top-down negotiations to implement clean energy consumption. Following, Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia begin this issue's dialogue on climate change and security. Carmel Davis discusses the effects of climate change on Sub-Saharan Africa's ability to develop and subsequently mitigate conflict. Similarly, Ziad Al Achkar outlines the economic, environmental, and security threats in the Arctic as its ice continues to melt. Zhao Ang then discusses China's ability and incentives to pursuing a greener economy. Following, Buddikha Jayamaha, Jahara Matisek, William Reno, and Molly Jahn discuss the security and development of climate change implications in the Sahel region. The main portion of this issue proudly concludes with the Journal's interview with former Swiss Ambassador Therese Adam on climate change negotiations and the great potential for civil society engagement. Following the climate change portion of this issue, we feature a special sup-topic: Africa Rising. Here, Peter Schraeder discusses the effects of President Donald Trump's foreign policy in Africa. Juan Macías-Amoretti analyzes the role of Islam in Moroccan politics, while Karim Bejjit concludes with a discussion on Morocco's growing relationship with the AU.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Conflict, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, North Africa, Switzerland, Morocco, Sahel, Global Focus
  • Author: Ed Erickson, Christian H. Heller, T. J. Linzy, Mallory Needleman, Michael Auten, Anthony N. Celso, Keith D. Dickson, Jamie Shea, Ivan Falasca, Steven A. Yeadon, Joshua Tallis, Ian Klaus
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: There are a variety of reasons to study geopolitical rivalries, and analysts, officers, and politicians are rediscovering such reasons amid the tensions of the last several years. The best reason to study geopolitical rivalries is the simplest: our need to better understand how power works globally. Power not only recurs in human and state affairs but it is also at their very core. Today’s new lexicon—superpower, hyperpower, and great power—is only another reminder of the reality of the various ways that power manifests itself. Power protects and preserves, but a polity without it may be lost within mere decades. Keith D. Dickson’s article in this issue of MCU Journal, “The Challenge of the Sole Superpower in the Postmodern World Order,” illuminates how fuzzy some readers may be in their understanding of this problem; his article on postmodernism calls us to the labor of understanding and reasoning through the hard realities. Ed Erickson’s survey of modern power is replete with cases in which a grand state simply fell, as from a pedestal in a crash upon a stone floor. Modern Japan, always richly talented, rose suddenly as a world actor in the late nineteenth century, but the Japanese Empire fell much more quickly in the mid-twentieth century. A state’s power—or lack thereof—is an unforgiving reality. This issue of MCU Journal, with its focus on rivalries and competition between states, is refreshingly broad in its selection of factors—from competing for or generating power. Dr. Erickson recalls that Alfred Thayer Mahan settled on six conditions for sea power, all still vital. Other authors writing for this issue emphasize, by turns, sea power (Steven Yeadon, Joshua Tallis, and Ian Klaus); cyberpower (Jamie Shea); alliances (T. J. Linzy and Ivan Falasca); information (Dickson); and proxies (Michael Auten, Anthony N. Celso, and others).
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Islam, Terrorism, War, History, Power Politics, Military Affairs, European Union, Seapower, Cities, Ottoman Empire, Hybrid Warfare , Cyberspace, Soviet Union, Safavid Empire
  • Political Geography: Britain, Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Lithuania, Georgia, North Africa, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gary Soroka
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The European Union faces enormous challenges, including flows of refugees, economic stagnation, terrorism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry and the rise of the far right, the Brexit. Strong leadership is needed but it is in short supply. Germany is the most capable, but it too has domestic problems that are preoccupying the political class, not least the prospect of a federal election next year. Despite all this, the country has shouldered its growing responsibilities in recent years with a new confidence and no one should underestimate what they can achieve.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Elections, European Union, Brexit, Xenophobia
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ali Murat Yel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: THE NAQSHBANDIYYA is perhaps one of the widest-spread Islamic religious brotherhoods due to its active involvement in political affairs. Its 'strength' comes from the fact it could trace the sheiks of the order as far back as to the Prophet of Islam through his companion Abu Bakr. The silsila (the chain of transmission) of the order also contains some very important figures in Islamic history, like Salman al-Farisi and Bayazid al-Bistami. Despite the importance of the order and its worldwide expansion, the published works on the subject could fill only a small shelf. The order also has a great number of followers in Turkey, including some prominent political figures. Since Shah Bahauddin Naqshband, the founder of the order, the succeeding sheiks of the Naqshbandiyya tarikat (religious order) have currently been handed to Sheikh Nazim al-Kibrisi al-Haqqani, a Turkish Cypriot. The Sheikh has been given the task of expanding the order to the West, and as a result of arduous efforts he has been able to establish some centers in various European and American cities, with the biggest one being in London. Author Tayfun Atay studied this center for his Ph.D. thesis submitted to London University.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, Europe, Turkey, London
  • Author: Sajjad H. Rizvi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Story of Islamic Philosophy You cannot judge a book by its cover – or even its title. Now and then, a work comes along that forces us to take notice of what the author means by giving his work a particular title. Certainly, those who pick up The Story of Islamic Philosophy might expect a conventional history of the philosophical endeavour in the world of Islam, starting with the translation movement and the appropriation of Aristotelianism and ending with the 'eclipse' of 'rational discourse' in medieval mysticism and obscurantism. The study of philosophy in Islam is rather polarised: the traditional academic field of 'Arabic philosophy' starts with the Graeco-Arabica and is very much in the mould of understanding what the Arabs owed to the Greeks and then what the Latins owed the Arabs. This book is a story of Aristotle arabus and then latinus, and hence it is not surprising that the story culminates with the ultimate Aristotelian, Averroes. Many Arab intellectuals, such as the late Muḥammad ʿĀbid al-Jābirī, have been sympathetic to such readings and wished to revive a sort of Averroist Aristotelianism in the name of reason and enlightenment. In particular, they wished to save the Arab-Islamic heritage from its 'perversion' by the Persians, starting with Avicenna and Ghazālī who initiated the shift from reason and discourse to mystagogy and 'unreason.' The models for this tradition of philosophy are the Metaphysics and the Organon of Aristotle. However, the Greek heritage was always much more than Aristotle – Plato and the thoroughly neoplatonised Aristotle were critical. If anything, a serious historical engagement with the course of philosophy in the late antiquity period, on the cusp of the emergence of Islam, demonstrates that philosophy was much more than abstract reasoning, discourse and a linearity of proof.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia