Increasing extremism is bubbling to the surface in nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. A Resetdoc roundtable in New York examines the cultural and political roots of these fanaticisms as they affect public life from Europe to the USA.Discovering the sources of a murdererGiancarlo Bosetti Liberal élites, multiculturalism and the language of resentmentIan Buruma Constructing the Self, constructing the OtherSeyla BenhabibCitizenship and civil religionBenjamin BarberIdentities, stereotypes and shifting areas of consensusJytte Klausen
Dialogue of Cultures
Turkey’s influence in the Balkans can be measured also in terms of the success of soap operas. The various TV series made in studios on the Bosphorus are a runaway success throughout the former-Yugoslavia as well as in Bulgaria and Romania. There are many viewers even in Serbia and Croatia, countries with a less powerful legacy from the days of the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, local media reports indicate that more and more people, ecstatic about these soap operas, have planned holidays in Istanbul or have enrolled in Turkish language courses.
Some notes on the cultural background of xenophobia
With a rose, Shakespeare best surmised the inimitability of words and meaning for lovers. If only drafting a constitution were so easy and amorous. For Egyptian parliamentarians, the definition and interpretation of a single term – madaniyya – is at the heart of political discord that rivals the animosity of the Montegues and Capulets. Under the dome of Egypt’s parliamentary building, and during closed-door meetings between party committees, madaniyyaa has taken on all shades of meaning.
When did the Iranian nuclear issue become a taboo? And why? Since 2003 there has officially been talk of an Iranian nuclear threat, following two reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency published in June and September, both emphasizing that the Islamic Republic of Iran had not provided sufficient information concerning its nuclear programmes.
Turkey faces tough decisions at home and abroad, from how to handle heterogeneous identities as they become visible in the public sphere to the role it will play as a model for emerging Middle Eastern democracies. Prominent Turkish sociologist Nilüfer Göle points to three “concentric transformations” that have affected Turkey since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP): the fusing of the AKP’s Islamic past with the Turkish conservative democratic tradition, the EU accession process, and the Arab Spring. These developments underlie such pivotal issues as the weakening of the Turkish military, the Islamist/secular debate and the Kurdish question. To heed Göle would be wise, as we attempt to unpack these subjects and understand a way forward for Turkish democracy.
The July clashes at the Serbian border have returned Kosovo to the spotlight after the media blackout that followed Kosovo’s independence on February 17th, 2008. The July incidents resulted in the death of an Albanian policeman, as well as injuries to many others, bearing witness to the fact that in the youngest state to have emerged from the ashes of Yugoslavia, the situation remains tense. The great issues raised before independence, such as the relationship between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority, between Pristina and Belgrade, and between Belgrade and the Serbs in Kosovo, Serbia’s ambitions to join the European Union remain firmly on the table.
In spite of its varied nature, there is one common characteristic shared by most Muslims in the Balkans. Nowadays, Islam is deeply entrenched in identity. In many cases there is a tangible link between adherence to Islam, belonging to an ethnic community and “faith” in a national cause. The explanation for this phenomenon lies in the conflicts of the nineties and, in a broader sense, in the process involving the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Twenty years after the death of Yugoslavia, what is the situation in the various states that inherited its legacy? What are the prospects of European integration and how much of a burden are the memories of the wars? We posed these questions to Stefano Bianchini, professor of Eastern European History at Bologna University and president of the Institute for Central-Eastern Europe and the Balkans in Forlì.
The show goes on. In Italy we continue to see “theocons” on TV, improvised experts, not Islamologues but Islam-demagogues, with no knowledge of languages spoken in the Islamic area and who have never attended courses on Islam. They do however publish books with great publishing houses and are invited on television as experts on Islamic subjects.
Following the terrorist incident in Norway, its political and human aspects were more in focus while a correct analysis would be impossible without due attention to its cultural and theoretical root causes. The main factor which claimed the lives of about 100 human beings in a few hours was product of a long process which has been going on for years in Europe. In the following interview with Iranian Diplomacy, Gholamali Khoshroo, Senior Editor of the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Islam, has talked about theoretical and cultural backgrounds of the incident.
From a scientific and philosophical perspective, Al-Jabri believes that the Arab-Islamic school of thought’s current problems in entertaining a harmonious and balanced relationship with the demands of the contemporary world depend on the progressive loss of a rational and scientific dimension that had instead inspired philosophers such as Averroes, Ibn Hazm and Avempace and with which the Islamic religion is, in his opinion, intimately permeated.