Cultural Globalization: The Role of Religion – Introduction - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Cultural Globalization: The Role of Religion – Introduction

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  1. Cultural Globalization: The Role of Religion – Introduction Lechner & Boli, pp. 345-347

  2. Public "Relieved" By bin Laden's Death

  3. Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979) • “Major world event" that "put fundamentalism on the map" • Outcome of long struggle to overthrow the Shah of Iran • Shah was seen as “puppet” of the West, esp. the US • Iran was predominantly Shi'a (the two main sub-groups of Islam are Shi'a and Sunni) • Shah was seen as an "illegitimate tyrant who had tried to modernize the country in violation of Islamic norms" • Revolution showed it was possible to build an Islamic state under modern circumstances

  4. Islamic Revolution inspired activejihadamong a minority of Muslims • jihad: a religiously motivated opposition to a secular, liberal global order • In predominantly Sunni countries, a movement w/similar purposes was growing, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which also rejected Western culture and advocated a restoration of sharia • sharia: Islamic law • In Afghanistan, after the Soviet invasion in 1979, an extremely conservative group called the Taliban took lead in resistance to invasion and established an oppressive, orthodox regime in the 1990s • The struggle attracted militants from other countries, such as Saudi Arabia

  5. Militants increasingly thought of jihad as global struggle to restore Islamic caliphate and implement sharia • culminating in the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 • to some, 9/11 was the expression of a new global political divide, a "Clash of Civilizations" (à la Huntington)

  6. Islam, like Christianity, is diverse • Believers have a range of perspectives on globalization • Muslims differ on basic questions concerning the relationship between religion & the state, gender roles, democracy, etc.

  7. "Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims" Charles Kurzman, Ch. 42, pp. 353-357

  8. Islamists, Radical Islamists, and Islamic liberalism • Islamists seek to regain righteousness of early yrs of Islam and implement sharia • either by using the state to enforce it • or by convincing Muslims to abide by Islamic norms of their own accord • Radical Islamists have much in common w/ Islamic liberalism: • Both seek to modernize society and politics, recasting tradition in modern molds • Both see multiple ways to be modern and don't equate modernity w/ Western culture

  9. Radical Islamists (Al Qaeda) vs.traditionalists (Taliban) • Traditionalists draw on less educated sectors of society • Believe in mystical and personal authority and are skeptical of modern organizational forms • "For this reason, traditionalist movements are finding it difficult to survive and occupy only isolated pockets of Muslim society" (pp. 353-4)

  10. The Islamists Roots in Secular Education • Many Islamists have university (secular) rather than seminary (religious) educations • OBL (AQ leader) held civil engineering degree, but issued fatwas (religious decrees) as if he were a seminary educated Islamic scholar • Islamists have railed against seminary-trained scholars as out of touch and politically inactive • Seminaries are considered "backward" by Islamists • College-educated Muslims have increasingly been analyzing sacred texts in a "do it yourself" kind of theology

  11. There's great diversity in Islamic opinion and Islamic authority • Gov’ts have taken a role in establishing their own official religious authorities and advancing their own visions of the proper relationship between Islam and the state, through textbooks, for example • There is no universally recognized arbiter to resolve Islamic debates • Any college graduate in a cave can claim to speak for Islam

  12. Islamist political platforms share much with Western modernity • Islamists envision overturning tradition in politics, social relations, and religious practices • Islamists are hostile to monarchies, such as the Saudi dynasty in Arabia • Islamists favor egalitarian meritocracy, as opposed to inherited social hierarchies • e.g., OBL combined traditional grievances such as injustice, corruption, oppression, and self-defense with contemporary, secular demands such as economic development, human rights and national self-determination

  13. Western biases tend to wrongly lump Khomeni's Iran together w/ the Taliban in Afghanistan • Both claimed to be building Islamic states, but Iran is a modern state and Afghanistan is not • Islamic Republic of Iran copied global norms by writing constitution, ratifying it with a referendum w/ full adult suffrage, holding elections, conducting census, etc. • vs. the traditionalist Taliban, which preferred informal and personal administration to the rule-bound bureaucracies favored by modern states • On the issue of gender, Taliban barred girls from school, while the Iranian Islamic Republic more than doubled girls education levels

  14. In ideology and also in practice, bin Laden/Al Qaeda and other radical Islamists mirror Western trends • Al Qaeda operates globally like a TNC, with affiliates and subsidiaries, strategic partners, commodity chains, standardized training, off-shore financing • Insiders call it "the company" • It's a bureaucratic organization, with a modernized communications strategy

  15. Radical Islamists are a minority within Islam • Surveys consistently show that most Muslims oppose Islamists and their goals • Islamists rarely fare well in free/partially free elections • However, the US-led war on terror may inadvertently benefit Islamists • The modernization of Muslim societies promoted by the US and its allies as a buffer against traditionalism may wind up fueling Islamism • Modern schools produce Islamists as well as liberals • Modern businesses fund Islamist as well as other causes • Modern communications can broadcast Islamist as well as other messages Modernity may take many forms besides Western culture

  16. Osama bin Laden Largely Discredited Among Muslim Publics in Recent Years

  17. Islam & the West