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Archive of past issues of the Journal for critique of science

Issue No. 252 - Islam and the Middle Easts (2/4 2013)

ČKZ številka 252 - Islam in Bližnji vzhodi

Islam and the Middle Easts

(ČKZ No. 252 - 2/4 2013)


pp. 13–28 by Raid Al-Daghistani

Islam as a Polyvalent Culture

Classical Islamic culture was characterised by phenomena of equivocation, tolerance of ambiguity, plurality of discourses, and acceptance of different interpretations. Contrary to this stance, various modern Islamic attitudes formed during the 19th century and entrenched during the 20th century are set. The emergence of politico-ideological Islam, which appeared foremost as a reaction to the geopolitical colonization and economic–military domination by the West, induced hatred of the rich Islamic tradition, which was exactly expressed by the suspension of a demand for an absolute single interpretation of spiritual tradition or Truth.

Keywords: Islam, culture, modernism, equivocation, ambiguity

Raid Al-Daghistani, graduate student, Islamwissenschaft und Arabistik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 29–45 by Sami Al-Daghistani

The Quran, the Philosophy of the Arabic Language and Islamic Aesthetics

The article deals with Islamic aesthetics and the notion of the Qur’an as a literary phenomenon. Even nowadays, reading the sacred text and considering its literary and aesthetic value is reckoned to be essential by the key Arabic poets and theologians. The article addresses the code of the Qur’an – the Arabic language and its philosophical meaning, the period of Islamic poetry as a confirmation of the literary might of Qur’anic verses, as well as Islamic aesthetics as a point where the fields of theology and society bind with the artistic. The article focuses on the artistic mosaic of the Qur’an and the aesthetic value of Islamic thought in general.

Keywords: Arabic poetry, Qur’an, philosophy of the Arabic Language, Islamic literature, Islamic aesthetics.

Sami Al-Daghistani, graduate student, Master by Research, Middle East and Islamic Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 47–52 by Sami Al-Daghistani

An Islamic Model of Social Life: Legal and Economic Thought in Islam

In the article I assert the societal dimension of Islam based on the duality of an Islamic worldview, based on the notion of tewhid, whose foundation is in Islamic law. One component of Islamic law is Islamic economic thought, irrevocably bounded within the Qu’ranic postulates of ethical conduct, founded on a logic contrary to global capitalism, as Max Weber also pointed out. Islamic banking is an expression of contemporary Islamic business ethics, regarded as a conjunction of the financial sector and shari'a-based principles.

Keywords: Islamic worldview, Islamic law, Islamic economic thought, capitalism, Islamic banking

Sami Al-Daghistani, graduate student, Master by Research, Middle East and Islamic Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 63–76 by Maurits Berger

Western and Islamic Concepts of Religious Tolerance

The article analyses the notion of tolerance within Islamic tradition and Western thought. I will compare the social and legal practices of Western and Muslim societies, as well as their different application of the concept of religious freedom. Religious tolerance has the same meaning in both contexts, but is applied quite differently. This difference may very well pose an obstacle when tolerance is suggested as a solution for the mistrust and misconceptions between the two sides.

Keywords: Islam, West, tolerance, freedom of expression, freedom of religion

Maurits S. Berger, LLM Law, MA Arabic Studies, PhD in Public Policy and Sharia, Full Professor Islam in the contemporary West, Leiden University, The Netherlands (Sultan of Oman Chair for Oriental Studies).(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 7798 by Nikolai Jeffs

The ethics and aesthetics of glocal cultural struggle: the example of Raja Shehadeh’s Palestinian Walks

The article first explores how Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Lanscape overturns some of the conceptions of canonical works of travel writing on Palestine, especially the trope of the “empty land”. After this it draws attention to how the narrative avoids the asymmetry of exclusionary ideology and what kind of more materialistic strategies in the representation of Palestinians and Jews it deploys and so as to avoid the reproduction of precisely that epistemology that also motivates the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Some of the psychogeographical elements of the book are also mentioned and the ways in which these, despite being local, nonetheless  allow for global identification and socially productive action. This is analysed through   the concepts of the “decompression of time and space” and “glass doors”. In addition, Palestine Walks can also be read as an answer to dominant anglophone media images of Israel/Palestine.

Keywords: travel writing, multiculturalism, nationalism, the West Bank, Palestine, Israel 

Nikolai Jeffs teaches at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska, Koper. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 99–112 by Ana Frank

The Meanings of Feminism in the Islamic World and the Case of Turkey

The article focuses on different meanings of feminism and feminist (op)position, with special attention on understanding feminism in the Islamic world, especially in Turkey. Feminism is an open concept, which has no fixed meaning and form, but is always re-defined according to the context within which different subjects employ it. Feminism in these contexts is not just a privileged position of the West, which claims the right to define feminist demands in its own terms according to specific and particular norms and values. Indeed, feminism is always contextualised and re-interpreted according to specific needs and (op)position of women.

Keywords: feminism, Islam, context, subject, Turkey, veiling

Ana Frank, PhD student at Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana and Sabanci University, Istanbul, researcher at Peace Institue, Ljubljana. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 113–122 by Uroš Dokl

Muslim Women in Women’s Travel Literature of the 19th and 20th Century

In this article I examine the position of women in Islam, from the beginning of the 19th century till the end of the Second World War, through the eyes of female travel writers. The first women travellers who set out for the Middle East were the first outsiders to be accepted into women’s societies in the Islamic world, and thus they entered the life behind the veil. Comparing writers’ encounters with Muslim women and the Muslim world in general, I describe Muslim women throughout various stages of life.

Keywords: women travel writers, women in Islam, polygamy, Islamic society, Isabel Burton, Freya Stark, Gertrude Bell, Lucie Duff Gordon, Lady Mary Sheil

Uroš Dokl, PhD student of religious studies at Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, employed at Regional Museum Maribor. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 123–135 by Enes Klarić

Muslims, Chrisitans, and Jews Today: Neighbourliness in the Era of Globalisation

Humankind is diverse, and religious humankind especially so. Different languages, faiths, customs, views, thoughts and opinions are all to be considered when one wants to talk about neighbourhood and neighbourliness today. Indeed, what do neighbourhood and neighbourliness mean, and what it means to live in neighbourhood with others in the period labelled as globalization? My paper discusses the modern day affirmation of the idea of neighbourhood among Muslims, Christians and Jews. I consider that task most important, since symbols, ideas, and religious representations of Muslims, Christians and Jews have been somehow a part of neighbourhood and neighbourliness for a very long time. How can we preserve a neighbourhood and neighbourliness? How can we extract a neighbourhood of human lives and fates from a neighbourhood of symbols, representations and ideas? This paper will try to give answers to these questions.

Keywords: Muslims, Christians, Jews, tolerance, globalization, coexistence

Enes Karić, PhD. in Islamic studies, full professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies of the University of Sarajevo. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 137–150 by Damjan Mandelc

The Arabic Revolt: Context, Perspectives and Effects

In this article we discuss three interrelated topics, framed within discourses of individual and collective human rights, right of self-determination, democratic processes, people`s uprisings, and geopolitical (im)balances. First, we are interested in the situation of Western Sahara and the 37 years of ongoing Moroccan occupation; we refer to this country as Africa’s last colony. Discussion leads us to reflection of the political strategies of Sahrawis to achieve their national liberation, one of them being Gdeim Izik camp, understood by some relevant authors as the beginning of the »Arab spring«. The »Arab spring« is the second focus of our discussion. We offer a timetable and stress the context of events from the Western Sahara attempt in Gdeim Izik, popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen that ended in the resignations of their leaders and governments, civil wars in Syria and Libya, to bigger and smaller protests and their consequences in Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Mauretania, Algeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon and Djibouti. We try to offer a deconstruction and reconstruction of the »Arab spring«. In the third part, we discuss the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the perspectives for solution. The conclusion reflects on the strategic, social and political implications of the »Arab spring«, the role and response of the international community, and the new global wave of resistance against political and financial elites.

Keywords: Arab spring, Western Sahara, Israel/Palestine, Facebook, popular uprising

Damjan Mandelc, PhD in sociology, researcher and professor at the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 151–189 by Primož Šterbenc

Iranian Nuclear Program: a Threat or a Demand for Equality?

Ever since 2002 relations between the West and Israel on the one hand and Iran on the other have been deteriorating due to the contentious issue of Iranian nuclear programme. Israel and the US have been claiming that there has been a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, on the grounds that Iran has persisted in its effort to acquire independent uranium enrichment capability and has since 2006 allowed only limited inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran has been claiming that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Today, one certainly cannot exclude possibility of a military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. However, one cannot properly understand the problem without taking into account the historical and structural dimensions. Namely, Iran's nuclear policy has been guided by country's determination that it will become independent and self-reliant in every possible field – a result of its very negative historical experience. Thus, Iran has been determined to fully exercise its right to peaceful nuclear development, to which it is entitled according to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Iran has been striving to overcome the structural dependence of developing countries in the field of nuclear energy, as they have been denied the possibility of comprehensive nuclear development for peaceful purposes by countries possessing developed nuclear industries. The latter have prevented balanced implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Keywords: Iran, history of Iran, demand for independence, structuralist theory of international relations, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, ban on proliferation of nuclear weapons, peaceful nuclear development, Iran's nuclear program, enrichment of uranium

Primož Šterbenc, PhD in sociology of religions, researcher in the field of international relations. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 181–188 by Mirt Komel

Orientalism of Islamic Fundamentalism: Assassins, Terrorists and other Western Phantoms

The article tries to deconstruct the orientalist construction of Islamic fundamentalism, especially those discourses and images that are specifically related to the question of violence originally found in the mythologies of the alleged forerunners of modern terrorism, the so-called »Assassins«, mythologies still in circulation today.

Keywords: orientalism, imeprialism, terrorism, fundamentalism

Mirt Komel, PhD. in philosophy, assistant and researcher at the department of Cultural Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


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