Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: The Paradox of Moderation

By Güneş Murat Tezcür | Go to book overview

NOTES

CHAPTER 1

1. In this book, Islamism is defined as a set of beliefs that aim to restructure societal relationships according to a particular interpretation of Islam by means of state power. Islamism, by definition, is illiberal (i.e., it does not recognize the inviolability of individual rights) but does not need to be undemocratic (i.e., not espouse the notion of popular rule). The adjective “Islamist” is used to label individuals and groups who adhere to Islamism.

2. Hence, the tendency to call them “Muslim democrats.” See Nasr, “Rise of Muslim Democracy,” 13–14. The term “Muslim democrats” signifies a strong normative meaning that is not always justified. It implies that these actors are agents of democratization and positive political change. I prefer “Muslim reformers” over “Islamic reformers” because the former implies plasticity of the religious identity and its coexistence with a variety of nonreligious identities and commitments. The adjective “Islamic” implies that religious identity and commitments always have priority.

3. Brown, Hamza, and Ottaway, “Islamist Movements.”

4. This book follows Asef Bayat, who defines post-Islamism as both an exhaustion of Islamism and “an endeavor to fuse religiosity and rights, faith and freedom, Islam and liberty.” Bayat, Making Islam Democratic, 10–11.

5. Personal interview with Mehmet Bekaroğlu, Ankara, September 11, 2007.

6. Hence this study is motivated by an empirical puzzle that emerges from the comparison of Iran and Turkey. Thelen, “Historical Institutionalism,” 373.

7. Öniş and Türem, “Entrepreneurs, Democracy, and Citizenship,” 452–453.

8. The most sophisticated presentation of this perspective is found in Philpott, “Explaining the Political Ambivalence of Religion.”

9. Ibid., 516.

10. Ibid., 508.

11. For samples of a vast body of literature on the subject, see Roy, “The Crisis of Religious Legitimacy in Iran,” and Arjomand, “The Reform Movement.”

12. Brownlee, Authoritarianism, 13. Brownlee compares Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, and the Philippines to show how single-party rule contributes to authoritarian stability.

13. Ibid., 174.

14. For two similar arguments along these lines, see Keshavarzian, “Contestation without Democracy,” and Tezcür, “Intra-Elite Struggles and Iranian Elections.”

-221-

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