Turkish Islam and National Identity

by Sami Zubaida
published in MER199

Turkish Islam is tied up with Turkish nationalism in a unique fashion, the product of Turkish history and identity. Turkey’s brand of Islamist ideology challenges the secularist components and the European identification of Kemalism, historically the dominant form of Turkish nationalism, but retains the central core of Turkish nationalism and statism.

Moroccan Youth, Sex and Islam

by Abdessamad Dialmy
published in MER206

According to official statistics from Morocco’s Ministry of Public Health, from the beginning of the AlDS pandemic to 1997, 450 cases of HIV infection had been recorded in the country. At the same time, a minimum of 100,000 new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid and genital herpes are reported annually in Morocco. [1]

Power and Sexuality in the Middle East

by Bruce Dunne
published in MER206

In early 1993, news of President Clinton’s proposal to end the US military’s ban on service by homosexuals prompted a young Egyptian man in Cairo, eager to practice his English, to ask me why the president wanted “to ruin the American army” by admitting “those who are not men or women.” When asked if “those” would include a married man who also liked to have sex with adolescent boys, he unhesitatingly answered “no.” For this Egyptian, a Western “homosexual” was not readily comprehensible as a man or a woman, while a man who had sex with both women and boys was simply doing what men do.

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Between Clash and Cooptation

US Foreign Policy and the Specter of Islam

by Steve Niva
published in MER208

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Review

Making Muslim Space in North America

by JoAnn D'Alisera
published in MER209

Barbara Daly Metcalf, ed., Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).

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Women and the Political Process in Twentieth Century Iran

by Shiva Balaghi
published in MER210

Parvenu Paidar, Women and the Political Process in Twentieth Century Iran (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

This book argues that in neither the Pahlavi nor the Islamic eras have Iranian women enjoyed direct and independent control over the establishment of gender policies. “By destroying the independence of the women’s movement through cooption and coercion, both secular and Islamic states aimed to protect the nation...from the negative side effects of women’s social emancipation” (p. 358).

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Religious Ferment(ation)

by Karim El-Gawhary
published in MER211

Real saviors of the human race are rare. Although everyone remembers Noah and his ark, hardly anyone recalls that a humble beverage once saved the human race from eradication. Maybe that’s because the beer episode happened so long ago.

According to ancient Egyptian myth, the goddess Hathor decided to finish off the human race. she would have been successful, too, if not for the intervention of the god Ra, who ordered Sektet to mix beer with the mysterious dada fruit and some human blood. When Hathor arrived the next morning to wreak destruction, she found the land flooded with this tempting concoction. Unable to resist, she took one sip, and then another, eventually becoming so drunk that she no longer recognized human beings.

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Yemenis on Mars

The End of Mahjar (Diaspora)?

by Engseng Ho
published in MER211

Like other recent neo-nationalist mobilizations of diasporas, a Yemeni government-sponsored gathering of émigrés this May sought to harness the newly perceived wealth and influence of Yemen’s diaspora towards national ends. Ethnic mobilization of émigré capital is nothing new. Early this century, Japan, understanding its weakness as an insufficient financial and colonial presence in transnational space, actively promoted emigration and remittances. The combination of an expanded concept of economic space and a restrictive concept of ethno-national political identity was considered key to catching up with developed Western powers.

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Migration, Modernity and Islam in Rural Sudan

by Victoria Bernal
published in MER211

For the villagers of Wad al-Abbas in northern Sudan, transnational migration has generated new understandings of what it means to be a Muslim. From the mid-1970s through the 1980s, Wad al-Abbas’s incorporation into the global economy was mediated primarily by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi kingdom exerted influence on Sudan at the national level by pressuring then-President Numeiri to institute shari‘a law in 1983 and funding opposition groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. At the same time, Saudi Arabia attracted ordinary Sudanese from all walks of life as labor migrants. Villagers from Wad al-Abbas found work in Saudi Arabia as truck drivers, electricians, factory workers and sales clerks.

"The Temptation of Democracy"

A Conversation with Morad Saghafi

by Kaveh Ehsani
published in MER212

Launched in 1992, Goft-o-Gu (Dialogue) aimed to open channels of constructive dialogue between Iran’s disparate political and intellectual currents. Given the highly polarized and repressive atmosphere at the time, Goft-o-Gu’s publication was a strikingly bold move. The journal discussed issues that have since become the mainstay of the reform movement in Iran: civil society, reformism, regional and ethnic aspirations, the role of the media, Occidentalism, women, youth, modernity, democracy and the city, among others.