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Here are some interesting news stories involving law and religion from the past week:

“Muslim Students, Education and Neoliberalism” (Haywood & Mac an Ghaill, eds.)

This month, Palgrave Macmillan releases “Muslim Students, Education and Neoliberalism: Schooling a ‘Suspect Community,'” edited by Máirtín Mac an Ghaill (Newman University) and Chris Haywood (Newcastle University).  The publisher’s description follows:

This edited collection brings together international leading scholars to explore why the education of Muslim students is globally associated with radicalisation, Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 8.35.21 PMextremism and securitisation. The chapters address a wide range of topics, including neoliberal education policy and globalization; faith-based communities and Islamophobia; social mobility and inequality; securitisation and counter terrorism; and shifting youth representations. Educational sectors from a wide range of national settings are discussed, including the US, China, Turkey, Canada, Germany and the UK; this international focus enables comparative insights into emerging identities and subjectivities among young Muslim men and women across different educational institutions, and introduces the reader to the global diversity of a new generation of Muslim students who are creatively engaging with a rapidly changing twenty-first century education system.  The book will appeal to those with an interest in race/ethnicity, Islamophobia, faith and multiculturalism, identity, and broader questions of education and social and global change.

Mercan, “‘No Return from Democracy'”

In May, Blue Dome Press will release the paperback edition of “No Return from Democracy”: An Analysis of Interviews with Fethullah Gülen by Faruk Mercan, a Turkish journalist. The publisher’s description follows:

No return from demo.jpgIt was rare, if not impossible, to find in ’80s and ’90s a Muslim cleric who spoke in favor of democracy, integration with the Western world, and universal human values. Fethullah Gülen was one of those. Many of his avant-garde ideas did not only earn him one of the largest and most influential faith-inspired social movements of recent history, but also many foes, especially from the Turkish ruling elite, placing him in the center of many social and political developments in Turkey. Despite the enormous defamation from some political groups in Turkey, Gülen is recognized in the world as a devout Muslim cleric, whose thoughts and life style are deeply rooted in the Islamic faith, but who also believes Islam is not in conflict with the progressive values of the modern world. This book collates Gülen’s ahead-of-his-time comments on some of the debated issues as he phrased in interviews in the past few decades.

Kaya, “Secularism and State Religion in Modern Turkey”

In May, I.B. Tauris Publishers will release Secularism and State Religion in Modern Turkey: Law, Policy-Making and the Diyanet by Emir Kaya (Yildirim Beyazit University). The publisher’s description follows:

ibtauris_logoThe Diyanet is the ‘Presidency of Religious Affairs’, the official face of Islam and highest religious authority in Turkey, and is a governmental department established in 1924 after the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. In this book, Emir Kaya offers an in-depth multidisciplinary analysis of this vital institution. Focusing on the role of the Diyanet in society, Kaya explores the balance the institution has to strike between the Islamic traditions of the Turkish population and the officially secular creed of the Turkish state. By examining the various laws that either bolstered or hindered the Diyanet’s budgets and activities, Kaya highlights the institutional mindsets of the Diyanet membership as well as evaluating its successes and failures as a governmental department that has to consistently operate within the context of the religiosity of Turkish society. By situating all of this within the context of the two competing but often complimentary concepts of religion and secularism, Kaya offers a book that is important for those researching the role of religion and the state in society in the Middle East and beyond.”

Bardakci et al., “Religious Minorities in Turkey”

In February, Palgrave Macmillan will release Religious Minorities in Turkey: Alevi, Armenians, and Syriacs and the Struggle to Desecuritize Religious Freedom by Mehmet Bardakci (Yeni Yüzyıl University), Annette Freyberg-Inan (University of Amsterdam), Christoph Giesel (University of Jena), and Olaf Leisse (Friedrich Schiller University Jena). The publisher’s description follows:

minorities-in-turkeyThis book considers the key issue of Turkey’s treatment of minorities in relation to its complex paths of both European integration and domestic and international reorientation. The expectations of Turkey’s EU and other international counterparts, as well as important domestic demands, have pushed Turkey to broaden the rights of religious and other minorities. More recently a turn towards autocratic government is rolling back some earlier achievements. This book shows how these broader processes affect the lives of three important religious groups in Turkey: the Alevi as a large Muslim community and the Christian communities of Armenians and Syriacs. Drawing on a wealth of original data and extensive fieldwork, the authors compare and explain improvements, set-backs, and lingering concerns for Turkey’s religious minorities and identify important challenges for Turkey’s future democratic development and European path. The book will appeal to students and scholars in the fields of minority politics, contemporary Turkish politics, and religion and politics.

Yildirim, “The Collective Dimension of Freedom of Religion”

In January, Routledge will release The Collective Dimension of Freedom of Religion: A Case Study on Turkey by Mine Yildirim (Norwegian Helsinki Committee Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey). The publisher’s description follows:

collective-dimension-of-freedom-of-religionThe right to freedom of religion or belief, as enshrined in international human rights documents, is unique in its formulation in that it provides protection for the enjoyment of the rights “in community with others”. This book explores the notion of the collective dimension of freedom of religion or belief with a view to advance the protection of this right.

The book considers Turkey which provides a useful test case where both the domestic legislation can be assessed against international standards, while at the same time lessons can be drawn for the improvement of the standard of international review of the protection of the collective dimension of freedom of religion or belief. The book asks two main questions: what is the scope and nature of protection afforded to the collective dimension of freedom of religion or belief in international law, and, secondly, how does the protection of the collective dimension of freedom of religion or belief in Turkey compare and contrast to international standards? In doing so it seeks to identify how the standard of international review of the collective dimension of freedom of religion can be improved.

Abbas, “Contemporary Turkey in Conflict”

In December, Edinburgh University Press will release Contemporary Turkey in Conflict: Ethnicity, Islam, and Politics by Tahir Abbas (Royal United Services Institute). The publisher’s description follows:

contemporary-turkeyNew perspectives on ethnic relations, Islam and neoliberalism have emerged in Turkey since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002. Placing the period within its historical and contemporary context, Tahir Abbas argues that what it is to be ethnically, religiously and culturally Turkish has been transformed. He explores how issues of political trust, social capital and intolerance towards minorities have characterised Turkey in the early years of the 21st-century. He shows how a radical neoliberal economic and conservative outlook has materialised, leading to a clash over the religious, political and cultural direction of Turkey. These conflicts are defining the future of the nation.

Pelham, “Holy Lands”

This month, Columbia Global Reports released “Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East,” by Nicholas Pelham. The publisher’s description follows:

How did the world’s most tolerant region become the least harmonious place on the planet?

The headlines from the Middle East these days are bad, characterized by violence, 51ykklyeumlterror, and autocracy. Whatever hopes people may have for the region are being dashed over and over, in country after country. Nicolas Pelham, the veteran Middle East correspondent for The Economist, has witnessed much of the tragedy, but in Holy Lands he presents a strikingly original and startlingly optimistic argument.

The Middle East was notably more tolerant than Western Europe during the nineteenth century because the Ottoman Empire permitted a high degree of religious pluralism and self-determination within its vast borders. European powers broke up the empire and tried to turn it into a collection of secular nation-states—a spectacular failure. Rulers turned religion into a force for nationalism, and the result has been ever increasing sectarian violence. The only solution, Pelham argues, is to accept the Middle East for the deeply religious region it is, and try to revive its venerable tradition of pluralism.

Holy Lands is a work of vivid reportage—from Turkey and Iraq, Israel and Palestine, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, Dubai and Jordan—that is animated by a big idea. It makes a region that is all too familiar from news reports feel fresh.

To hear more about this book from the author himself, click here to listen to a podcast from The Economist Radio.

Bedlek, “Imagined Communities in Greece and Turkey”

In December, I.B. Tauris published “Imagined Communities in Greece and Turkey: Trauma and the Population Exchanges under Ataturk,” edited by Emine Yesim Bedlek (Bingol University).  The publisher’s description follows:

In 1923 the Turkish government, under its new leader Kemal Ataturk, signed a renegotiated Balkan Wars treaty with the major powers of the day and Greece. This9781784531270 treaty provided for the forced exchange of 1.3 million Christians from Anatolia to Greece, in return for 30,000 Greek Muslims. The mass migration that ensued was a humanitarian catastrophe – of the 1.3 million Christians relocated it is estimated only 150,000 were successfully integrated into the Greek state. Furthermore, because the treaty was ethnicity-blind, tens of thousands of Muslim Greeks (ethnically and linguistically) were forced into Turkey against their will. Both the Greek and Turkish leadership saw this exchange as crucial to the state-strengthening projects both powers were engaged in after the First World War. Here, Emine Bedlek approaches this enormous shift in national thinking through literary texts – addressing the themes of loss, identity, memory and trauma which both populations experienced. The result is a new understanding of the tensions between religious and ethnic identity in modern Turkey.

“Living in the Ottoman Realm” (eds. Isom-Verhaaren & Schull)

In January, the Indiana University Press will release “Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries,” edited by Christine Isom-Verhaaren (Brigham Young University) and Kent F. Schull (SUNY Binghamton).  The publisher’s description follows:

Living in the Ottoman Realm brings the Ottoman Empire to life in all of its ethnic, religious, linguistic, and geographic diversity. The 9780253019431_medcontributors explore the development and transformation of identity over the long span of the empire’s existence. They offer engaging accounts of individuals, groups, and communities by drawing on a rich array of primary sources, some available in English translation for the first time. These materials are examined with new methodological approaches to gain a deeper understanding of what it meant to be Ottoman. Designed for use as a course text, each chapter includes study questions and suggestions for further reading.

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