Islam in the 21st century
The article provides for a critical analysis of the state and the development of modern Islam studies. The author shares the idea of studying Islam from «within», that is by Muslims themselves who analyze it if from the perspective of faith, and from «outside», that is using methods and procedures of history, sociology, political studies, etc. Alexander Ignatenko states a considerable lag of Islam studies as regards changes and transformations taking place in Islam. The author of the article places the multiple unprofessional attempts to study and interpret Islam based on political and other demands into a separate category that, to his mind, falls beyond the scope of Islam studies. Apart from that, the article touches upon the problems of «construction of Islam», establishment of a «new Islam» (primarily in the CIS states with Muslim population) that was conducted using non-Islamic conceptual «blocks» and movements from the past social experience.
The situation in the Middle East is analyzed by the author mainly through the prism of regional problems and the conflict potential of the countries of the region. The work consistently studies real and potential knots of contradictions between Palestine and Israel, in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan. The article focuses on Maghreb states, Egypt, Arabian Peninsula, Turkey and Cyprus, as well as Sudan, the Horn of Africa countries and Islamic-African periphery. According to the author, the assessment of prospects should not disregard the interests of a number of states situated remotely from the region.
E.Satanovsky maintains that what is needed to solve Middle Eastern conflicts is a strategy intended for decades. However, modern political practice of the West, driving the «peace-keeping» to another election, forces to put forward initially unrealistic projects with a several-years time lag, such as the «road map» of the Israeli-Palestinian settlement.
The author analyzes to what extent the Islamic world as a whole and constituting it separate states are prepared for the challenges of globalization. The article ascertains that the Islamic world lacks many important components of post-industrial (and even industrial) development, as well as notes continuing failures of all the existing and those that have existed integration projects (even those comprising the closest countries of the Arab region). Nevertheless, the author is not inclined to unconditionally agree with the clich? regarding the feebleness and doom of the Islamic world and does not exclude searching the very structure of the Islamic world for the elements that would be adequate to the realities of post-industrial society and even the realities of post-modernism. Meanwhile, according to K.Truevtsev, only radical Islamist organizations world networks (being traditional in their basis) correspond to the criteria of globalization.
According to the author, the problems of globalization challenges cannot be considered without due account of the tendencies in the development of modern Islamic thought. For, the ideological factor has a specific meaning for the Muslim world where any serious changes and national-scale projects are assessed through the prism of initial principles of Islam. Moreover, they simply cannot succeed without Islamic substantiation.
The article studies the combination of Islamic traditions and Western standards and liberal values, which is characterized as rather controversial. Moreover, the controversies between Islamic and Western approaches are sometimes inevitable. For that reason, L.Syukiainen believes that conceptually it is important to distinctly see the limits of their mutual adaptation and especially alignment. However, the principal possibility to overcome their discrepancies remains, whereas the bounds of bringing together the positions of both sides are far from being achieved.
The author notes that during the recent decades the notion of theocracy has rather become the lot of historic political science. At the same time, political institutes and processes in many regions of the world do not allow to withdraw the «divine» from consideration, even though it is an important factor. Analyzing the Shiite model of theocracy, N.Kulyushin focuses primarily on the political features of Shiisme.
The article compares models of power in Shiite and Sunnite Islam and in detail considers the dynamics of the evolution of the latter. According to N.Kulyushin, its most important result was that in all its interpretations an ecclesiastic is viewed as a head of an ideal state. This circumstance on the whole stimulated the activity of Shiite clergy, especially at the time of crises.
The author focuses his attention on the link between world politics and world demography. It is through the prism of demographic processes that V.Belokrenitsky makes a historic review of the relations between Russia and the Islamic world. He also makes a corresponding analysis in terms of comparing demographic capabilities of Russian population in general, on the one hand, and its Muslim component, on the other. The article analyzes different scenarios (favourable and unfavourable ones) of demographic changes and situation in Russia.
Islamic World in its Regional and State Aspects.
The article studies the problems of compatibility between the Muslim world and democracy in its modern Western interpretation. The author attempts to answer a question whether democracy can develop on the basis of a Muslim culture and in a Muslim society, where Islamic moral and ethic norms, traditions and customs are a mode of life for the majority of population. For this end B.Dolgov analyzes social and political situations in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, where, on the one hand, the attempts to democratize national political systems were most consistent and, on the other hand, the Islamist movement revealed itself quite considerably.
According to the author, democracy – in its broad interpretation as a means of functioning of a social organism – will always correspond to special features of historic development, traditions, national psychology and mentality, as well as development of civil society, and cannot be the same for all ethnic groups.
The article places its main emphasis on consideration of changes in the model of development which happened and keep on happening in the country since the Islamic revolution of the late 1970s. The author points at the appearance of new articles in the Iranian Constitution, at the factual non-use of separate odious laws, at the shift of emphases in social and economic spheres. In recent years, according to S.Druzhilovsky, foreign policy priorities have also seriously changed. The policy of self-isolation and export of the «Islamic revolution» have been overcome, and there is demonstration of readiness to international economic integration and political dialogue.
The author of the article believes that the collapse of the Islamic regime in Iran in the foreseeable future is improbable. It turned out to be so stable, because it does not fear to reject the existing stereotypes if they hamper a successful development of the state.
The article notes the originality of Pakistan as a state that was established (during secession from India) on the basis of cultural and religious commonality. Islam in Pakistan encompasses literally all spheres of social life, including politics.
The work devotes a considerable attention to the processes of development of Islamic radicalism. According to the author, today, the dividing line in the Pakistani society does not run between the left and the right, liberals and conservatives, representatives of different confessions, etc., but in the Muslim community itself – between moderates and radicals. V.Moskalenko sees a particular danger in the forming union of Islamic fundamentalists and ethno-social parties – for instance, in the north-western parts of the country inhabited by Afghans.
The article analyzes the dynamics of religious situation in Azerbaijan. According to the author, by the end of the soviet period Islam has provoked the interest of Azerbaijanians only as part of their history and culture. In their majority they remained Muslims only by origin and were not very zealous in following religious rituals. After the Karabakh conflict and gaining independence, the Azerbaijanian society approved of the replacement of communist ideology by Islam. A.Yunusov distinguishes several stages of ideological development that passed through the years of independence that were characterized by constant change in the ratio of attractiveness of Islamism, Turkism and the values of Western democracy.
The author questions the prospects of political Islam in the country, which is especially topical against the background of the diminishing authority of pro-Western and pro-Russian political structures.
Muslims in the Countries With a Different Confessional Dominant.
The article makes a multi-vector analysis of Muslim minority in the modern India (12% of its population, or more than 130 million people in absolute figures). The author compares the positions of Muslim community with those of other groups of population, including in terms of employment in the state and military service. In his opinion, the disproportional presence of Muslims in social and political life is one of the serious problems for independent India. P.Topychkanov believes that partial political, social and economic, and psychological isolation of India’s Muslims influenced by internal and external factors still does not allow to unambiguously answer the question of the unity of the Indian nation.
The work makes a brief review of the numbers and structure of Muslim community in Russia, as well as its dynamics, including the one caused by external migration. According to G.Engelgardt, affiliation to an ethnic group historically professing Islam should be differentiated from the involvement of concrete persons in the religious practice.
The interview touches upon such issues as cultural compatibility of traditional European and Islamic values, possibilities of their conflict-free co-existence, spiritual crisis of the post-Christian West, and the phenomenon of «euro-Islam».
G.Pomerants believes that the malady of the modern West might lead to recovery, liberation from the feeling of superiority in relation to other civilizations and religions. It seems that the Muslim world will be under tension for another several decades, but sooner or later it will exhaust itself. In author’s opinion, the next great era will be that of external limitations. What is needed is the happy medium combining spiritual freedom and strict social discipline.
Islam and Western Europe: tendencies and their interpretation. Muslims in Europe: are there limits to integration? – Ed. by T.S.Kondratieva and I.S.Novozhenova. M.: INION RAN. 2008, in preparation for publishing.
Analyzing the manuscript of the book on Islamic ethnic minorities in Europe prepared by INION RAN, the author draws a specific attention to the new tendencies in their attitude to the European community, its norms and values. Among those primarily is the inclination of a considerable part of the second- and third-wave immigrants from Muslim states to isolate rather than adapt. Apart from that, it has become evident that external political problems are being transmitted to the new home countries to which they are not directly linked. The review analyzes as well one of the recent years’ obvious tendencies – the splash of Islamic radicalism and its cause.