Research Proposal: Migrant Culture in Contemporary

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Migrant Culture in Contemporary Culture

One of the contemporary issues that one might find to be extremely controversial is represented by Islam and its status. I believe that the world started to pay more careful attention to Islam when the terrorist attacks upon the twin towers occurred in 2001.

It was at that point that besides being one of the most important religions in the world, Islam began to be perceived as a fundamentalist doctrine that presents a threat to all the civilisations which value elements contrary to its beliefs. Is Islam really a threat for western society? Let us take a look at the situation of Islam in two countries which are extremely different from a cultural and historical point-of-view, that is Turkey and Germany, while attempting to answer this question.

First and foremost it must be underlined that Islam is not only a religious doctrine, but a way of life. The writings from the sacred book, the Quran provide behaviour patterns that are meant to regulate not only the relation of the individual with the divine creator, but also the patterns of social behaviour. Its implications are very powerful and can be seen at political level as well. Turkey's case is a very interesting one because its past is strongly connected with Islam..

It is safe to say that, as far as Turkey is concerned, one of the elements which were of great importance during the process of modernization was represented by its attitude to religion. Under these circumstances, secularization becomes a key word. Starting with the abolition of the caliphate as part of Ataturk's reforms, passing through the Kemalist ideology and until the nowadays conceptions regarding the state and the nation, the breakaway from religion represented a positive decision for the Turkish people.

The truth is that the construction of the nation-state was based on a strong process of secularization. However, this did not imply the abolishment of religion. On the contrary, there have always been political characters who have tried to establish a connection between them and religion, knowing that this would bring them more popularity. Since the secular opposition was strong, the result was the polarization of society.

It is interesting to notice the fact that especially after the 1980s there was a strong rise of religious authorities which became an important opposition for the members of the intellectual elite that supported the Kemalist ideology (founded on secularism).

It is safe to state that Islam has a certain power in Turkey. The situation could be explained through the attempts that the religious supporters made in the eighties to link the economic crisis to the fact that religion was no longer the main leading principle in the country. They would in fact claim that a return to Islam would be the solution to all the problems that the Turkish people had to deal with.

The question is very complex. Religion was an important part of the cultural and political development of the state. It would be impossible to assume that Islam as a religion will stop being important in Turkey. But, what is the contemporary situation and is it possible for Islam to become a threat?

At the present time, the society is divided in two poles. On the one hand, there is the elite that claims Islam should not be an important factor at political level. This elite claims that reason is what ought to be at the basis of whatever norm regulates society and the state. The secular Turks believe in freedom and their view of society and politics is general is a rather pragmatic one.

The fact that the country underwent such a strong process of development while keeping itself far from the regulations that religions would have otherwise imposed is need a solid proof that the recipe worked. The revival of the Islamic popularity in the nineties however demonstrates that the Turkish society was undergoing a period of crisis.

Naturally, it is easier to believe that Allah will solve the financial crisis and make a better world for you instead of believing that the future is in your own hands. But, convincing people that the crisis underwent by society is to be blamed on the fact that the political authorities concentrated more on pure secular policies instead of following the writings of the prophet is actually an appeal to fear and ignorance.

The question is extremely complex because Islam is not a philosophy that can be ignored. It is far from being superficial. On the contrary, it is full of wise principles. The problem is to be found in the fact that religion and politics become one and the same thing in the case of Islam.

One of the consequences that we can not ignore is that since Allah is the almighty god that everyone should obey, it then results that this "everyone" is expanded beyond the geographical territory where Muslims are to be located. It is safe to assume that the Muslims will want to see their religion rule the world.

It could be argued that this is only normal. All the religious people, despite their religion, believe it to be the best. This is true. The difference lies is the fact that a Christian, a catholic or a Buddhist will not be crashing a plane into a building full of people in the name of his religion.

For Islam to rule the world as a religion it would directly imply that it would rule it politically as well. Leaving aside the idealistic and somewhat romantic perspective on things, it is more than safe to state that the interests one might have in power are always very pragmatic.

Power, whether military and/or financial is the element at stake. Naturally, having a religious cause as a supportive element makes it everything more idealistic and more noble. Unfortunately, the truth is there is nothing noble about wanting to impose your own values and beliefs upon the others, especially through the use of aggressive means.

The issue represented by the extent to which Islam is becoming a political force within the borders of Turkey has important consequences for the further political development of the country.

Turkey has expressed its desire to become part of the European union. Being part of the union naturally has numerous advantages, especially when talking about trade and finances. However, Europe is scared of the thought of integrating a country which is Muslim. Europe believes in freedom, in respecting the individual rights such as the one of religion and self-expression. If Europe is afraid of the consequences that integrating a Muslim country might have upon it, then it means that Islam is a problematic question in the sense that it opposes these principles of freedom and self-expression.

How is the situation in Turkey? As it has been stated before, the Turkish society is divided between those who support Islam and those who accept it as a religion but oppose it when it comes to considering it the engine for the political movement.

There are numerous people who consider that there is a strong opposition between modernity and Islam. From this point-of-view, Islam represents the past. The conflict arises from the tendency to assume that this past is entirely negative ad to always give it negative connotations while associating modernity with only positive aspects.

The truth is that the best view is a more moderate one. Modernization has brought numerous advantages and positive things to all societies, the Turkish one included. This does not mean that a country is supposed to deny or reject its own path. Embracing the past is a proof that there is a need for the re-affirmation of the past values on the one hand. On the other hand, it is a proof that modernity does not come with advantage sonly, but with disadvantages as well.

Globalization is the strongest movement taking place nowadays and involving the countries fro all over the world. Thanks to the technological developments, the borders of markets, trade and communication are practically being extinguished. This means the world is changing, becoming a sort of melting pot, where everything and everyone can have access to everything and everyone. The cultural contamination is therefore inevitable.

On the one hand, this is a positive things. Learning about the others, accepting their differences and taking elements that can enrich your own culture is an extremely positive thing. On the other hand, one could ask himself to what extent is this contamination positive taking into consideration the fact that it alters the original identity. Is there not a risk of forgetting who you really are and where you come from? Or is this contamination just a response to a real need for change and updating?

From this point-of-view, the revival of the popularity of the Islam movement can be considered an attempt to fight globalization and the contamination with elements from other cultures. Stating that Islam is the best religion in the world may be a statement… [END OF PREVIEW]

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