There are no signs that the Syrian conflict would end soon, and even if it did Syria would be a devastated country and an inhospitable environment. It is crucial for Turks and Syrians in Turkey to deepen each other understanding. This paper reminds us that the Syrian identity is a complex one marked by diversity, and it is rooted in the culture of the Levant permeated with Islam as a civilizational reality. This identity is both cosmopolitan and conservative. Syria relishes in ethnic diversity of small groups, but it was the mainstream that formed this country’s basis of cultural legitimacy. Nevertheless, the experiences of Syrians in Turkey differ markedly among their different sociocultural groups, and Turkish policies have no choice but to grabble with such complexity. Fortunately, unlocking the secrets of the Syrian cultural groupings is attainable as there is a significant common ground between Syrians and Turks at the level of values and norms. This paper presents a model that discusses cultural configurations and structural alignments that underlie the integration process of Syrians.
Eid and the Friendly Employer
I need to take one day off to observe my religious holiday.
Sure, no problem.
Is that the one you call Eid?
Does the word have a meaning?
When does your Eid fall?
Thursday or Friday.
Oh! You have the choice of two days. I like the flexibility of your religion.
Alternative Concepts for Explaining the Sunni-Shii Friction, by Mazen Hashem
The essay starts with commenting on three fault lines that trigger frictions between Sunnis and Shiis: the fiqhi line, the mental image of history, and folkways differences. The popular explanation of the Sunni-Shii friction is that it is a matter of sectarian religious difference. This essay offers an alternative explanation, arguing that the friction could be adequately understood from a perspective that analyzes majority-minority dynamics. The essay concludes with pointing to the ample common ground between Sunnis and Shiis at the level of values and ultimate socioeconomic aims.
The tenuous position of Muslim minorities in Muslim majority countries is often overlooked because of presumed normalcy. This paper analyzes the dynamics of Muslim minorities along four macro factors: First, structural determinants, such as geography, spatial concentration, and the size of the minority, which constitute the material resource repertoire of the minority. Second, geopolitics and inherited colonial policies, which represent the boundaries of possible future development within the region. Third, minority accumulated grievances, including economic deprivation and political disfranchisement, which function as the fuel that justifies counter-majority collective action. Forth, cultural distinctiveness as it constructs the foreignness of the minority. The paper also discusses the nature of the ideological framework within which the minority articulates its demands, which determines its national leadership potential in the global context. Along this analytical map, the paper charts the expected future outcomes of three main Muslim minorities: the Kurds of Iraq, the Darfurians of Sudan, the, and the Amazigh of Algeria. Using the Boolean logic of comparison, the paper argues that the case of the Iraqi Kurds is the most conducive to a new political arrangement as all of the four conditions are strongly present. The case of Darfur is volatile as it takes contradictory positions on the stated dimensions, and where structural conduciveness is high and tribal conflict heightens grievances on all sides. The case of the Amazigh is muted although it has the potential of surprising escalation with shifts in geopolitics or structural conduciveness.