An act of provocation? The “Innocence of Muslims” Film, and Its Political Consequences

An act of provocation? The “Innocence of Muslims” Film, and Its Political Consequences

by Javier Betancourt and Marianna Karakoulaki

Palestinians burn a U.S. flag during a protest against the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” near the United Nations office in Gaza City, Wednesday.
Source: New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/innocence-muslims-trailer-sparked-deadly-riots-libya-amp-egypt-inept-hateful-article-1.1157860#ixzz26Sp7MxAc

The low budget movie “Innocence of Muslims” has caused a major stir around the Islamic world. This low budget film presents half truths about prophet Mohamed in order to depict him as a paedophile, homosexual, criminal, and a murderous madman. However, a very interesting story is behind the production, which has sparkled violent protests around the Islamic world. The first issue that needs to be taken into consideration is the coincidence of this movie getting worldwide recognition at the 11th anniversary of the 09/11 terrorist attacks in the USA, despite the fact that the “movie” was released in July 2012[1]. Was it the filmmaker’s desire to cause a reaction of that extent? In order to understand the rationale behind the filmmaker’s rationale, we will examine two different issues, the relation of the director’s true identity to the release of the film in the first place, while in addition, we will look at the reaction of the USA toward the protests.

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Abortion and Women’s Rights in the USA

Abortion and Women’s Rights in the USA

By Marianna Karakoulaki

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Introduction*

1973 is marked as a very important year for women’s rights in the USA. It was that year that abortion became a constitutional right and was legalized on a federal level across the USA with the historical Supreme Court Decision Roe v. Wade. Since then, however, the conservative right and religious leaders across the states have been trying with every means they have to overthrow the decision. With every chance the republican controlled legislatures have, they change their state laws in order to make it more and more difficult for a woman to have an abortion or even take contraceptives. Especially this year, abortion and contraception in general became one of the most discussed issues on the agendas of the republican primaries due to the Birth Control Mandate that the Obama Administration tries to push forward.

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A Critical Review of Turkish Society

A Critical Review of Turkish Society

by Begum Burak

In Turkey, in my opinion, while discussing daily political and social issues, the most prominent conceptual confusion is seen in the difference between “conservative” and “pious”. When one talks about piety, what I simply understand is the performance of daily prayers (in Islam that is five times a day), fasting during the Holy month Ramadan…and so on. On the other hand, a conservative person may be politically conservative and vote for the right-wing parties while leading a traditional life in which family-related values dominate, but he/she may not perform the basic religious activities. However, in the Turkish case these two words “conservative” and “pious” are generally used interchangeably. For instance, the fact that a conservative person may vote for Islamist parties does not mean that it leads an Islamic way of life (which I see necessary in order to be a devout Muslim)

My argument in this article is that a pious person does not necessarily mean that this person is also (politically) conservative or vice versa. Another crucial point that is noteworthy here in leading us to understand the distinction between conservatism and piety is about the segments in the Turkish society. As known, there are two main segments in Turkey: one is the (ultra) Kemalist/Statist/Secularist[1] CHP voters (Republican People’s Party – the main opposition party in Turkey); and the other one is the segment consisting of Conservative/Economically and Politically liberal/Defending an Anglo-Saxon type of Secularism. (Mainly the AKP voters – the Justice and Development Party, the ruling party in Turkey since 2002). The first segment is called “white Turks” and they see themselves as “enlightened and modern”. Also they attach themselves to an interesting mission of “enlightening the society” which is (according to them) backward just because of the religion.

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