Saturday, May 17, 2014

Co-IRIS panels at the 13th METU Conference on International Relations

The METU Conference on International Relations, one of the oldest annual conferences in Turkey on international relations, will be held between 25-27 June 2014, marking its 13th year. This year’s conference will occasion the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of International Relations at METU. The Conference takes pride in annually bringing together scholars from all around the world to exchange views. The confirmed speakers for this year’s conference include Emeritus Professor Barry Buzan (London School of Economics and Political Science), Professor Andrew Linklater (Woodrow Wilson Chair, Aberystwyth University) and Professor Yongjin Zhang (University of Bristol).

This is a 2-part panel of Co-IRIS (International Relations and Islamic Studies Research Cohort). Co-IRIS is an organization interested in the advancement of comparative research between International Relations (IR) and Islamic Studies (IS). It is created by a group of researchers interested in developing and sustaining a body of knowledge that addresses theories and practices of the Muslim civilization and of Muslim societies with regards to international affairs and to the discipline of International Relations. Co-IRIS is premised on the idea that knowledge is fluid: peoples adopt and utilize thoughts and ideas regardless of faith, gender, nation, etc. Islam is enormously important today in both international and national domestic politics, but contemporary political Islam cannot be understood without an awareness of its roots and relations to paradigms of IR. Yet, little attention has been paid to the way its ideas originated and how they developed.
This panel offers comparative studies of IR and Islamic notions on nation-state, sovereignty, democracy, foreign policy analysis, war, and radicalization in international affairs. Panelists take the same approach as scholars usually do for International Relations and Islamic Studies, examining the mentality, cultural milieu, and political background of thinkers and statesmen by covering relationships of selected concepts and notions in comparing theoretical and practical aspects between IR and IS.

Chair:                          Nassef Manabilang Adiong, Co-founder of Co-IRIS
Discussant:                 TBA

1st Presenter:                Asst. Prof. Dr. M. Mohibul Haque[1], Aligarh Muslim University, India
Title:                              Beyond the Paradigm of Nation-State System: Perspectives on Islam and International Relations
Abstract:                      Since its inception the normative value of Islam in structuring or restructuring of the Muslim societies cannot be underestimated. In fact Islam claims to provide an elaborate framework of governance and conduct of foreign relations. This framework is all comprehensive and encompasses all walks of life, i.e., social, political, economic and cultural. However, this framework needs to be understood and analyzed in a different paradigm. Application of modern political theories, approaches, and methodologies for understanding the interface of Islam and international relations will be quite misleading. Therefore, a completely new or at least a different paradigm is needed to understand this interface. The paper is a modest attempt to delve into the problems of understanding international relations conducted by Muslim societies with the help of contemporary political theory which is state-centric. It seeks to examine the following issues:
- The limitations of the contemporary political theory in understanding the political institutions created and promoted by Islam.
- The political institutions constructed and the political ethics promoted by Islam cannot be understood in isolation from their epistemological and historical root.
- Neither the idealism nor the realism of contemporary international relations is in complete harmony with the politico-religious values and milieus of Islam.
- The implications of a religious approach to politics and political approach to religion.
- The simultaneous processes of Islaimization of politics and politicization of Islam and their implications for international relations in the backdrop of domestic compulsions they create.
- Contemporary globalization versus Islamic universalization.  

2nd Presenter:                 Abdalhadi M. Alijla[2], PhD Candidate at State University of Milan in Italy
Title:                                Islam and International Relations: A Comparative Study on Sovereignty
Abstract:                      Most of academic studies of Islam and Islamic theology have not examined the concept of sovereignty in Islam from a global point of view.  Giving the fact that academic study on sovereignty is undergoing a mini-renaissance where scholars are returning to the basic concepts of it around late 1980 and early 1990s. This paper focuses on comparing the concepts of sovereignty in Islam, putting it in an international framework within the reference to the recent uprisings in the Middle East. The paper discusses the fundamental nature of sovereignty in Islam and the different International Relations theories. It will review the classical perspective on sovereignty and comparing them to Islam’s view of sovereignty. Moreover, this paper will discuss the new works on the problematic nature of state’s sovereignty in Islam. 
The principal theme throughout the paper is that sovereignty in Islam is marked by far from being religious-based. There is a difference between how Islam paved the way to a civil state and how Islamic shticks perceive and interpret Quran and Hadith for political reasons.  This paper pays special attention to the recent attempts to reconcile divine and popular sovereignty. It also examines the strong attempts to institutionalize the divine sovereignty by modern Muslim countries. 
The popular uprisings that came to be called “The Arab Spring” have brought the question of sovereignty of the people and legitimacy of the ruler to the surface. It also forces the political Islam parties to account for their visions on sovereignty and authority in the public sphere. This paper argues that concept of God’s sovereignty and nations have become a religious issue that the public would like to put it aside. The question this paper concludes with is which concept of sovereignty Muslims society would accept to bridge what their traditions, Islam and modern societies needed to advance socially and economically. It concludes that Islam and the concept of nation have no great influence on national contexts.

3rd Presenter:                Yusuf Sayın[3], Editor of Strategic Outlook and PhD Candidate in IR at Selcuk University
Title:                               Foreign Policy Analysis in Islam and International Relations
Abstract:                      The relation of religion to International Relations is usually seen as a Western construct patterned through the historicity of Christianity in Western Europe. Thus, the historical patterns of other religions, particularly Islam, has been untowardly ignored or not given equal attention by IR scholars focusing on comparative studies between religion and IR. Generally, case studies are concentrated on foreign policy analysis and its impact of state and non-state actors with strong religious affinities. Consequently, religious influences in analyzing foreign policy oftentimes extend in both dimensions and angles, and are clear-cut and evidentiary due to an irrefutable reality of complicated structure of the nature of international politics. The paper seeks to present contemporary findings of Islamic contributions assisted by Islamic jurisprudence and law in foreign policy analysis including selected religious actors in the international system of the Muslim world.

4th Presenter:                Waleed Ali, MA[4], Bradfrod University, UK
Title:                                Islam and Democracy are they Compatible?
Abstract:                      France president François Holland (2013), stated in his speech in Tunisia that ‘Islam and democracy are compatible’ and France will support the result of the democratic election (Holland, 2013). Both concepts seemed to be twinning framework not in conflict as it has been claimed for decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, vacuum power was left to be completed. The United States was and still the unique hegemonic power in the world. In order to keep it self interest the US has decided to create a fake enemy which in this case was Islam and Islamic world. The media focus on how Muslim and Islam are anti western, anti-modernity, anti-civilization and liberty that has created a mess and increased the world conflict. The word terrorism was combined with Islam, fundamentalism and rejectionist was the daily life description of orthodox Muslims.
Thinkers, scholars and policy makers started to write about violence and Islam as tool to create a new academic framework to understand the Islamic movement. The gap of research about the full project of Islam and political Islam was left behind and neglected. The post 9/11 came to encourage this debate and the US used it to carry a global attack on what so call “the War on Terror”. The war on Afghanistan, Iraq and then the intervention in Libya were encouraged under the name of democratization of Middle-East. However, looking at the fundamental mean for both Islam and democracy, there are few differences. Both concepts are seeking the same thing which the human freedom from any servitude. Islam and democracy could be explained differently but at the end they are as twin concepts.
In the current world, there are around 850 million Muslims are living and enjoying democracy including, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia and to some extent Iran. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned that Muslims are able to rule countries under democracy. This paper will highlight the current debate around Islam and democracy and explore the common ground, focus and fundamental goals for both concepts. It will give examples around the world on how those tow concepts are interacting and functioning long side with each other. It will also show the increased violence and terrorist attack as a lack of democracy not the contrary.          

5th Presenter:                   Tareq Sharawi[5], PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul
Title:                                 Comparative Analogy of War between Classical Islamicists and Hedley Bull
Abstract:                      War, according to Hedley Bull, is presented as organized violence waged between political entities. This position, rightfully accepted in essence and meaning, presupposes that the interrelated ends of war are both political entities. In modern times, one could argue, these political entities are represented by states. In the Islamic discourse, however, war has traditionally been linked with the body of the Muslim community, the Ummah, as an entity. But the notion that the concept of war in Islam should necessarily be tied to a political entity has caused some confusion; certainly, groups who seem to lack proper political organization are conducting violence against groups far from political entities while giving the description of 'war' to their acts. In this paper, I will base my discussion on classical Islamic texts and historical pointers from the Medina period of the birth of Islam to argue that the concept of war in Islam does not escape Bull's presentation. I will humbly try to draw from the historical insights a coherent understanding of the link between war, the Ummah as an organized political entity, and perhaps, the modern nation-state.   

Chair:                          Nassef Manabilang Adiong, Co-founder of Co-IRIS
Discussant:                 TBA

1st Presenter:              Fadi Zatari[6], PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul
Title:                           The Utilization of ‘Jihad’ and ‘Hudna’ as tools of Foreign Policy by Hamas towards Israel
Abstract:                    The Islamic movement of Hamas-controlled Palestine historically traces its roots from the Muslim Brotherhood, which was established in 1928 as the first Islamic movement in Egypt. The study aims to fulfill research gaps and look for alternative approaches to the analysis of the Hamas’ conception of Jihad and Hudna (truce), i.e., studying the Hamas charter, leaflets, and other disseminated informative sheets. Hamas uses the concept of ‘Hudna’ or truce, not directly meant for peace, for subsequent reasons. Firstly, it is possible to achieve ceasefire with Israel through Hudna without recognizing the ‘state of Israel’. Hence it is a legitimate theological concept since Prophet Mohammed signed Hudna (truce) with the people of Quraish in Mecca. Secondly, it includes limited duration of ceasefire so that Hamas will not concede for an indefinite truce. Therefore, this paper argues for further comprehension and research of Jihad and Hudna under the perspective of Hamas and their process of utilizations as tools of foreign policies towards Israel.

2nd Presenters:            Mehmet Ali Mert[7] and Cenay Babaoğlu[8], PhD students at Hacettepe University in Ankara
Title:                            The Impact of Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) to Turkish Foreign Policy as an International Political Actor
Abstract:                      International relations originally covered simply the relations between states and non-state actors were given a secondary status. But political and economic liberalization, technological transformation and particularly the effect of globalization challenged this approach and triggered governance (Benner, Reinicke and Witte, 2003: 18). Thisprocess pave way to the strengthening of international actors as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs similar to state, operates in a variety of global policy including participation in diplomacy. This process indicates new types of corporatism and the growing strength of the third sector. The growing role and influence of NGOs in national or international area, non-states actors have become important political actors in the global society. Detomasi (2007: 325) lists the stakeholders of the global governance in four levels: private sector, nation-state, international organizations and NGOs. From this point of view, a civil society organization is going to be examined as a case study in the context of its impact on Turkish foreign policy in the last decade.
The growth number of NGOs, the scale of their activities, and the complexity of their transactions has had a major political impact. So international politics and diplomacy are not limited to Turkish government. IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation as an Islamic based institution can be considered as an effective actor in Turkish policy, both in national and international level without restricting its activities to a particular group, nationality, or country. IHH was set up to deliver humanitarian aid as a voluntary organization. Activities of the foundation began in 1992 and were institutionalized in 1995. IHH has reached out to 136 countries and regions in five continents and prioritizes at war-hit and post-war regions, disaster zones, impoverished countries and regions. IHH’s activities in international crisis areas and taking initiatives in human diplomacy such as Mavi Marmara flotilla aid campaign for breaking an Israeli blockade on Gaza, interference to internal conflict against minority Muslims in Arakan, taking active role in prisoner swap and as a mediator in releasing journalists in Syria, raised its influence on Turkish foreign policy.
Therefore, the foreign policy of Turkey cannot be understood without knowing role of the civil organizations like IHH. Turkish foreign policy and diplomacy does not operate on some separate planet, cut off from such civil organizations. So, in this research IHH’s role on Turkish foreign policy and diplomacy will be examined in the context of NGOs influence on state policies.
Benner, Thorsten; H. Reinicke, Wolfgang ve Martin, Jan Witte (2003). “Global Public Policy Networks: Lessons Learned and Challenges”, The Brookings Review, 21(2), s. 18-21.
Detomasi, David Antony  (2007). “The Multinational Corporation and Global Governance: Modelling Global Public Policy Networks”, Journal of Business Ethics, 71, s. 321–334.
Espinosa, Roberto Moreno (2011). “Governance and Public Administration: Opportunities in Mexico According to the Experience of the United States”, Journal of US-China Public Administration, 8(5), s.555-562.

3rd Presenter:               Benjamin Maiangwa[9], MSc Candidate in Sustainability at the United Nations University in Japan
Title:                              Between Political Islam and Religious Radicalization: Towards a Nuanced Understanding of Boko Haram Terrorism in Nigeria
Abstract:                      In Nigeria, Boko Haram has been linked with thousands of deaths since the group’s first violent uprising in 2009, especially in the north-eastern part of the country, which remains its bastion. The sect has routinely attacked such institutions as the police, the army, immigration offices, prisons, Churches, Mosques, schools, and media houses, inflicting deaths and mayhem in its wake. It has declared a goal of purifying Islam of its alleged Western corruptive influences as well as turning Nigeria, a country of ethnic and religious diversity, into an Islamic state. Boko Haram has also evolved, including a splinter faction named Ansaru, from its origins as a largely Kanuri tribal-based militant group. This has significant implications regarding the ‘globalized’ and ‘local’ contexts questions surrounding the crisis in Nigeria. It may actually be impossible to speak of a single ‘Boko Haram’ entity given that there are significant divisions among the militants that Nigerian authorities are trying to label collectively as Boko Haram. Given this crisis, many scholars have attempted to explain the raison d’etre of the phenomenon and why it rebels. The common argument in the available literature is that Boko Haram is a symptom of governance challenges (as manifested in the endemic nature of corruption, long history of dictatorship, derelict institutions, widespread unemployment and poverty, and underdevelopment in Nigeria’s northern states). Admittedly, Boko Haram is in many ways expressive of governance challenges and underdevelopment in northern Nigeria. Additionally, the politicization of religion by self-interested and sinister actors in Nigeria also plays a role in the rise and radicalization of the sect as well as other bouts of religious violence that have dotted northern Nigeria since the Usman dan Fodio’s Jihad in the 19 century. Be that as it may, the submissions in the available literature do not adequately deal with the question: ‘Why has the militancy of Boko Haram taken on a particularly religious/political character?’ Are for example Nigerian Christians not equally frustrated with the governance situation in the country and if so, how are they responding to the challenges they face? Will for example a more peaceful and stable Nigeria result in the ‘death’ of Boko Haram?
In attempting to answer the foregoing questions, this study will reflect on whether there is a link between a more globalize ‘agenda’ by Islamic groups to establish theocratic states and Sharia based law in response to post-colonial/imperialist/neo-liberal world order and the aims of Boko Haram in the Nigerian context. In reflecting on this link, the study will also examine the context in which Boko Haram emerged and the processes that led to the transformation of its agenda from a benign ideologue into a weapon of violent jihad. This is important because the experience of most Nigerians has not led to a deep level of trust between the government and the governed, which in turn contributes to an environment in which Islamist militant ideologies resonate. Far more important is to understand why Boko Haram adopts violent means to achieve its objective by looking at, among other factors, the different strands of its belief system and what it says about the circumstances in which using violence is permitted or even obligatory. Indeed, without reference to beliefs, none of the other arguments provide sufficient explanation for Boko Haram radicalization or explain the tendency by youth in northern Nigeria to support and facilitate violence. 

[1] Dr. M. Mohibul Haque is currently an assistant professor at the department of political science at Aligarh Muslim University in India. He has written one book entitled “International Terrorism and Violence: A Human rights Perspective” published by Aligarh Muslim University Press in 2011. He also wrote the following refereed articles including “The UN in the Unipolar World” and “Appeasement of Muslims: Myth and Reality” both published in New Delhi in 2006 and 2009, respectively.
[2] Abdalhadi M. Alijla is a doctoral researcher at University of Milan. His PhD project "Post-conflict city governance" examines how contested power affects public administration and public policy making in post-conflict times. Besides being a fellow, Abdalhadi is coordinating research activities at IMESC. During his fellowship at the Institute for Middle East Studies- Canada, Abdalhadi will conduct research on the Arab Spring and its consequences on the Palestinians. He is the Regional Manager of Varieties of Democracy Institute in Sweden for Gulf countries (  Abdalhadi holds a M.A. degree in Public Policy and Governance from Zeppelin University- Friedrichshafen, Germany. During his studies, Abdalhadi was awarded a two years DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship. Prior to his doctoral studies, Abdalhadi was involved in political research on volunteerism at United Nations Volunteers in Bonn, Germany. In 2010, he was a visiting researcher at ICCOM in Rome, Italy. He worked as a sessional lecturer at Alazhar University- Gaza. Abdalhadi is a fellow of Soliya network for dialogue and selected as a junior scientist at the 3oth Alternative Noble Prize by Right Livelihood College. He is DAAD fellow of Public Policy and Good Governance. Abdalhadi is the author of “Social Movement, Political Party or Armed Militia: Hamas as an informal institution". He writes on the Middle East frequently.
[3] Yusuf Sayın is the editor of Strategic Outlook and PhD candidate in International Relations. He earned his master’s program in IR from Selcuk University in 2011. His master thesis was on the role of religion in international relations and IR theories. He currently completes his PhD thesis regarding the relations between Turkey and Iran in the context of integration and unity under the model of Seljuk Empire. He has published several articles, reviews, and translation works. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and German. He also works as English-Turkish translator.
[4] Waleed Ali holds MA in Conflict, Security and Development from Bradford University in UK. Waleed is an Egyptian but currently based in Brussels, Belgium where he works with the GTZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit ‘Taiex Unit (European Commission-DG Enlargment). He mainly focuses his studies in peace and security studies including concentrations on human rights, gender equality, Islam and Muslim in the West, migration and development.
[5] Tareq Sharawi is a Jordanian PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Waqf University, Turkey. He received his Masters degree in International Relations from The University of Bristol, UK. His research interests include Religious Nationalism and political organization in classical Islamic traditions.
[6] Fadi Zatari is a Palestinian PhD student at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Waqf University, Turkey. In 2009 he received his first Masters degree in International Studies from the Birzeit University, and in 2013 his second Masters degree in Political Theory from the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.
[7] Mehmet Ali Mert is a research assistant in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University, Turkey. He obtained his BA in International Relations at Fatih University (Turkey) in 2006. He also continues his PhD studies at the same department. He works at some academic projects. His research interests include Islamic political thought, political science, Turkish and Middle East studies, state and religion.
[8] Cenay Babaoğlu is a research assistant in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University, Turkey. He also continues his PhD studies at the same department. His research interests include comparative and international public administration, Turkish administrative history, public policy analyses and ICT in public administration.
[9] Benjamin Maiangwa holds an M.A. Degree in Conflict Transformation and a B.A Honours in Political Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He also has a B.A degree in Philosophy from St Joseph’s Theological Institute, Cedara, South Africa. While studying in South Africa, Benjamin taught philosophy at St Joseph’s Theological Institute, Cedara. He has a certificate in Political Violence and Conflict from the Olympia Summer Academy, Greece. He was also awarded the St Gallen Wings of Excellence Award Certificate (SGWoEA) for his selection as one of the 100 qualifies who debated on issues of global relevance with world leaders at St Gallen, Switzerland in 2013. Benjamin is currently completing his second master’s degree in Sustainability, Development, and Peace at the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan. While at UNU-CRIS, Benjamin will be working under the supervision of professor Ademola Abass for the period of three months. His research and writing have focused on ethnoreligious and jihadist terrorism in Africa, ECOWAS security architecture, and resource conflict in Nigeria.

No comments:

Post a Comment