Islamism and Modernism
The Changing Discourse in Iran
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of Texas Press
Series: CMES Modern Middle East Series
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Preface and Acknowledgments
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This book narrates the story of the Islamic movement in Iran, a framework of thought and action that began as an alternative to a century of modernization. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Iranians had succeeded in ushering in a genuine “Iranian modernity,” in the form of a constitutional polity. Then Iran became hostage to the “Age of Imperialism” (Hobsbawm 1987) as the Middle East became the most “penetrated region” (Brown 1984) in the world. ...
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On February 1, 1979, an Air France Boeing 747 carrying Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini landed at Tehran’s international airport. After fifteen years of exile in Turkey, Iraq, and France, he was arriving as the leader of an ongoing revolution. From the airport he went directly to the cemetery where the martyrs of the revolution were buried, and declared: “I will appoint a government, I will crush the present government.” ...
One. The First Generation: The Politics of Revival, 1920s–1960s
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The year 1921 was a decisive one for the Iranian polity. In February, an officer of a Cossack brigade, Reza Khan Mir-Panj, spearheaded a military coup and changed the face of politics in Iran. In March, a clergyman, Sheikh Abdolkarim Ha᾽eri Yazdi (d. 1937), moved to Qom and changed the religious life of Shi῾ism. The first event became instrumental in turning the traditional state into a socially “baseless” state; that is, an attempt was made to Westernize Iran by introducing many modernist ...
Two. The Second Generation: The Politics of Revolution, 1963–1991
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In 1971 the shah celebrated the 2,500th anniversary of the monarchi-cal system in Iran. In the same year, Khomeini announced that there was a contradiction between Islam and kingship: “It is reported that the prophet considered the title ‘king of kings’ (malak al-muluk) the most hated phrase” (Khomeini 1361/1982, 2:359). Note that the title “king of kings” was one of the titles of the last Pahlavi king. Moreover, Khomeini claimed that it was the religious duty of the clergy to rise ...
Three. The Third Generation: The Politics of Islamism, 1989–1997
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“The Spirit of God joined the celestial domain”: that was how Iranian radio broke the news of Khomeini’s death on Sunday, June 3, 1989. Th e announcer eloquently played with words: Khomeini’s first name, “Ruhollah,” means “the Spirit of God.” Dealing with Khomeini’s death proved much more challenging than had been originally assumed. ...
Four. The Fourth Generation: The Politics of Restoration, 1997–2005
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In late 1987, an official at the Institute for Political and International Studies, a think tank, asked me to help organize a conference on the ongoing Iran-Iraq War. When I agreed, I was invited to a meeting with a group of Iranian officials who were different from any I had encountered in various revolutionary institutions or in the public sphere. They were sophisticated and well versed in the intricacies of the international system. ...
Conclusion. The Politics of Oscillation
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On September 14, 2005, the newly elected president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations. When he returned to Iran, he reported to his religious mentor, Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, that when he “began with the words ‘in the name of God,’” he saw that he became “surrounded by a light until the end [of the speech].” ...
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Page Count: 292
Illustrations: 1 figure, 6 tables
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: CMES Modern Middle East Series