But then here, on another level, a question similar to that of the Christians above arises: when is human action deemed to veer away from this will of nature and the universe?
Posts Tagged ‘NGOs’
Given the close relationship, globally, between religious political action and religious charities, it should come as no surprise that there is a long tradition of cooperation between Islamist political parties and Islamic charitable organizations in Turkey. While this relationship has been the subject of considerable discussion in analyses of Turkish domestic politics, less noticed has been the savvy cooperation between the Turkish government and Turkish Islamic organizations in implementing the country’s increasingly assertive foreign policy under the ruling AKP, or Justice and Development Party. Two recent crises, the “Mavi Marmara” incident in 2010 and Turkey’s on-going aid mission to Libya, highlight the ways in which this cooperation has allowed Turkey to assert itself regionally and are suggestive of the sophistication of its efforts to become, in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s words, “a regional power and a global player.”
About eight months into my fieldwork, I began to have dreams about the morning disciplinary routines at OISCA’s training centers. I told a couple of staff about it, and they laughed, telling me that the routines, and perhaps OISCA, must finally be seeping into my body (mi ni shimitsuite kitanda). The morning routines at the training centers require a heightened awareness, and it’s not surprising that it takes time for it to leave one’s senses. . . . OISCA staff acknowledge that the training style is alien to most people. However, it is thought that repetition of the routines over the year will open people’s minds to understand what the trainings are about: how to work in harmony with others toward the goal of development. The saturation of repetitive bodily experiences is thought to draw the person out of one’s comfort zone, out of one’s self, and craft a sense of community bound by an awareness of each other and a shared commitment to disciplinary demands coming from a place external to everyone, including the staff. The discipline, in this view, circulates.
It is coincidental but telling that Emile Nakhleh’s post supporting U.S. “engagement” with Muslim communities appeared the same week as the disclosure of a new directive authorizing clandestine military operations in both friendly and unfriendly countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa. The Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order, signed September 30, 2009, by General David Petraeus, aims primarily to disrupt terrorist groups and to “prepare the environment” for armed assaults. Of particular relevance to the Chicago Council Report, the Execute Order reportedly calls for using, not only special forces, but also “foreign businesspeople, academics, or others,” to “identify militants and provide ‘persistent situational awareness,’ while forging ties to local indigenous groups.”
Alongside this and numerous other recent U.S. policies, the Chicago Council Report looks increasingly futile and, in key places, wrong-headed—even if, doubtless, well-intentioned.
I have been following the contributions and “debates” on The Immanent Frame in response to the Chicago Council report. My initial reaction to the ongoing exchanges is that a) the intense interest in the report seems to indicate it has something to say; b) some of the respondents seem to read their own ideological orientation into the report, rather than read what the report really says; and c) other respondents criticize the report for, in their view, advocating a specific ideological position on religious freedom, secularism, and religion in general. The report, in my judgment, offers a pragmatic policy approach to the growing influence of religious groups in the policy realm; it is not, nor does it purport to be, a theological treatise on religion, secularism (however defined), or religious freedom.
“The sound rose up and spread across the rooftops of the old city, a deep, guttural, Biblical sound—the sound of souls wailing by the thousands.” This is not a description of post-earthquake Haiti, but a piece of adrenaline-infused reporting from New Orleans after its Super Bowl victory. It trumpets faith in redemptive suffering, the fulfillment of victory over tragedy, the ability to forget, at least for a time, the horrors of Katrina’s destructive power and the propensity of visual spectacle to paper over differences in wealth, health, and opportunity. It also reminds us of the emotive and mysterious, if not primitive, force of religious imagery—guttural Biblicism and wailing souls.