Transformation of Friday sermons in an era of nationalism: functionalization of religion in Turkey and the Netherlands, now and in a challenged future

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Since the 1980s, Turkey has been in the business of introducing Islamisation
policies and, in pursuit of these policies, uses Friday khutbas (sermons) to convey the government's ideas and interpretations of Islam - as well as those of the Turkish religious authorities - to the wider public. The main purpose of this article is to analyse the changing discourse of the Self and the Other in Friday sermons written by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (PRA) and the Islamic Foundation Netherlands (ISN) since 2002. In this research project, discourse analysis and content analysis complement each other. This approach yields both quantitative and qualitative descriptions of the research subject. Texts on the homepages and the archives of the PRA and ISN were examined. The claim is substantiated that the ethos and the institutional culture of the PRA have evolved and developed over the past 15 years. During this time frame, the content and language of Friday sermons on religious and ethnic minorities passed through three stages: successively (1) plurality, (2) superiority and (3) polarization and suppression. The study reveals that the weekly Friday
sermons have been intensively modified over the past 5 years to announce the government's commitment to safeguard the integrity of Sunni Islam, to monopolize the Turkish interpretation of Islam, and to establish the collective mistreatment of Muslim minority groups. The article concludes that the growing nationalist and authoritarian tendencies in Turkey functionalize the informal religious education given by the PRA, which is used to propagate ultra-nationalist ideologies, as has been the policy during certain time intervals since the founding of this institution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Education on the Move - Challenging the Unknown Future of RE
EditorsIna ter Avest, Cok Bakker, Julia Ipgrave, Silke Leonhard, Peter Schreiner
PublisherWaxmann
Pages223
Number of pages243
Volume41
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

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