Course work

1. How deeply has Al-Saud family penetrated Saudi society? Why does Gwenn Okruhlik think that the Islamist opposition has succeeded?

2. Compare the official religious institutions in Saudi Arabia or Egypt to western churches in terms of (a) religious authority and (b) relationship to the state.

3. Does chapter 7 help in understanding the current pro- democracy movements in the Arab world? (Hint: with the exception of Lebanon, the author presents Arab politics as a power struggle between authoritarian regimes and Islamists.)

4. How does the Muslim Brotherhood group compare to the ruling Christian Democrats in Germany?

5. Has chapter 7 followed the Jelen and Wilcox hypothesis? (Hint question: Would you say that the examination should begin by defining and describing the religious markets of the Arab world before exploring the relationship between the structures of those markets and evidence of religious politics in Arab states?

6. Friday is a day of congregational prayer in the Muslim world. In much of the Arab world today, Friday is also a day of protest–for freedom, citizenship rights, civil state, pluralist politics, and good governance. In Egypt and Tunisia today protesters are back to Tahrir Square and Qasaba, demanding speedy reforms. In Syria and Bahrain protesters exited mosques to rally against sectarianism. In Yemen they announced their own transitional government. In Libya they welcomed international assistance to end the rule of a military officer who turned the country into a fiefdom for his family. In Morocco, voters have just approved the king’s offer of constitutional amendments to reduce his powers. In Algeria discontent is rising and the regime is promising change. In Oman, the sultan has offered people jobs and money–along with the iron fist. In Jordan, the king is offering dialogue meetings but continues to break up demonstrations by force. Arab protesters come from all walks of life, though the educated and young are taking the lead. They include Muslims and Christians–those who practice religion and those who do not. They also include women who wear hijab or niqab and others who do not. They include members of secular and religious opposition movements and citizens who are not affiliated with any groups. How does the role of religion in these pro-democracy movements compare to the role of religion in the democratization of South America and the overthrow of Communism in Poland?
For some interesting commentary, please see: http://www.economist.com/node/18486005 and http://naderhashemi.com/publications/Nader%20Hashemi%20Insight%20Turkey%202011.pdf

Jelen and Wilcox, ch. 7.
http://books.google.com/books?id=6HFq0eyEK4QC&dq=Ted+G.+Jelen&ie=ISO-8859-1&source=gbs_gdata

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