|Since 1988 MERA has been publishing a series of occasional papers and in 1997 has launched the biannual MERA Journal|
The ongoing political struggles in North Africa featuring Islamists, as key players as well as the ascession to power in Turkey of the Islamist Welfare Party (Refah Partisi), underline the importance of political Islam in the Middle East in general. Specifically Turkey and Morocco however, as the countries with the largest Muslim migrant populations in the Netherlands, are of importance to the debate on minorities and political developments in this part of Western Europe. As a Dutch research and information centre on the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, MERA has devoted the first issue of this journal to precisely these linkages between Islamic activism in Morocco, Turkey, and the Netherlands. The authors contributing to this issue have also participated in a conference on this theme held in Amsterdam on November 22, 1996, which in turn, is part of an ongoing research project of MERA.
The linkage between Islamisms 'there' (Turkey and Morocco) and 'here' (in Europe) encompass various dimensions. On the one hand, Islamism is a feature of global political and social dynamics, and as such, is part and parcel of transnational occurances. On the other hand, Islamists activism structures its responses and demands according to the local social and political conditions with all the diversity and specificity therein. Whatever the motivations and manifestations of Islamism however, the fact remains that there is an ongoing debate as to the extent to which political Islam, originating 'there', is affecting or being affected by 'here'. It is this debate that the articles presented in this issue will adress. Rather than confirming or denying the occasional xenophobic attitudes, the articles present the range of ideas and analysis on Islamist activism in Turkey, Morocco, and the Netherlands (with references to other parts of Europe), while highlighting both internal and external dynamics.
Islamisms 'there' and 'here'
Religion and the stakes of power in Morocco
The Islamist movement in Turkey
Islamism in the Western European context
Editors: Michiel Beker, Inge Hoogerheiden, Azza Karam and Robert Soeterik
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