Twenty century European architecture in Islamic extra-European settings is commonly attributed to colonial agency and consequently categorized as extra-territorial expressions of metropolitan architecture, i.e. British Indo-sarracenic architecture in India, Italian architecture in Libya, French architecture in Algeria or Indo-Portuguese architecture in India.
During the last four decades, changes occurred in the theoretical discourse and material expression of Islamic architecture and urbanism. During this time innovative scholarship questioned the Orientalist practices of Western history and attempted to resituate Islamic architecture within a conceptual framework that allowed discussion of representation, knowledge, and power. This study will attempt to document how hybridity in contemporary Islamic architecture and urbanism goes hand in hand with the mobility characteristic of the emergence and diffusion of Islam, the submission to Islam by people from different cultural backgrounds, and the mobility of Muslims. To make this argument, we will reflect on a definition of hybridity and draw parallels between architecture and urbanism and literary studies.
The purpose of this chapter is to critique the TV series El Príncipe (2014–6) with reference to the presence of Islamophobic and Orientalist elements, with a view to examining how these influence the series’ fictional recreation of so-called “jihadist radicalisation” in Spain. First, I define the terms “jihad” and “radicalisation” and delineate the contours of propagandistic discourses on “jihadist terrorism” in contemporary Spain (Torres Soriano 2009; López Bargados 2016). Second, I outline the plot of El Príncipe, stressing the pervasive presence of Spanish chauvinist, Islamophobic and Orientalist elements (Aidi 2015). Third, I argue that although the above negatively influence El Príncipe’s depiction of “jihadist radicalisation”, the latter constitutes a well-researched and thought-provoking problematisation of this phenomenon. I conclude that while El Príncipe’s fictionalisation of “jihadist terrorist radicalisation” in Spain does play into Islamophobic and Orientalist agendas, constantly reproducing its pernicious stereotypes, it would be unwise to dismiss this TV series as a frivolous production that makes no effort to examine the underlying motivation behind “jihadist terrorist radicalisation” in contemporary Spain. Rather, my analysis reveals that in El Príncipe the pervasive presence of Spanish chauvinist, Islamophobic and Orientalist elements coexists with a well-researched, open-ended and thought-provoking problematisation of the process of “jihadist terrorist radicalisation.” (Žižek 1989, 2012; Harris and Nawaz 2015).
The Islamist attacks of 9/11 in the US as well as in Europe and the European migrant crisis beginning in 2015 have once again revived the interest in the Ottoman age in Slovakia. Both events in fact confirm that the legacy of the Ottomans in Central Europe (16th and 17th century) has a continuing impact on Slovak identity, culture and even politics. The events of the past are nowadays often used in a targeted way, manipulated according to current needs or instrumentalized in a variety of ways by politicians, ordinary citizens, some intellectuals and religious figures as well.
This essay focuses on three areas that represent current responses to the events that happened between approximately 1550 and 1686 in what was then roughly the northern part of Habsburg Hungary and is now Slovakia. The first part is to deal with current references to that period by politicians and in politically motivated thinking at the beginning of the 21st century. Later, the focus will be on architecture, folk culture and language where conflicting attitudes can lead to disappointment and frustration. Finally, the last part offers a discussion on Islam because the Ottoman era has shaped, and in many ways still shapes the perception of this religion in Slovakia. Through the essay I also make some cross-referencing in order to compare Slovakia’s responses to the Ottoman legacy with three neighbouring countries, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, different interpretative paradigms dealing with the place of al-Andalus in the historical narratives of Spain were crafted by historians and Arabists. However, the presence of the monumental heritage in the urban landscape, its meanings for local audiences and its significance for foreign travellers frequently went far beyond the theoretical constructions of academic historians or orientalists.
In this chapter, I explore how the main discourses generated by historians and Arabic scholars were progressively dissociated from their counterparts in the fields of art history, restoration and cultural management in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through the paradigmatic example of the Alhambra of Granada, I analyse how different disciplines handled the potential ambiguity of monumental heritage, how contradictory perceptions of aesthetic and historical identity were built, and how theoretical and material approaches drew apart.
Islam is one of Poland’s traditional religions. The first Muslims to appear within the borders of the historical Polish state were the Tatars from the Golden Horde, a state that became nominally Islamic in the thirteenth century. The so-called Polish-Lithuanian Tatars arrived in the fourteenth century and settled in the lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The territory of today’s Poland was first inhabited by the Tatars in the seventeenth century when they were granted land in Podlachia.
In the new homeland, they not only enjoyed religious freedom but were allowed to practice Islam freely, erect mosques, and organise religious communities around them; in the seventeenth century, there were already around thirty mosques on the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian state. The mosques were wooden, so they could be easily destroyed, and the new ones were built on the same site. Initially, cemeteries were built around the mosques, but due to lack of space, sometimes they were moved outside the settlement. Two Tatar wooden mosques in Poland (from the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries) have survived to this day. There are still Tatar Muslim cemeteries in places where there are or were mosques. The gravestones there are made of stone, with preserved inscriptions in Arabic, Polish, and sometimes Turkish.
The article presents traces of Muslim heritage in the Polish landscape against the background of the history of Tatar mosques and cemeteries that form it. It also points out the traces of the coexistence of Muslims and Christians in these lands, which have manifested themselves in the form of wooden mosques and Muslim tombstones in Tatar graveyards.
This study focuses on a critical analysis of recent restoration works of the Ottoman period mosques in Albania. During the communist period, based on Chinese model cultural revolution in 1968, religious activities were banned, and churches and mosques were closed in Albania. While churches were transformed into cinemas due to their basilica layout, this was quite impossible for mosques. They were mostly demolished and only a small number were conserved. The fall of the communist regime in Albania after the 90s brought democracy, which permitted religious freedom. As a result, the surviving historical mosques reopened and there was an effort to make them functional. At the beginning they were adapted rapidly by local means and between 1994–2000 many of them were repaired by investments coming from Arabic/Middle East countries.
The rise of AKP party to power in 2002 in Turkey brought a new Turkish interest in the Balkans and especially in Albania. Based on two agreements with the Albanian government, the Turkish government undertook the restorations of Ottoman period mosques. The restorations were conducted by Turkish and Albanian companies, and compared to previous repair work or restoration, these were quite fundamental and more qualitative. However, in many cases the restoration resulted in changing or modifying the local architectural and ornamental features.
The aim of this study is to critically analyse, discuss and compare the restored architectural and ornamental features of the mosques with the original ones. The methodology used includes archival research, photo documentation, site observation and comparative analysis which aim to define the level of intervention in relation to the original one. Finally, the study reveals that the restoration works applied to the mosques included in the first agreement are partly true to their original values. While all mosques have minimal discrepancies in exterior and interior, in the case of mosque of Naziresha the restorative interventions have seriously changed the original form of the building. Referring to those included in the second agreement, the restoration the mosque of King and mosque of Beqareve has adhered to their original architectural values. On the contrary, in the mosque of Bazar the discrepancies have been both in its exterior and interior elements.
The aim of this chapter is to analyse the historical policy of the Justice and Development Party – AKP in Turkey at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The essay focuses on key historical figures such as Mehmed the Conqueror, Selim I and Suleiman the Magnificent. It also refers to the politics relating to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The essay indicates the reasons of the revival of Ottoman traditions in the public life of Turkey and considers the role played by the Ottoman Empire in political discourse. It shows that Ottoman heritage is an element of the domestic and foreign policy of the ruling party, AKP. This policy is helping to mobilize the electorate, contribute to the Islamic revival in Turkey, and increase the popularity of the Turkish president among Muslims abroad. However, AKP politicians will not erase the memory of the legendary founder of the secular state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whose legacy is contributing to the reinforcement of anti-Western sentiment in Turkish society, but also helps to legitimize their power.