In this article I assess the suitability of exploring the entanglement of state and Islam in Turkey under the rubric of post-Islamism. This is achieved through an exploration of the composite intertwining of religious discourse, historical and teleological imaginaries, and ideals of civic engagement within the Gülen movement. In my view not only does the post-Islamist thesis appear to be limited in regard to analyzing this and similar cases, but it also dangerously echoes recurrent neo-orientalist narratives, which in essence circumscribe how Islam can be “inclusive” and open to ideals of “individual freedom,” “pluralism,” and to Western ideals of democracy. In this paper I argue that it is instead the ideologization of religious discourse – a specific product of political modernity – which hinders Islamic movements such as the Gülen and others from realizing the full potential of Islam as an alternative global civilizational discourse to that of liberal modernity.
Reading Islam Fabio Vicini offers a journey within the intimate relations, reading practices, and forms of intellectual engagement that regulate Muslim life in two enclosed religious communities in Istanbul. Combining anthropological observation with textual and genealogical analysis, he illustrates how the modes of thought and social engagement promoted by these two communities are the outcome of complex intellectual entanglements with modern discourses about science, education, the self, and Muslims’ place and responsibility in society. In this way,
Reading Islam sheds light on the formation of new generations of faithful and socially active Muslims over the last thirty years and on their impact on the turn of Turkey from an assertive secularist Republic to an Islamic-oriented form of governance.