Islamist Norm Entrepreneurs in International Society: Why, How and When do Religious Norms Diffuse in Liberal International Organizations?
Gregorio Bettiza is currently a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI). Gregorio holds PhD in International Relations from LSE and his research focuses on religion and secularism in international relations. And, Filippo Dionigi is currently Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE). Filippo holds PhD in International Relations from LSE and is interested in research on international norms and Islamist movements especially in the Middle East.
Constructivist scholars have systematically neglected the mechanisms of diffusion of religiously based non-Western norms in liberal settings. In recent decades the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has become an increasingly influential international actor through which Muslim-majority states channel their normative concerns in international society. In particular the OIC has become actively engaged in promoting international norms that challenge, often from an Islamic perspective, hegemonic secular liberal values embedded within the institutions of international society. The paper focuses on two norms that the OIC has attempted to promote within the United Nations (UN) since the 1990s. The first are “dialogue of civilizations” norms. These were successfully institutionalized in 2005, after gathering substantial backing from Western states, with a major UN initiative, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The second are “religious defamation” norms. These, instead, were relentlessly opposed by Western states and led only to a minor and vague initiative largely outside the UN’s purview in 2011, the Istanbul Process. What explains these diverging results? The paper contends that religiously based non-Western norms have the greatest chances of being fully institutionalized within the UN, an international organization deeply embedded in and constitutive of the liberal international order, only when they can be effectively “translated” into secular liberal norms
Regional Integration and Crises on the Persian Gulf Sub-region. Casus of Gulf Cooperation Council
Dr. Wojciech Jerzy Grabowski, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Institute (Asian and African States section) at Gdansk University. He is the author of the monograph “Muslim fundamentalism in the Middle East” and of many articles on various subject matters in the international relations field, especially regional, Middle Eastern order, role of Islam and fundamentalism in politics, influence of terrorism on the states functioning. He was involved in EU grants dedicated to these issues and NATO workshops dedicated perseverance of terrorism: focus on leaders. Currently, he is involved in exploring regionalization processes in the Persian Gulf sub-region. He is a member of the Polish Association of International Studies and European Institute of Security.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) helps to constitute boundaries of inclusion and exclusion that strengthen six states in the region, characterized by revisionist powers. By participants of the GCC it is viewed as an institution leading sub-region to the broader Arab unity. During the Gulf War 1990/91 participating states were not willing to resolve common, sub-regional problem, but they were looking for the help from non-Arab states. Processes of the regionalization help to generalize conditions or people within sub-regional boundaries speaking about Gulf policies, business, identity opposed to Arab spheres of activities. The GCC poses a forum of exchange of political views. But the GCC stands in front of challenges of the inclusion non-dynastic Yemen and post-Saddam Iraq which would have significant consequences for the security and economic fields of the sub-region. One of the problem of the organization is unfulfilled promises which damage credibility of the organization. This may poses real threat to the objectives of the GCC. The basic question I will try to find an answer to is: does the GCC guarantee security to its members in the broad sense or does the GCC member-states have to seek the security through bilateral agreements with external powers?
The United Nations in Muslim Political Thought and Discourse
Prof. Dr. Turan Kayaoglu (Associate Professor of International Relations, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Tacoma)
This paper analyzes four views on Muslim engagement in the United Nations: rejectionist, realist, Islamic-conservatives, and liberal. The rejectionist views the Muslim engagement with the UN as harmful to the Muslim cause because the UN rests on values such as state sovereignty, secularism, and cooperation incompatible with Islamic political values such as the umma, shari’ah, and dar-ul Islam versus dar-ul Harb. The realist also rejects the Muslim engagement with the UN not because of its incompatibility with Islamic values but because of the imbalance of power within the UN between the great powers and Muslim-majority states. Specifically, the American influence over the UN combined with the deep resentment of American politics towards the Muslim world prompts this group to be very cynical about the UN. The Islamic-conservative views the UN as a forum which can be utilized to demonstrate and defend the truth of Islam and to protect and promote Muslim interest by influencing its normative and political structure. The liberal perspective views the UN useful not just for serving to Muslim interests but for the common good of broader international community.