Muslims, Multiculturalism and the Question of the Silent Majority

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh, Joshua Roose
Shahram Akbarzadeh Joshua Roose: ‘Muslims, Multiculturalism and the Question of the Silent Majority’, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 31, No. 3 (2011). pp.309-325.
Publication year: 2011

Cultural diversity is the norm in Australia and the United Kingdom. Both states celebrate multiculturalism. But some populist politicians, commentators, and quasi-academics have recently portrayed Western Muslims as a “fifth column”, organized and intent on destroying the fabric of Western culture from within. Interestingly, extremist Muslim groups in the West make similar claims about the relationship between Islam and the West. In recent years, however, Western-born “moderate” Muslim intellectuals and moderates have emerged into the public sphere to challenge essentialist depictions of Islam and the Islamist textual interpretations. They claim an important social space for the Western practice of Islam. Whilst a burgeoning level of academic scrutiny is being focused upon moderate Muslims, this article notes the absence of academic literature about a large part of the Muslim population whose public life is not necessarily guided by their religion but more by their culture and ethnicity, i.e. the “cultural Muslims”. This group is unrepresented in the public debate on Islam and often ignored yet could constitute the majority of Western Muslims. This article concludes by posing significant questions about this group and the implications of political discourse upon their future trajectory.

Democracy Promotion versus Engagement with Iran

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Democracy Promotion versus Engagement with Iran,’ Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 41, No. 3 (2011). pp.471-483.
Publication year: 2011

US President Barack Obama has tried two very distinct policy options in dealing with Iran. The engagement policy was designed to make a break with the past experience and re-start US-Iran relations on a positive footing. This approach was consistent with the advice offered to the new administration by Iran analysts and leaders of non-governmental organisations. The implication of the engagement policy, however, was sidelining the US commitment to democracy and human rights in Iran. This policy could offer little to the budding reform movement in 2009. The alternative policy of containment was not beneficial to the reform movement either. The policy shift at the end of 2009 was a response to Iran’s failure to comply with the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The containment policy, manifested in the fourth round of UN-imposed sanctions on Iran, has led to a further entrenching of the hard-liners in the regime and intolerance of internal dissent.

Obama and the US policy change on Iran

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Obama: Policy Change on Iran,’ Global Change, Peace & Security, Vol. 21, No. 3 (2009). pp. 397-401.
Publication year: 2009

Prospects for Feminism in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Refereed Journal articles
Rebecca Barlow, Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh and Rebecca Barlow: ‘Prospects for Feminism in the Islamic Republic of Iran,’ Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 1 (February 2008). pp. 21-40.
Publication year: 2008

Uzbekistan and the United States: Friends or Foes?

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Uzbekistan and the United States: Friends or Foes?,’ Middle East Policy, Vol. 14, No.1 (Spring 2007). pp. 107-116.
Publication year: 2007

Women's rights in the Muslim world: reform or reconstruction?

Refereed Journal articles
Rebecca Barlow, Shahram Akbarzadeh
Barlow, Rebecca, and Shahram Akbarzadeh. "Women's Rights in the Muslim World: Reform or Reconstruction?" Third World Quarterly 27, no. 8 (2006): 1481-494. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4017691.
Publication year: 2006

The issue of gender inequality is an acute problem in countries where women’s lives are governed by laws, and configured by customs and traditions, said to derive from Islam. In the second half of the 20th century, two Muslim feminist paradigms have emerged in response to this malaise. Islamic feminists aim to establish women’s rights within the Islamic framework by re-interpreting Islam’s holy sources. In contrast, secular feminists challenge the particularistic nature of the Islamic framework and advocate the application of a set of standard universal rights for Muslim and non-Muslim women. This article focuses on the writings of the Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi, tracing her evolution from advocating secular reconstruction of Muslim societies to a position that resembles Islamic reformism.

Islam in Global Politics

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Islam in Global Politics,’ Keynotes, (June 2006). pp. 1-7.
Publication year: 2006

Geopolitics versus Democracy in Tajikistan

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Geo-politics versus Democracy in Tajikistan,’ Demokratizatsiya, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Fall 2006). pp. 563-¬578.
Publication year: 2006

The convergence of international attention on Central Asia in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks offered hope for Tajikistan’s fragile democracy. Washington’s commitment to enhancing civil society and democratic rule was cause for celebration among the opposition activists. This was a peculiar experience as the Islamic Renaissance Party has been a mainstay of the opposition movement. Tajikistan is the only Central Asian republic that has allowed the open political engagement of an Islamic party. This has been a novel, albeit difficult experiment. But the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and ongoing security concerns appear to have diverted Washington’s attention from Tajikistan’s democratic state building. The United States has edged toward a policy aimed at preserving the status quo for fear of destabilizing the region. This policy is not dissimilar to that of Russia. Consequently, the prospects of an external boost to Tajikistan’s novel democratic experiment are fading fast.

Does the Hamas victory advance peace in the Middle East?

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: 'Does Hamas Victory Advance Peace in the Middle East?,' Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 2 (2006). pp. 201-6.
Publication year: 2006

Where is the Islamic republic of Iran heading?

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Where is the Islamic Republic of Iran heading?’ Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 59, No. 1 (March 2005). pp. 25-38.
Publication year: 2005

The ‘war on terror’ has had significant repercussions for the Islamic Republic of Iran in both international and domestic arenas. In the international context, Iran is finding itself isolated. Gains made by the moderate leadership of President Khatami in normalising relations between Iran and the West appear to have been lost. In the domestic arena, the moderates seem powerless against the concerted advances of the hardliners, most evident in the February 2004 Parliamentary election.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference: Sharing an Illusion

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh, Kylie Connor: ‘The Organization of Islamic Conference: sharing an illusion,’ Middle East Policy, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer 2005). pp. 79-92.
Publication year: 2005

Among Dr. Akbarzadeh’s latest publications are Uzbekistan and the United States: Authoritarianism, Islamism and Washington’s Security Agenda (London: Zed Books, 2005) and Islam and the West: Reflections from Australia (Sydney: UNSWPress, 2005). Ms. Connor researches Islamic militancy in the West.1

US-Uzbek partnership and democratic reforms

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘US-Uzbek partnership and democratic reforms,’ Nationalities Papers, Vol. 32, No.2 (June 2004). pp. 271-287.
Publication year: 2004

Keeping Central Asia stable

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Keeping Central Asia stable,’ Third World Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4 (June 2004). pp. 689-705.
Publication year: 2004

Contrary to optimistic assessments on the stabilising impact of the US troop deployment in Central Asia, the long‐term prospects for regional stability are far from certain. The American entry into Central Asia has complicated the geostrategic dynamics of the region and engaged the three great powers and regional players in intense rivalry for influence and leverage. If there was ever a ‘Great Game’ at play in the post‐Soviet era, it is now. The convergence of the great powers on Central Asia was justified in terms of anti‐terrorism. The toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan may have secured its northern neighbours from an imminent threat, but the direct involvement of US forces in Central Asia is not likely to contribute to regional stability in the long run.

India and Pakistan's geostrategic rivalry in Central Asia

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘India and Pakistan look to Central Asia,’ Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 12, No. 2 (June 2003). pp. 219-228.
Publication year: 2003

Pakistan has suffered a serious blow to its regional aspirations since the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan. In contrast, its South Asian rival India is finding Afghanistan and its northern neighbours welcoming a larger role. Despite its late entry into the region, India appears to be set to make significant gains at Pakistan’s expense. The India–Pakistan rivalry in Central Asia is concentrated on that region’s vast energy reserves, its geo-strategic importance in relation to Russia and China, and its potential role in the Kashmir dispute. The Indian government has woken up to the role that Central Asia can play in advancing New Delhi’s regional ambitions, and the post-Taliban geo-strategic conditions favour its agenda.

Political Islam in Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Political Islam in Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan,’ Central Asian Survey, Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001). pp. 449-463.
Publication year: 2001

National identity and political legitimacy in Turkmenistan

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘National identity and political legitimacy in Turkmenistan,’ Nationalities Papers, Vol. 27, No. 2 (1999). pp.271-290.
Publication year: 1999

How the elite survives in Uzbekistan

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘How the elite survives in Uzbekistan,’ Political Expressions, Vol. 2, No. 1 (1998). pp. 31-45.
Publication year: 1998

The political shape of Central Asia

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘The political shape of Central Asia’, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 4 (1997). pp. 517-42.
Publication year: 1997

Islamic clerical establishment in Central Asia

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Islamic clerical establishment in Central Asia,’ South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2 (December 1997). pp. 73-102.
Publication year: 1997

A note on shifting identities in the Ferghana valley

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘A note on shifting identities in the Ferghana Valley’, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 1 (1997). pp. 65-8.
Publication year: 1997

Why Did Nationalism Fail in Tajikistan?

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Why did nationalism fail in Tajikistan?,’ Europe-Asia Studies formerly Soviet Studies, Vol. 48, No. 7 (November 1996). pp. 1105-29.
Publication year: 1996

Nation-building in Uzbekistan

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Nation-building in Uzbekistan,’ Central Asian Survey, Vol.15, No.1 (1996). pp. 23-32.
Publication year: 1996

Tajikistan: Striving for unity over regional and ethnic division

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Tajikistan: Striving for unity over regional and ethnic division,’ Transition, Vol. 1, No. 8 (26 May 1995). pp.53-6.
Publication year: 1995

Narrative of independence in Central Asia. A case study: Turkmenistan

Refereed Journal articles
Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Narrative of independence in Central Asia. A case study: Turkmenistan,’ Journal of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2 (1995). pp. 91-100.
Publication year: 1995