The Building of Islamic Society Since 1800: Francis Robinson, Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative

MICHAEL SELLS: Hello, everybody. It’s my pleasure
to open this event. My name is Michael Sells, and
I teach in the Divinity School and Comparative Literature. And to say a few
words about a program under the auspices of which
this event is happening. This is the fifth year of
six years of known support, or what we call the Mellon
Islamic Studies Initiative, which brings a {} of scholars
from around the world to campus to teach and to offer lectures. I’d like to mention
in that regard and give special thanks to
Deans Margaret Mitchell and Rick Rosengarten of the
Divinity School, who were so essential in
developing the proposal and getting the grant going. And also to our
steering committee, which has had an involvement
from a number of departments across campus. In particular, to our
coordinator this year and the past couple years, Norah
{} who’s out standing there, I guess running
the camera today. And to Bill Geraci,
who has done so much work for us in setting
up audio-visual. And, of course this
year to the Department of South Asian languages
and civilizations, which are hosting our speaker. This interesting [INAUDIBLE] has
been punctuating by life today. And some day, perhaps I
will get the true speaker for what it is. But having said that, I’m
now happy to turn over the floor to
Professor [INAUDIBLE], who will introduce our speaker. Professor [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 2: Thank you. I feel honored,
having been asked to introduce my personal
friend, Francis Robinson. I first met Professor
Robinson in the 1980, at the Institute of Historical
Research, London University. Since then, we
have been friends. I have benefitted
enourmously from his wonderfully scholarship of
South Asian history and Islam. But of Mr. Robinson at
the moment, at present he is Professor of South Asian
History at Royal Holloway College, University of London. Over the last four decades,
he has published enormously. Fourteen books, eight authored,
four edited, and about 100 articles, in journals,
edited ones, and encyclopedias. Most of these writings
have been on issues pertaining to the culture
and politics of Muslims in South Asia. Their interaction with
a larger part of Islam. And the ways they, and
also the part of Islam met with the challenges
of western modernity. As the leading
scholar of the field, and as a dedicated teacher,
and generous mentor, he has influenced and inspired
a generation of scholars. As chair, dean, director,
president, vice president, and key member of several
high academic institutions in England, he initiated
and enabled the bringing of a variety of new
areas of research on Islam and South Asia. Then in the last
25 years, that he has been associated with the
Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, he has reorganized the
Society’s prestigious journal. Arranged and supervised
the promulgation of a large number
of notable books on Islam, Asia, and Africa. And has also been a driving
force behind making available, in print, several volumes
of pre- [INAUDIBLE] Ottoman historic [INAUDIBLE]. I manage [INAUDIBLE] of
course, some of his obligation. His first book, “Separatism
Among Indian Muslims,” published in 1974,
still continues to be an important
entry point for anybody to understand that Asians,
while being Muslims, under British rule,
organized for equalities as a separate community. Why they insisted on
their separate identity which led eventually to
the formation of Pakistan. And also to many other
troubles and problems which beset the south
continent even today. He has another book on
[INAUDIBLE] and Islamic culture in South Asia– focuses on
numerous unexplored avenues of the developments of
the second great culture of the Islamic world, namely,
the [INAUDIBLE] Islamic culture in South Asia. The book illustrates
how this culture rested on [INAUDIBLE],
language, and [INAUDIBLE] on the rationalist traditions of
[INAUDIBLE] Islamic scholarship and on formal and
mystical learning together with the
systems of transmission with the [INAUDIBLE]
scholars we know and savings consolidated in
India in the 18th century. Professor Robinson goes in his
book, far beyond [INAUDIBLE]. And [INAUDIBLE]. The most is how, by using family
records and private papers of the religious
and priestly family we can address the big
question of social [INAUDIBLE] of South Asia and
Islam in modern times. In another book, Islam and
Muslim History in South Asia, he highlights the dynamism
and the complexity of the relationship between
Islamic law and practice. The implications of conversion
and secular [INAUDIBLE] and the impact of
[? pre-formed ?] South Asian Islam. While he recently published
on Islam, South Asia, and the rest, he focuses
on the background to the interactions of Islam,
South Asia, and the West, the shape that the British
power and the Muslim revivalism gave to the modern Muslim
world and the great shift from other-worldly
to this-worldly piety amongst Muslim, the
energy that this has been in the Muslim Revival. A number of Professor
Robinson’s books also give us a refreshing,
deep critical synthesis of comparative
history of [INAUDIBLE] and intellectual
developments over nearly the whole of the Muslim world. Notably in this category is
an atlas of the Islamic world since 1500. Written as an
outstanding [INAUDIBLE], book it deals the transmission
of Islamic culture from generation to generation
and from estate to estate over the last 500 years. Among the other titles
in this category, I should mention The
Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World,
The Mughal Emperors and the Islamic Dynasty of
India, Iran, and Central Asia. And all this [INAUDIBLE],
in volume five of the new [INAUDIBLE] History
of Islam, where they have brought a team of
notable scholars to explore the Muslim
response to the challenge of Western domination
across the last 200 years. Professor Robinson of offers
also substantial guidance for further history of Islam
and Indo-Muslim culture, which amongst his
colleagues and friends are– his four
forthcoming volumes, four other forthcoming
volumes, including a comprehensive biography of
the last [INAUDIBLE] scholar and saint, [INAUDIBLE] And
numerous are his promise to push history further. Professor Robinson speaks
today on the building of Islamic societies from
[INAUDIBLE] since 1800. Please join me extending
warm welcome to him. [APPLAUSE] FRANCIS ROBINSON: Thank
you, Professor [INAUDIBLE] for that too-generous
introduction. For 1,000 years, and as
[INAUDIBLE] [? Lewis ?] once put it, Islam walked
hand in hand with power. They [INAUDIBLE] the
structure of Islamic society, [INAUDIBLE], madrasas,
the administrations of the law, the [INAUDIBLE]
activities that pulled them up, were for the most part supported
by Muslim political power. Some of those institutions
played an important part in popularizing
Islam, for instance, Sufis, shrines to Sufi
saints– at times, strove to distance
itself from the wielders of political power. On the other hand,
the powerful usually sought to patronize the
Sufis, and sometimes the Sufis were happy to be patronized. For 1,000 years and
more, those in power in the Islamic infrastructure
of Muslim society were [INAUDIBLE]. This all changed
with the [INAUDIBLE] and influence to [INAUDIBLE]. Key members of this process
were the [INAUDIBLE] of Egypt in 1798 and [INAUDIBLE]
of the last major Muslim power in India, during the
[INAUDIBLE] in 1799. Now, the European [INAUDIBLE] The British would [INAUDIBLE]
power in India by 1818 and had conquered all of
it by the mid-19th century. At the same time, British and
Dutch completed their conquests in Malaya and Indonesia. In 30 years before World Word
I, the British, French, Germans, Italians divided most
of Africa between them. During World War I, the British
and French divided [INAUDIBLE]. And at the same
time, the Russians completed their conquest of the
Caucasus and of central Asia. By 1920 in what remained
of the Muslim ruled world, the Iranians had been subject
to a humiliating treaty by the British. And the remnant of
the Ottoman army was fighting for itself in
[INAUDIBLE] as the world power started to disintegrate. The only lands
proved Western power were Afghanistan, North Yemen,
and what is now Saudi Arabia. Western power led an assault
on the Islamic infrastructure that was in society. In [INAUDIBLE], British
power meant an end to government support
to Islamic education. The British still
[INAUDIBLE] good revenue being used to support
learning, which, after their utilitarian fashion,
they considered worthless. So the state of [INAUDIBLE]
Bengal and North India, there resumed a [INAUDIBLE],
which sometimes [INAUDIBLE] that supported Islamic learning. By the same token,
they no longer found room in their bureaucracy
for men of Islamic learning. The training of an army,
a Muslim married man was no longer the route
to government service. From now on, Muslims had to
acquire Western [? polish, ?] and pass British exams
if they were to rule. On occasion, the British also
removed the British [INAUDIBLE] to [INAUDIBLE] which supported
Sufi [INAUDIBLE] land of the Sufis and sin. And there were Punjab
[INAUDIBLE] on which their power might rest. At the same time, the
British imposed English law in the public sphere, narrowing
down the sphere of Islamic law to the personal law, that
involving marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Even this became
increasing Anglicized, As as the advice of Islamic
legal experts [INAUDIBLE] in the form of [INAUDIBLE] was
removed from court proceedings. And second, the law itself
became increasingly divorced from its Islamic starting
point, as the application of common law principles
of justice, equity, and good conscience were
applied [INAUDIBLE]. South Asian Muslims came
to live with an increasing list from the sources of
their relation, which should inform the Islamic society. In the Ottoman Empire,
and subsequently through Ottoman Turkey, there
was a similar [INAUDIBLE]. The process of [INAUDIBLE]
19th century [INAUDIBLE] as the Ottomans,
heavily influenced by the Code Napoleon
reconstructed [INAUDIBLE] ostensibly making all citizens,
Muslim and non-Muslim, equal before the law. The process was continued
with a vengeance in the 1920s [INAUDIBLE]
Turkish republic. The abolition of the
caliphate in 1954 was followed by the abolition
of the shaykh of Islam, the Islamic of chief justice. The abolition of
British hierarchy, replacement of sharia law by
European legal codes, which [INAUDIBLE] brought
an end to polygamy, Islamic divorce, and the
introduction of civic language. The madrasas were closed, which
meant the end of education and the formal
knowledge of Islam. This which meant
the end of training in the spiritual
understanding of Islam. Governments were controlling
all the religious [INAUDIBLE]. In the same way, they took
control of over 70,000 mosques. Individuals were pressed
into Western dress as opposed to more
modest Islamic clothes. They were told to
abandon the Islamic canon in favor of the Western one. They were literally
instructed by Ataturk to give up their
personal Islamic script in favor of the Roman script. The fabric of an Islamic society
built up over hundreds of years was reduced to tatters. [INAUDIBLE] British
South Asia and in Turkey was replicated in most
other Muslim societies, in Indonesia on the Dutch, in
the Caucasus in central Asia under Russia, Soviet Union,
in Iran under the [INAUDIBLE] and in the European
rule of North Africa. There’s one Muslim exception. And that is Northern Nigeria. Here, the British as
always, short of resources, rested their rule under Hausa
chiefs of this Islamic society [INAUDIBLE]. In consequence, sharia law was
sustained by the [INAUDIBLE] as well as the [INAUDIBLE]. Leaving Northern Nigeria to
one side, the completeness of the change brought about
by the presence of the West, it’s overwhelmingly
[INAUDIBLE] the way in which many of the structures
on which an Islamic society might depend have been run
down, as summarized by the poet Akbar Illahabadi. Writing in India in
the late 19th century, he says, “They hold the
throne in their hand. The whole realm
is in their hand. The country, the apportioning
of man’s livelihood is in their hand. The springs of hope and
fear are in their hand. In their hand, is the power to
decide who should be humbled and who exulted. Our people is in their hand. Education is in their hand. If the West continues to be what
it is and the East what it is, we shall see the day when the
whole world is in their hand.” And then he makes the point,
rather more poetically that, “the minstrel, and music,
and melody have all changed. [INAUDIBLE] with this change. The tale we need to
hear is longer told. Spring comes with
new adornments. The nightingales in the
garden sing a different song. Nature’s every effect
has undergone revolution. Another kind of rain
falls from the sky. Another kind of bread
grows in the field.” What I want to do is to
examine Muslim responses to this shattering change. In particular, I want to
examine their responses to the degrading or
[INAUDIBLE] the infrastructure of Islamic society. We should note that these
responses were recalled, for the most part, by the
great movement of revival and reform the
Muslim world, which began to gather way in the
16th and 17th centuries and spread to [INAUDIBLE]
in the 18th and 19th. It had basis in the ideals
of [INAUDIBLE] and Damascus, [INAUDIBLE] School of
[INAUDIBLE] in Medina, and subsequently, in the
ideas of [INAUDIBLE] It also had bases in the thinking
of [INAUDIBLE] in South Asia and his spiritual
successors, [INAUDIBLE], not least amongst
them, [INAUDIBLE]. Prime features of this
movement were an emphasis on direct [INAUDIBLE],
often circumventing the [INAUDIBLE], an
assault on Sufi practices, in particular those that
suggest that Sufi saints might intercede to the hand of God,
and [INAUDIBLE] an attack on [INAUDIBLE] concept
of the unity of being. These ideas spread through the
Muslim world along connections of [INAUDIBLE]. Recently Indonesian
scholar, [INAUDIBLE], has traced these
connections in detail as they reach from West Asia
to North and West Africa and also as they moved to
Central South and Southeast Asia to China. I like to think of
these connections as the arteries and veins of
the Muslim world along which the life giving pulse of
Islamic knowledge traveled. What shall we [INAUDIBLE] by
looking at the Muslim responses in South Asia.? There are good reasons for this. South Asian Muslims had
arguably the largest and deepest interactions with the West. Because of this, they
were particularly productive in generating new
ideas and new organizations to sustain them. Representing 1/3 of the
Muslim people to the world, they have been most effective
transmitters of these new ideas and organizations to the
world beyond South Asia. At the center of South
Asian Muslim responses was one being called the
emergence of a [? willed ?] or Protestant Islam. [INAUDIBLE] formal desire
which might be able to stand [INAUDIBLE] be
called [INAUDIBLE]. At the heart of
this process, were the [INAUDIBLE] and Madrasa
[INAUDIBLE] some 90 miles Northeast of
[INAUDIBLE] in 1867. They were assisted
by other groups who performed the
[INAUDIBLE] who took more extreme [INAUDIBLE]
positions than the [INAUDIBLE] and were less [INAUDIBLE]. They had a [INAUDIBLE]. And they had the
Quran [INAUDIBLE] These reformers developed
a new emphasis in piety. The legals were
encouraged to beh directly to scripture, which
was translated in [INAUDIBLE] and
other Indian languages. At the same time, any
idea of a descension, a man with God [INAUDIBLE] to
or through angels or the Imams was rejected after that. Muslims in this tradition
were reminded of the horrors that they had gone through. [INAUDIBLE] his jewels of
paradise, [INAUDIBLE] women, the prescriptions of which
applied equally for men. Such [INAUDIBLE] were
required to reflect every day on whether they’d done
enough to [INAUDIBLE] to meet his high standards. The reformist God was certainly
compassionate and merciful as he would always be. But he was also feared. Fear god was the very first
practice sentence that women [INAUDIBLE] as they
were learning to read. Such Muslims were
always [INAUDIBLE] on whether they had
done enough to be saved. Under this newly
fashioned piety, there grew a heightened sense
of personal responsibility towards living a
good Muslim life. And in the process, healthy
[INAUDIBLE] in Islamic society. So the absence of
Muslim political power meant individual
Muslim conscience was being shaped into
the foundation of which an Islamic society progressed. This process also came to
fashion an act of Islam in which Muslims
knew that had to act on Earth in the light
of God’s guidance if they were to be saved. The reformers not only
a new form of piety, they also fashioned
new ways supporting it and of transmitting it. At the center of this process
was [INAUDIBLE] madrasa. They depended entirely on
subscriptions of the people. It rejected all subsidies
from government. The [INAUDIBLE] were now rooted
as never before in society. They founded new madrasas
in their tradition. By 1900, there were 30. [INAUDIBLE] community in the
form of [INAUDIBLE] opinions on [INAUDIBLE]. Muslims were encouraged to
write from all over South Asia with their questions. A [INAUDIBLE] office
would send out answers through the [INAUDIBLE]
postal service. [INAUDIBLE] set to work, set
to the work of translating the Quran [INAUDIBLE]
and books [INAUDIBLE] transferred in Islamic
tradition into [? Urdu ?] and other [INAUDIBLE] languages. They read books which reinforced
their reformist understandings, biographies, collected poems,
pamphlets on contested issues as well as comprehensive
[INAUDIBLE] to reports [INAUDIBLE]. South Asian Muslims
had avoided [INAUDIBLE] until the 19th century. And now, everything
was published lockstep to reach the widest
possible market at the cheapest possible price. [INAUDIBLE] printing
presses and booksellers. So, too, was the [INAUDIBLE]. Where? As [INAUDIBLE] shows, Islamic
publishing was big business. These [INAUDIBLE] stood
up for their faith, engaging in [INAUDIBLE] debates
with Christian missionaries and Hindu revivalists. Moreover, as they
spread into the casbahs and local communities
in South Asia, they proved their
reforms [INAUDIBLE] and illustrated what it meant
by the way in which they themselves behaved. At this point, we should note
that although the tide was with them, the reformists
were not merely producers of religious
leadership as [INAUDIBLE] of Western dominance. There were little [INAUDIBLE],
the followers of [INAUDIBLE]. They believed in [INAUDIBLE] and
followed many other practices, which [INAUDIBLE]. Theirs was a religious
practice which embraced the deeply
entrenched Sufi [INAUDIBLE] of the South Asian world. They, too, began
to found madrasas and produce literature
and [INAUDIBLE]. So, too, did the totally
new saint, the [INAUDIBLE], who emerged from a
cauldron of economic change and religious competition in
the late19th century Punjab. [INAUDIBLE] saying
that he was the Messiah of Christian and
Muslim traditions as well as being an avatar
of Christian [INAUDIBLE]. Apart from this, his beliefs
were not very different from those of the reformists,
except that he [INAUDIBLE]. This may seem anathema
to most Muslims. But he gained far
more [INAUDIBLE] for their initial
work and still are. [INAUDIBLE] introduced to the
early attempts of South Asian Muslims, to rebuild
their society [INAUDIBLE] through the work of madrasas, as
you’re reaching out directly to [INAUDIBLE]. Let me now demonstrate what
happened to this initiative as the 20th century [INAUDIBLE]. Once [INAUDIBLE] the numbers
of the madrasas exploded. During the first part
of the 20th century, their number would
be less than 1,000. By the end of the century, there
were 80,000, perhaps many more. Accurate numbers are
hard to establish. Sometimes madrasas resisted
registration [INAUDIBLE] or primary schools to be
registered, which would not produce fully [INAUDIBLE]. Nevertheless, although we cannot
be precise about the number, we can be sure that they had
vastly increased and well out of proportion to the
increase in population. Let us consider this process
in slightly greater detail. In Pakistan and [INAUDIBLE],
there were abo 189 madrasas. By 2002, there were at least
10,000 of which 7,000 were [INAUDIBLE] and 1,600
were [INAUDIBLE]. The reasons for their
growth were [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] madrasas,
not just education, but all their sons [INAUDIBLE]. The state would spend three
times over the [INAUDIBLE] education [INAUDIBLE] allowed
satisfactory public education [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] funding
for the madrasas, an enabling environment under
the Islam [INAUDIBLE] regime of General
[INAUDIBLE], were used to make both Pakistan
and the Western madrasa and their human
materials to resist the invasion of the Russian
invasion of Afghanistan and the growing men they
had from the 1980s as pools of supporters for those engaged
in Pakistan’s increasingly sectarian politics Many were the forces driving
the growth of madrasas. But before we leave Pakistan,
we should note one particular [INAUDIBLE] That is the work
of the madrasas in creating a Sunni infrastructure
in Eastern Iran. [INAUDIBLE] and Paris
has recently demonstrated [INAUDIBLE] in Karachi, in Iran,
and [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE]. Through here, with the
support of both [INAUDIBLE] and a revolutionary regime,
they spread their madrasas through the region and into
[INAUDIBLE] and Central Asia. Under Khomeini, they
were given permission to run their own sharia courts. It would appear the
central government in Tehran preferred to deal with
law-abiding Sunni [INAUDIBLE] as regional
representatives rather than with their
fractious [INAUDIBLE]. The outcome was the further
spread of the infrastructure of a Sunni Islamic society. In Bangladesh,
madrasas have always been part of the [INAUDIBLE]. There are two main types,
the [INAUDIBLE] madrasas, which are self-funded and
teach secular subjects alongside the Quran
and [INAUDIBLE], and the [INAUDIBLE]
madrasas, And therefore, primary [INAUDIBLE] and focusing
on a religious curriculum. Between 1972 and 2002,
the earlier madrasas grew [INAUDIBLE]
to well over 8,000. And the [INAUDIBLE] madrasas
from 1,500 to maybe 12,000. Amongst the recent [INAUDIBLE]
were failure of the state, as in Pakistan, to provide
[INAUDIBLE] education at the lowest levels of society,
the enabling atmosphere created by the [INAUDIBLE] regime
of General [INAUDIBLE] as he sought legitimacy after
[INAUDIBLE], the remittances of Bangladesh’s migrant workers
as they sought escapability in their village by supporting
religious education, and the work of large
numbers of Islamic engineers. As in Pakistan, some madrasas
and their [INAUDIBLE] organizations became
caught up with politics. Some, for instance, on the
borders of [INAUDIBLE], became involved in [INAUDIBLE]. In England, it would appear
that the number of madrasas had risen from a few hundred
[INAUDIBLE] to over 40,000 with the beginning
of this century. In explaining this,
we need to remember the poverty of Indian
Muslims, who are for the most part an oppressed minority. As in Pakistan and Bangladesh,
madrasas may [INAUDIBLE]. There a said to be 30
million school aged children not in school. But the Muslims by preserving
[? Urdu ?] and Muslim manners as they teach successful
madrasas subjects, they also preserve identity. Indian [INAUDIBLE], although
right-wing Hindi politicians have not been served [INAUDIBLE]
madrasas [INAUDIBLE]. One of the elements
of an Islamic society, which the madrasa world
in India has supported, is the Imarat
Shariah organization of the states of Bihar,
Jharkhand, and Orissa. Founded in 1921, in the
[INAUDIBLE] of the [INAUDIBLE] corporation [INAUDIBLE] it
established the separate [INAUDIBLE] structure
outside the [INAUDIBLE] state to administer Islamic law. This [INAUDIBLE] survived
[INAUDIBLE] The organization arbitrates between litigants
as a traditional party might have done. [INAUDIBLE] power to
enforce [INAUDIBLE] social pressure to enforce it. It is [INAUDIBLE] organization,
which so far [INAUDIBLE]. So the number of
madrasas in South Asia has grown substantially. In principle, this has
meant a significant increase in those able to support the
infrastructure of Islamic society. How much weight we should give
to this is difficult to say. The numbers of madrasas
maybe give an indication of the possible number of
madrasa students, which might then have run
100 per institution to over 3,000 or more. Equally, we don’t
know how many students persist to the end
of their course and emerge as fully
fledged [INAUDIBLE]. Nevertheless, we can be sure
that the numbers of those able to play a part
is the [INAUDIBLE] as sustaining Islamic society
have increased substantially. This said, the foundation of
madrasas and the education of increasing
numbers of alderman were not the only [INAUDIBLE]
of building an Islamic society in [INAUDIBLE]. There were also
movements designed to fashion correct
behavior [INAUDIBLE] piety in society [INAUDIBLE]. One of these was the
[INAUDIBLE] or [INAUDIBLE], which focused on reforming the
individual and by this means, society at large. It was founded in 1927
by a [INAUDIBLE] Mohammad [INAUDIBLE]. He wished to rescue
Muslims who [INAUDIBLE] recently converted to Hinduism. Under this, there grew a
vigorous Muslim missionary movement to Muslims at large. The basic [INAUDIBLE] was
to call Muslims to improve their Islamic standing. While [INAUDIBLE] paid
their own expenses, they formed themselves in
groups of 10 [INAUDIBLE]. They then went into
a specific area. And by what they preached,
how they dressed, and how they behaved, called
their fellow Muslims to Islam. All was modeled on the example
of the Prophet Mohammad. Now, [INAUDIBLE]
agreed to get a day of the week, a weekend every
month, for 40 days a year to the cause of preaching. And [INAUDIBLE], though
no one can be sure, membership records do not exist. The most widely [INAUDIBLE]
Islam with 100 to 150 [? members. ?] It’s
[INAUDIBLE] which is said to be sources
of great blessings to those who have done
them attract vast numbers, over 1 million at Calcutta
In India and 1.5 million at [INAUDIBLE] in Pakistan,
and over 3 million at [INAUDIBLE] in Bangladesh. [INAUDIBLE] support
from all classes, from Pakistan, for instance,
from leading generals and politicians, down
to humble apprentices. There are other Islamic
movements, for instance, the [INAUDIBLE] founded by
journalist and Islamic thinker [INAUDIBLE] This
organization was fashioned an elite vanguard of
the pure to transform Islamic society within it. Its branches in Pakistan,
India, and Bangladesh have relatively few members. Prospective members have to
pass rigorous tests to belong. But it does have millions of
[? supervisors, ?] particularly amongst the university educated. And the missionary
technically served an approach towards women’s
activism [INAUDIBLE] now embraces their support. It runs women’s organizations,
women’s unions, [INAUDIBLE] with Islamic messages. Its prime concern is to
use the power of the state to press forward its
Islamic [INAUDIBLE] It recognizes that women
[INAUDIBLE] than men. Yet another movement is,
[INAUDIBLE] a [INAUDIBLE] ], which has made considerable
purchase amongst the middle and upper class
women in Pakistan. [INAUDIBLE], an
Arabic scholar, who comes out if [INAUDIBLE]
background is not popular with the [INAUDIBLE]. They do not like a woman taking
the lead in religious teaching. They’re also unhappy about
the privileged backgrounds of the other [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE] how South
Asia under the [INAUDIBLE] and under the independent
regime that followed, Muslims, for the most part
without political power have taken control
of the business of fashioning an
Islamic society. Direct knowledge of
scripture working together with the individual
[INAUDIBLE] was [INAUDIBLE]. Tens of thousands of madrasas
funded by popular subscription have helped to supply
the infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands
of students who [INAUDIBLE] of learning
poured out of these schools to act as a [INAUDIBLE]
particularly for the learned in society. [INAUDIBLE] has made vast
numbers of Islamic works available in vernacular
languages and cheap form. The word of preaching
has been carried forward with great vigor by ordinary
men and are increasing by women. These developments, of
course, have made [INAUDIBLE]. In some cases, madrasas have
made supporters [INAUDIBLE], and indeed, Islamic miltants. The [INAUDIBLE] has chief
positions of influence and occasionally been a
member of governing coalitions in both Pakistan and Bangladesh. Islamic vocabulary
has increasingly become part of the
political discourse. Political scientists
will likely point out that there are many factors,
both political and geopolitical behind the Islamization of
the politics and Pakistan and Bangladesh since the 1970s. But I have no doubt that
part of the explanation lies in the construction of
Islamic society’s [INAUDIBLE]. The same processes will
be at work in India. But the situation of
Muslims as a relatively small and oppressed minority
has meant that their expression [INAUDIBLE]. Let us now turn to Turkey. You’ll recall that
under Ataturk, much of the
infrastructure of Islam was [INAUDIBLE] in society. Yet, as in South Asia, Turkey
[INAUDIBLE] a remarkable rebuildng of its Islamic
structure [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE]. In this case, a process
[INAUDIBLE] nothing [INAUDIBLE]. It was the work of
Sunnis who survived Ataturk and the private piety
of millions of individuals. As it happened, the initial
spark of this process came from South Asia. The most important
Sufi order, in terms of building an Islamic
society in the 20th century, has been the [INAUDIBLE]. In the early 17th century,
the [INAUDIBLE] in India had experienced an
important renewal under [INAUDIBLE] of India who I
have mentioned briefly earlier. His specific arguments
were [INAUDIBLE] to religious [INAUDIBLE] of the
modern emperors, [INAUDIBLE]. They were contained
in his [INAUDIBLE], his collected [INAUDIBLE]
models and [INAUDIBLE]. Specifically, they supported
his release [INAUDIBLE] of God against various
supporters of [INAUDIBLE]. He was given the title
Mujaddid or [INAUDIBLE] of the second
millennium of Islam. The [INAUDIBLE] is
known as the mujaddid. In the early 19th
century, [INAUDIBLE] tradition inspired
[INAUDIBLE] first to come to India
[INAUDIBLE] and then to [INAUDIBLE] his own formation
of the nationality [INAUDIBLE] This is [INAUDIBLE] from
the renewal of Islam and resistance to Western
economic political penetration. It had [INAUDIBLE] courses
and [INAUDIBLE] the Crimea, and Istanbul. In the order,
Syrians [INAUDIBLE] remained a central [INAUDIBLE]. All the [INAUDIBLE]
manifestations of 20th century Turkey
flowed from the [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] Turgut
Ozal, Prime Minister who liberalized the Turkish
economy in the 1980s was a [INAUDIBLE]. And [INAUDIBLE]. Let me introduce you
to three offshoots of [INAUDIBLE] which have been
building Turkish [INAUDIBLE]. The first is the
Sulaymaniyya, the followers of Sheikh Suleyman Hilmi
Tunahan, who died in 1959. With 4 million followers, they
represent the second largest Islamic group in Turkey. Their prime concern
was [INAUDIBLE] a traditional [INAUDIBLE]
Ottoman Islamic society against both
[INAUDIBLE] materialism and those who wished
to unite [INAUDIBLE] to political power [INAUDIBLE]. In [INAUDIBLE], there would
need to be [INAUDIBLE] the text, in particular
[INAUDIBLE], in order to build an inner resistance
to secular development. At the same time, although
harassed by the authorities, they trained men to be
imams and preachers. From the mid-20th
century, they increasingly operated more [INAUDIBLE]. They worked with the democrat
government in the 1950s in establishing Imam Hatip
schools, now half funded by the state to train prayer
leaders and preachers. From the 1980s, they focused
on particularly on youth, to writing scholarships
for university students. And the largest and best
equipped student [INAUDIBLE]. Their main supporters came from
the growing and increasingly wealthy Turkish middle class. Power, by the industrialization
of [INAUDIBLE] from the 1960s and by the liberalization of the
Turkish economy from the 1980s. The most powerful, of
course, in building Turkey’s Islamic
society [INAUDIBLE] has been the Nursia, the
followers of Said Badiuzzeman Nursi, who died in 1960. [INAUDIBLE] In South
East and Turkey. A brilliant young man,
he tried unsuccessfully to dissuade the Ottomans
[INAUDIBLE] money [INAUDIBLE] to support foundation
of the university [INAUDIBLE] teaching both
modern science and Islam. He was also a supporter of
the young Turk revolution. He had an excellent
record in World War I, fighting the Russians
and Eastern Anatolia, and was a strong supporter
of the subsequent Turkish liberation strike. But in 1923, he separated
from the [INAUDIBLE] regime when he heard [INAUDIBLE]
Ataturk’s [INAUDIBLE] was to separate the modern
Turkish state in society from the Islam heritage. He went through a
major spiritual crisis. Assisted by reading
[INAUDIBLE] among other works, he came to realize
that man could only serve one [INAUDIBLE]. He left the [INAUDIBLE]
regime in Ankara and returned to [INAUDIBLE]
for a life of contemplation, writing, and
spiritual leadership. He now understood
that the rejuvenation of Islamic society in
Turkey must be carried out at the level of the individual. He aimed to fashion a new
Turkish Islamic settlement, which would be
reflective and which would be able to resist
the destructive power of nationalism and materialism. So just as [INAUDIBLE]
Muslims in India wanted to fashion an individual
[INAUDIBLE] conscience as the basis of an Islamic
society under British rule, so the [INAUDIBLE]
Nursi did the same in Turkish society [INAUDIBLE]. He was [INAUDIBLE]
to return [INAUDIBLE] and frequently imprisoned. His means of transmitting his
ideas was his [INAUDIBLE], his commentary on the Quran. As people were permitted
to read his writings, they could not be printed. He said they were copied by
hand and delivered through much of Turkish society. It’s said that as many as
600,000 copies of [INAUDIBLE]. Come the 1960s,
Nursi’s followers would come together
in [INAUDIBLE] a special apartment
[INAUDIBLE] in which they would read out loud
passages from writings and discuss them. The readings have involved
the continuous process of interpretation in
relation to [INAUDIBLE]. The late [INAUDIBLE] would
[INAUDIBLE] to which of their [INAUDIBLE] was best. Particularly, they might include
small businessmen, lawyers, teachers, and students. Discussion would normally
be led by layman. Government paid religious
functionaries were not taken seriously. In this environment,
[INAUDIBLE]. Businessman might do business. But the [INAUDIBLE] a shared
Islamic world and a heightened community conscience. In regards to the
business of court, it’s not surprising from
the 1980s [INAUDIBLE] jurors consistently
defended [INAUDIBLE] liberalizing policies
and the withdrawal of the state from the
education and economic spheres. By the early 21st
century, the Nurcus had 5 million followers
and 5,500 [INAUDIBLE]. They had the largest number of
educated supporters in Turkey and also the strongest
support among [INAUDIBLE]. To add to this, they developed
major positions in publishing and in the [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE], which in fact is
a branch of the Nurcu movement, is that of Fethullah
Gulen, [INAUDIBLE] known as the community
of Fethullah Gulen. It’s said to be the most
influential Muslim movement in [INAUDIBLE] Turkey. Comes from a [INAUDIBLE] Russia
Gulen grew up regarding Islam and the state as prepared
to listen to his word. The son of a
religious functionary, he went to work with the
director of religious affairs. By the mid-1960s, he
[INAUDIBLE] developed his vision for enabling Islam to work as a
[INAUDIBLE] in Turkish society. To put this into
practice, he aimed not to create a new
class of [INAUDIBLE], but a new class of
intellectuals rooted in the Turkish
Islamic tradition, but also able to engage with
European enlightened thought. These intellectuals,
moreover, were not to be the [INAUDIBLE] Islamic
self-passionates of [INAUDIBLE] Muslim, but Muslims
of action, Muslims who would realize their
faith by action in the world. With this constant
theme [INAUDIBLE] action, which [INAUDIBLE]
he [INAUDIBLE] the mobilizing
concept [INAUDIBLE] and protecting good
work and [INAUDIBLE] seeking God’s
appreciation [INAUDIBLE]. Like the Suleymaniyyas
and Nurcus, supporters came from the
increasingly large and wealthy Turkish middle class. Alongside the
businessman and teachers, there were growing numbers
of Germans, [INAUDIBLE] from the [INAUDIBLE] of
[INAUDIBLE] Prime Minister Turgut Ozal, who saw
value in the fact that [INAUDIBLE] was
both a nationalist Muslim but had no desire to
make Islam [INAUDIBLE]. Ozal’s liberalizing
of the Turkish system enabled Gulen’s move into
the media, his establishment of the national
newspaper, Zaman, and the national
television channel, Zaman [INAUDIBLE]
He also [INAUDIBLE] to establish business
associations, and most of all,
education institutions. Education was at the
heart of his mission. This is the way an
activist Islamic party was to be established. As it’s not possible
to teach religion outside the [INAUDIBLE] school,
Gulen taught Islam [INAUDIBLE]. His education
network [INAUDIBLE] supports 6,000 teachers,
200 high schools, about 80 university
[INAUDIBLE] schools, and seven universities in
Turkey and Turkish Central Asia. English is the primary
language in the classroom. And his students are notably
successful in getting into university. These formal institutions
are supported by widespread informal
networks of [INAUDIBLE]. The college students
provide religious education and education and social
support to their peers. Such has been Gulen’s
success that governments have become concerned about
the size of these organizations within the state. The consequence, even though he
defended the military crackdown after the [INAUDIBLE]
coup of 1997. The military regime
was against it. And he was forced into
exile in this country. In 2015, [INAUDIBLE]
Erdogan, who was [INAUDIBLE] in the [INAUDIBLE]
party, Gulen had supported throughout
the 21st century, decided that Gulen’s
followers had too strong a
position [INAUDIBLE] and began the witch
hunt against them. Last weekend, Erdogan closed
Gulen [INAUDIBLE] National [INAUDIBLE]. So the Turks have built
a major Islamic presence in civil society
in spite of that and in spite of the
[? commandist ?] regimes which succeed. It is a presence
which has nothing to do with the administration of
[INAUDIBLE] which was abolished by [INAUDIBLE] But it
does have something to do with Islamic [INAUDIBLE]. The numbers being trained
in Imam Hatip schools rose from 220,000 in 1983
to over 500,000 in 1997. On the other hand,
it is a presence that has altered with the
internalization of Islamic [INAUDIBLE] by all participants
and their expression in [INAUDIBLE]. A measure of
[INAUDIBLE] in society is the way in which
[INAUDIBLE] Erdogan’s Islamically rooted Justice
and Development Party as been able since 2002 to keep
the [INAUDIBLE] in the army on the margins [INAUDIBLE]. Another [INAUDIBLE], though
slightly [INAUDIBLE], is the way in which Erdogan was
able to offer the [INAUDIBLE] states during their spring the
model [INAUDIBLE] as a secular state ruled by an
Islamic rooted party. As I indicated in the
beginning of this lecture, the processes we see taking
place in South Asia and Turkey can also be seen at work
elsewhere in the Muslim world. While they’re always
subject to the pressures of local political [INAUDIBLE]. Indonesia and Dutch rule,
similar to the madrasas and Islamic organization
for that in South Asia. From 1912, they developed
the [INAUDIBLE], an organization stimulated
by the general process of Islamic reform and
expressing an Islamic piety, very simple [INAUDIBLE]. Now it supports
nearly 6,000 schools and has 29 million members. In opposition to the
[INAUDIBLE], a second group, the [INAUDIBLE] was
founded in 1926. Its views are very
close to [INAUDIBLE]. Now, operating on outside
the framework of the state, it claims to have
nearly 7,000 schools, to own 44 universities, and
to have 50 million members. In the 1980s, as
General [INAUDIBLE] began to be militarized into
new forms of dictatorship, he began to court the
huge Islamic presence in Indonesia’s civil society. He promoted Islamic [INAUDIBLE],
supported the development of a coded Islamic
law, [INAUDIBLE] and lifting the ban on
[INAUDIBLE] in schools and government offices. He even went on [INAUDIBLE]
changing his name to [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] beginning of
his reign, [INAUDIBLE] felt able to be
[INAUDIBLE] sensitivities, the sheer presence of
Islam in civic society meant that as time
went on, he had to pay it increasing attention. Egypt offers another example
of Islamization [INAUDIBLE]. Here, [INAUDIBLE] for
government employees but from Muslim
[INAUDIBLE] in the context of his rule in 1928,
Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim
Brotherhood to instill the Quran and the [INAUDIBLE]
as the sole reference point of altering the life
of the Muslim [INAUDIBLE], community, and state. His aim was to drop Western
influence immediately. This has been the aim
of the Brotherhood, influenced by the ideas of
South Asia’s [INAUDIBLE] from the 1950s down to present. Primarily funded by
ties from his member to its work in
supporting pro-Egyptians, it won widespread support from
his students and middle classes as well as the wo class. Measures of his
support [INAUDIBLE] Egypt’s referendum
in 1981, which voted to make the sharia
the sole source of law, and the elections
of the Arab Spring, we saw the Muslim Brotherhood’s
political doing, [INAUDIBLE] in a party in the
Egyptian parliament. And election of the
unfortunate Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s president in
1912– sorry, 2012. As we know, the
Egyptian military have overturned these results. From what they say about
how Egyptians have built their Islamic society from
below remains unchanged. The capacity to develop and
build an Islamic society today over the
past 200 years have meant that Islam has
been particularly well-equipped to establish
itself in new regions where the state is either
neutral or hostile. Most of the [INAUDIBLE]
organizations covered in this lecture have
spread Islamic communities into Europe and North America. In Europe, where there are
[INAUDIBLE] in 2014, roughly 44 million Muslims, the
Muslims are [INAUDIBLE] all the South
Asian organizations are significantly present. In North America, a
particular prize, [INAUDIBLE] to be the first American
Muslim community and building in Detroit the
first [INAUDIBLE] mosque in the United States. So this [INAUDIBLE]
community has been active in establishing
charter schools. Not any, to my knowledge,
has taken from the state. [INAUDIBLE] taken a hand. Saddam Hussein supplied a
mosque in Birmingham, England, and the Saudis
[INAUDIBLE] schools. I’ve tried to give you a picture
of how, over the past 200 years, Muslim societies
without political power have built these [INAUDIBLE]
societies [INAUDIBLE]. Of course, Muslims
have always contributed to the Islamic infrastructure
of their society. But the loss of power made
it crucial that they did so. The achievement in
the past few centuries has often involved turning
inwards to fashion [INAUDIBLE] and to develop the individual
conscience as the basis of a Muslim society. Moreover, as time
has gone on, there’s been the requirement
that the [INAUDIBLE] should be an activist. The achievement has also
involved massive projects in education at all levels,
a willingness to embrace [INAUDIBLE]. In particular, print has
driven the process forward. So, too, has the willingness of
millions of individual Muslims who invest their resources
of time and money. There have been
many acts of courage as individual Muslims have faced
imprisonment, torture, or death at the hands of secular,
unusually dictatorial regimes. The fashion in Islamic
societies from below would be a profound achievement
suggest if people address their questions
directly to Professor Robinson. And we have about a
good 15, 20 minutes, if you stay that long for this. [INAUDIBLE] suggestion. So I’m going to ask
the first question. Yes. SPEAKER 1: I’m happy to
ask the first question. Professor, this [INAUDIBLE]
Muslims intensely you know, engaged with the best
and the most [INAUDIBLE]. So [INAUDIBLE] a picture of
how happened at the [INAUDIBLE] organizers in political Islam
and [? Islam ?] [INAUDIBLE]. But I’m also wondering how
does content [INAUDIBLE]. So if you take the
example of the [INAUDIBLE] which, of course, lived in
[INAUDIBLE] society– so even as [INAUDIBLE] community,
how much content was there [INAUDIBLE]
representatives of the [INAUDIBLE] state. And how did the interactions
with [INAUDIBLE] representatives of the
[INAUDIBLE] state [INAUDIBLE] at this very [INAUDIBLE]. Could you tell us a little
bit more about this. FRANCIS ROBINSON: Well, that’s
an interesting question. First of all, I don’t think
we should restrict things to the [INAUDIBLE] state. SPEAKER 1: Yeah. FRANCIS ROBINSON:
We need to remember that there are missionaries. SPEAKER 1:
Missionaries, scholars. Yeah. FRANCIS ROBINSON:
[INAUDIBLE] But missionaries are a pretty [INAUDIBLE]
presence in [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] you had [INAUDIBLE]
missionaries actually speaking to you on the street rather
the Salvation Army [INAUDIBLE]. So certainly any one who
at least state the fact that there was a substantial
foreign presence, whether it was presence of
missionaries, whether it was the fact that
you knew there was [INAUDIBLE] and important things
in your life took place there. Of course, you’ve also been
reprimanded [INAUDIBLE] in the middle [INAUDIBLE]. And the way in which
the mutiny uprising [INAUDIBLE] enormous power,
which the British could wield if they chose to. So I really regard
the suppression of the mutiny uprising
as a major [INAUDIBLE]. But just remember what happens
in some of the big cities. Huge areas [INAUDIBLE]. The whole of the area in which
the old model nobody seems to live in outside [INAUDIBLE]
and [INAUDIBLE], that was completely [INAUDIBLE], too. So you had some very
graphic examples of power. Certainly, if you look
at the [INAUDIBLE], they’re very aware
of the presence. And many of them are
sayings [INAUDIBLE] doings and saying actually involved how
they felt, wisely or unwisely, with the British presence. So I offer you three examples. Another example would
be the court system. [INAUDIBLE] developed the
massive market in land, [INAUDIBLE] trying to get
land in the hands of people who actually produce. That means there’s a
constant process [INAUDIBLE]. So you’re very aware
that through the court procedures, who [INAUDIBLE]
lands [INAUDIBLE]. So I don’t think the
British [INAUDIBLE] or state was [INAUDIBLE]
and sometimes you can be [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 2: Question. Is some of the [INAUDIBLE]– FRANCIS ROBINSON: Sorry,
I’m a little deaf. Can you speak up a little? SPEAKER 2: Excuse me. Some of the messianic
movements, like the [INAUDIBLE] in the Sudan, would that
fit in with this development you were talking about
with these [? peasants? ?] FRANCIS ROBINSON:
Well, not really. The [INAUDIBLE]
movement in the Sudan does belong to the
[INAUDIBLE] direct connections between Sufi leadership in
[INAUDIBLE] in the [INAUDIBLE]. You could see this as a
way of [INAUDIBLE] here is the [INAUDIBLE]
movement is actually directed against Egyptian
rule, but not necessarily against British rule. Although, British rule is
there in the background. What could happen to
a [INAUDIBLE] movement in [INAUDIBLE]. That I [INAUDIBLE] as you
see from what I’ve said, I don’t tie it in
[INAUDIBLE] class. But you could
certainly tie it in. Yeah. SPEAKER 3: Thank you very much. It actually gave
me a big picture of these various
Islamic societies and [INAUDIBLE] below. And I really appreciated
how you tied it all together with this sense of a lost power. And then when you
ended, you said that one thing that was common
to this rise of [INAUDIBLE] below was the focus of
an individual notions of piety community. Now, I want to hear
a little bit more first about the period
between 1970 to now. FRANCIS ROBINSON: 19– SPEAKER 3: 1970 to now. So not so much the
[INAUDIBLE] caliphate, but [INAUDIBLE] just
ask you a little bit about the difference between
these different societies. Because I couldn’t
tell from the analysis that you presented
aside from the fact that the Turkish one was
[INAUDIBLE] and the salvation one was more [INAUDIBLE] I couldn’t grasp what
the major differences might be in these different
Islamic societies. And what’s [INAUDIBLE]
ramifications of these differences are
particularly for [INAUDIBLE]? Because you talked about the
past [INAUDIBLE] statistics [INAUDIBLE] But I’m
trying to grapple not so much with what is the
same, but what is different. FRANCIS ROBINSON: [INAUDIBLE]. Of course, [INAUDIBLE]
they’re numerous [INAUDIBLE] And so they were not
different [INAUDIBLE] Nevertheless, if you
like, the attitudes which were developed
in [INAUDIBLE] with the British
presence, that is a compilation of the
[INAUDIBLE] that you’re going to make an
Islamist society has to be to kind of
contemplating the inner cell. You can’t create it outside. They do have some [INAUDIBLE]
That trajectory turns out to be extremely useful in
[INAUDIBLE] for independence [INAUDIBLE]. But nevertheless, they can
through self [INAUDIBLE] continue to create a
[? forward ?] [INAUDIBLE] society. What I find fascinating
is that you lose power, where do you get the resources
in order to replace power. And I found no basis
of self [INAUDIBLE], which takes place over in Turkey
and in South Asia, perhaps [INAUDIBLE]. Now, you’re also
tempted to say, well, what’s the difference between
India and Pakistan [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 3: All of these. I mean, there’s so many
different [INAUDIBLE] Turkey, Indonesia, India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh. [INAUDIBLE] And I see
the similarities, but– FRANCIS ROBINSON: OK. Well, I can only speculate. I can’t tell you [INAUDIBLE]. I’m going to speculate
that [INAUDIBLE] But nevertheless,
particular ways of being oughtn’t change in
the [INAUDIBLE]. I would suggest there could
be more about what [INAUDIBLE] in Pakistan today we might
find a much less [INAUDIBLE] approach to how we operate. Because in a sense, they’re
ready to [INAUDIBLE] power in Pakistan [INAUDIBLE]. They don’t have to
operate in same way. But I’m afraid I can’t
tell you that. I think is a very
good [INAUDIBLE] encouraging you to think
about these changes. And as you probably
know, many people when considering the
traditions of their [INAUDIBLE] are deeply shocked
by what has happened in madrasas based in
North [INAUDIBLE] where some very different ways
of thinking [INAUDIBLE]. So the context is [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 4: [INAUDIBLE]
whether this opposition between state and society. You discussed [INAUDIBLE]
with [INAUDIBLE], Asia, Egypt, but especially in [INAUDIBLE]. And you, yourself, [INAUDIBLE]. FRANCIS ROBINSON: I’m
just not hearing you. I’ll have to [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 4: Am I not
speaking loud enough? Or am I speaking too fast? FRANCIS ROBINSON: I
don’t know. [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 4: No, I
[INAUDIBLE] matters of state and Muslim
state problems within political states, India,
Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey. And I wonder especially in
[INAUDIBLE] last few decades whether this problem
in a state and society is, in fact, more complicated. For example, you
gave the example of how Pakistan madrasas
were [INAUDIBLE] against the Soviets. [INAUDIBLE] Afghanistan. And you also
mentioned how the West was [INAUDIBLE], for
example, [INAUDIBLE] the US. For example, in the case
of [INAUDIBLE] and Erdogan, the only cause you gave
was [INAUDIBLE] question of corruption. FRANCIS ROBINSON:
What’s the question? SPEAKER 4: Well, the
question is this. So right now, especially
with Saudi Arabia [INAUDIBLE] Islamic state [INAUDIBLE],
you have external states between deeply
implicated in what seems to be the
bottom [INAUDIBLE] So it’s not just
within the [INAUDIBLE] state, but [INAUDIBLE]. FRANCIS ROBINSON: I did
actually mention that. SPEAKER 4: Did you? FRANCIS ROBINSON: I [INAUDIBLE]
you might have missed it. But I did mention
the [INAUDIBLE], in Bangladesh, and also the
entrance of the Saudis madrasas [INAUDIBLE] SPEAKER 4: Yes. [INAUDIBLE] apart from
individual examples, are more or less
becoming the norm, where rulers from [INAUDIBLE]
foreign states, not just Islam [INAUDIBLE]. FRANCIS ROBINSON:
Well, I think one has to be careful
about operating in a sweeping [INAUDIBLE]. For intsance, [INAUDIBLE]. Are you going to suggest any
says that [INAUDIBLE] do anything, [INAUDIBLE]
let’s be careful [INAUDIBLE]. Sorry, go ahead. SPEAKER 5: Yeah, my question
is about your characterization of this as a [INAUDIBLE]. FRANCIS ROBINSON:
Sorry, [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 5: My question is
about your characterization of this as a [INAUDIBLE]. Because I could tell a
similar story [INAUDIBLE]. I notice [INAUDIBLE]
professor, which would be much more akin to all
the instrumentalist elitist reading of this, which
is the Muslim politics, like ethno-nationalism,
which can [INAUDIBLE] whether they’re in
the state or not. So I’ll give you a
couple of examples. In Pakistan and
Bangladesh, of course, you have these viziers, who
are [INAUDIBLE] the state, using Islam as a
resource to bolster its own kind of [INAUDIBLE]. Elsewhere, I’m sure you
could make a good case. For example, this is what
competing political parties do when they’re out of power. Or, [INAUDIBLE]
legitimacy, nobody notices any majority
identity to mobilize. So Bangladesh [INAUDIBLE]
is a nice example where [INAUDIBLE]
nationalism is framed around [INAUDIBLE]
identity is much more about the Islamic side of this. So I mean, could we not
tell the same story running around middle class elites. I mean, these are all
very well-educated. A lot of international
figures were acting as the ideological
mouthpieces of these movements. So is this not that
much of a [? leap, ?] competing for the same
resources and other resources, and managing to bring
them [INAUDIBLE] mobilizations
I would say no. There’s a difference. But [INAUDIBLE] equally
in [INAUDIBLE] That said, there was a time
when [INAUDIBLE] power [INAUDIBLE] I appreciate
your [INAUDIBLE] approach. But I think one
mustn’t be [INAUDIBLE] extraordinary [INAUDIBLE] of
institutions [INAUDIBLE] which society at large is [INAUDIBLE]. But if you want
to ignore that, I think you’re missing
something very [INAUDIBLE] SPEAKER 5: [INAUDIBLE]. FRANCIS ROBINSON: No. I think– I think
the point [INAUDIBLE] SPEAKER 6: I’d like to follow up
on some of these conversations. In regard to
[INAUDIBLE] firstly, the widespread allegations
the madrasas with [INAUDIBLE] and other [INAUDIBLE]
the militant [INAUDIBLE] political parties, we see
vast [INAUDIBLE] Saudi Arabia. And that has been going on
pretty much, since 1979, mobilization of that community. And the second
point about Pakistan that seems to challenge a little
bit the notion of the humility and responsibility part
is what is [INAUDIBLE]. Again, I don’t know
how this is mentioned. But what is widely reported
as widespread support for the [INAUDIBLE]
that target anyone who can be viewed as
insinuating anything to do against the thought
and [INAUDIBLE], which leads to a power differential
where local actors who, for whatever reason, with the
backing of larger networks, can silence people even
if they’re not actually executed and pretty
much end there. They’re [? processed. ?] So the few questions [INAUDIBLE]
funding of [INAUDIBLE] education and, of
course, [INAUDIBLE] and the alleged
widespread population of [? blasphemy ?]
[INAUDIBLE] that lead to extraordinary exercise
of power where individuals can basically [INAUDIBLE] and
[INAUDIBLE] and so just a thought on those two. FRANCIS ROBINSON: OK. [INAUDIBLE] and in addressing
the other question, I should have differentiated. Of course, the Saudis
have taken [INAUDIBLE] the extent to which that money
was also leaked elsewhere, [INAUDIBLE] I don’t know. Perhaps you do. SPEAKER 6: I [INAUDIBLE] know. I’m [INAUDIBLE]. FRANCIS ROBINSON: [INAUDIBLE]. SPEAKER 6: Yeah. FRANCIS ROBINSON: But
you’re quite right about the amount of
money [INAUDIBLE] Russian areas as
part pf the process of resisting the
Russian invasion. That said, [INAUDIBLE]. But I wouldn’t want
my [INAUDIBLE] in tends to be too thrown
off course by– we have to remember that I’m dealing
with a process that’s taking place. And certainly [INAUDIBLE]. And obviously, we had some
interesting developments [INAUDIBLE] which might
suggest that things are moving [INAUDIBLE] new [INAUDIBLE]
which things are moving in a different direction. But I’d still insist on the
extraordinary achievement of [INAUDIBLE] I think
it would be a pity. because we are aware
of money that’s supporting [INAUDIBLE] over
a particular [INAUDIBLE] to not acknowledge the
achievement of 150 years in [INAUDIBLE]. Your second point, [INAUDIBLE]
it was about the [INAUDIBLE]. apparently,
[INAUDIBLE] particular, I think usually accusations
of blasphemy often [INAUDIBLE] about people trying
to assert authority or about someone trying to
grab someone’s property. And then all sorts
of venal processes underpinning accusations
of blasphemy. [INAUDIBLE] But you were hoping, sir
to make a larger point? SPEAKER 6: The point
would be that despite what seems– from what
I get, at least in a specific human
rights reports by [INAUDIBLE] groups and
international groups has brought up [INAUDIBLE]
teacher wants the job of another teacher,
a [? class ?] [INAUDIBLE] the former teacher gets the job. That was the famous case of
a man called [? Gustav, ?] who And nobody’s
shocke [INAUDIBLE]. that would have been
relevant to the process. But my point is
there seems to be– why would the majority of
Pakistanis– again, reported– be in favor of a blasphemy
code and be against [INAUDIBLE] given the fact that it
seems to be used in the most irresponsible [INAUDIBLE] ways,
even if one thought that– FRANCIS ROBINSON: OK. Well, this is not what
I’m talking about today. But I would say a lot of
people are very private. [INAUDIBLE] as indeed some
of us here [INAUDIBLE]. And this is a society
in which no one has any patience for this. You really are [INAUDIBLE]. And if you’re a wise
person, you keep quiet. SPEAKER 6: I guess– I’ll try to
clarify my point one more time. If there was a movement from
below that [INAUDIBLE] that insists upon careful
scholarship and careful study, personal responsibility,
conscience, and humility, why isn’t that movement
making its presence known to defend on
It’s [INAUDIBLE]. I would suggest that perhaps
this movement [INAUDIBLE] which has humility, [INAUDIBLE]
isn’t perhaps [INAUDIBLE]– hasn’t infused [INAUDIBLE]
as deeply as one might think. So you don’t have all
those qualities [INAUDIBLE] as widespread [INAUDIBLE]. I suspect that’s where
the concept [INAUDIBLE]. MICHAEL SELLS: Yes. Before we take
perhaps a [INAUDIBLE] I would like to remind everyone
that there is a reception. and that we can continue
our discussion informally. And the reception would be
downstairs in the [INAUDIBLE] room. So please, go meet us there. And if you want– [INAUDIBLE] MICHAEL SELLS: So
it’s a pleasure to thank you for a really,
really riveting talk. And as you can see, one
that generated very engaged [INAUDIBLE]. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

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