Bruce: Cultural defence

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  • Bruce: Cultural defence
    • A function of religion is that it unites a community against an external threat and this often gives it a prominent role in politics.
    • Poland
      • It was under Communist rule imposed from the outside by the Soviet Union.
      • Although the Catholic Church didn't challenge the communist regime openly, it served as a popular rallying point for opposition.
        • For example: actively supporting the solidary free trade union movement that contributed to the fall of communism.
    • Iran
      • Western capitalist powers and oil companies had long had influence had influence in Iran.
        • This had a lot of involvement in the illegal overthrow of a democratic government in the 1950s to install a pro-Western regime headed by the Shah.
          • During the 1960s and 70s, his successor began embarking on policies of Westernisation and modernisation.
            • For example: Banning the hijab and replacing the Muslim calendar with one based on the founding of the Persian empire 2,500 years earlier.
            • Modernisation widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
            • Protest against them were suppressed.
      • Change was imposed rapidly and from above, often causing great suffering.
        • Under these conditions, Islam became a focus for resistance to the Shah's regime
          • The revolution of 1979 brought the creation of the Islamic Republic in which clerics held state power an were able to impose Islamic Sharia law on the country.
            • Haynes: Iranian revolution was not typical of politics in the Middle as it was led by "Mullahs," (religious leaders.)
              • In other middle eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the religious leadership is closely tied to the local elite, who in turn are tied to Western imperialism.

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