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Der letzte Kreuzzug: Der 1. Weltkrieg und die Geburt des modernen Islam – ABC Religion & Ethics

Der letzte Kreuzzug: Der 1. Weltkrieg und die Geburt des modernen Islam

The Last Crusade: The First World War and the Birth of Modern Islam – ABC Religion & Ethics

Seeing all the commemorations of the First World War centennial, many might ask what relevance such distant struggles can have for the modern world. Why do they matter? But if they look at the world’s most dangerous storm centres today – in Iraq and Syria, across the Middle East and South Asia – they will get their answer. In these regions, as in so much of the world, the First World War created our reality.

Out of the political ferment immediately following the war came the most significant modern movements within Islam, including the most alarming forms of Islamist extremism. So did the separatism that eventually gave birth to the Islamic state of Pakistan and the heady new currents transforming Iranian Shi’ism. From this mayhem also emerged what would become the Saudi state, dominating the holy places and rooted in strictly traditional notions of faith.

When the war started, the Ottoman Empire was the only remaining Islamic nation that could even loosely claim Great Power status. Its rulers knew, however, that Russia and other European states planned to conquer and partition it. Seizing at a last desperate hope, the Ottomans allied with Germany. When they lost the war in 1918, the Empire dissolved. Crucially, in 1924, the new Turkey abolished the office of the Caliphate, which at that point dated back almost 1,300 years. That marked a trauma that the Islamic world is still fighting to come to terms with.   ……

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