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Islam in Kurdistan: Religious Communities and Their Practices in Contemporary Northern Iraq


“Kurdish Islam” – what is that? The adjective is derived from a noun that names a people and their languages living in Eastern Anatolia, Northeastern Syria, Northern Iraq, and Northwestern Iran. However, here it refers to only Iraqi Kurdistan. The noun refers to a religion. What a religion is and what Islam means is a much larger debate, which unfortunately cannot be covered here. For the purposes of this chapter “Islam in Kurdistan” actually refers to Muslim Kurdish society going back to the Tanzimat, an Ottoman set of legal reforms, which organized communities along religious divides. In particular, this article will examine what practices are considered outside of the scope of Islam and why. What constitutes the boundary? Unfortunately, a more detailed discussion of intra-Islamic discourses is beyond the scope of this chapter. Instead, it will focus on communal boundaries, social structures as they relate to religious institutions and authority, shifting alliances and their influences on religious beliefs and practices, and, finally, popular practices.

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Correspondence to Edith Szanto .

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Szanto, E. (2020). Islam in Kurdistan: Religious Communities and Their Practices in Contemporary Northern Iraq. In: Lukens-Bull, R., Woodward, M. (eds) Handbook of Contemporary Islam and Muslim Lives. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-73653-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-73653-2

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