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Islamic Themes in Kerem Oktem and Thomas Solomon Articles

“Being Muslim at the Margins Alevis and the AKP,” by Kerem Oktem

The author presents how the people of Tunceli province were festooned by the holiday wishes which were being celebrated at the same time. He presents the duties that were carried out by various people. For example, the author notes that, “the bearded men calling themselves Gaghand Baba (Father Christmas) pay visits to children and the elderly, offering them presents of sweets and pistachios” (Oktem 4).

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According to the author’s research, the historical accounts in the early twentieth century mention a ritual which was administered by the religious leaders at the same time, including the Holy Communion. Oktem indicates the common practices among different religions. For instance, Alevis in Turkey core religious heritage is normally Islamic and their beliefs are varied and syncretistic. Christians in Dersim pervade a heretical type of Islam with distant origins, as well as varying practices such as not praying in the mosques, not accepting Quran as a jurisprudence source, not fasting in Ramadan, and not making pilgrimage to Mecca. Just like the Alevis, these Christians do commemorate Imam Hussein martyrdom on Kabala plain as part of their traditions.

The author also shows the various languages which were used by these people. For instance, Dersimli Aleviswere using Indo-European language is referred to as Zazaki which is related to Persian and Kurdish. The author presents how Alevis resisted their state centralization until the republican government mounted air campaigns which destroyed many of them. The Alevis who survived have built mosques which were meant to cater for the government officials.

Despite all the differences among the people in the province, there is a clear indication that the author wanted us to understand, it is the importance of being together. In this case, there was no sex discrimination in the distribution of the sale of alcohol. As a result of their unity, these people managed to resist the centralization of the states. Many lost their lives and the survivors brought a lot of changes in the province. In my opinion, this article is very useful to people who would like to study various religious practices and how they are related to each other. The article presents a moral teaching in which we are urged not discriminate others. It also presents the importance of togetherness.

“Hardcore Muslims: Islamic Themes in Turkish Rap in Diaspora and in the Homeland” by Thomas Solomon

This article begins with discussing Islam which was being practiced in the 21stcentury. Solomon noted that Islam was practiced in many countries, and it is the second largest religion in the world. The author also portrays that, “rap music and hip-hop youth culture have also in their brief history achieved global status” (Solomon 59). Among Solomon’s findings, it is not a surprise that both Islam religion and rap music intersect in many ways. According to him, the music genres and the Islam religion have spread all over the world in a consistent manner. He noted that, “people and ideas move around, and people use the material and expressive resources at their disposal in practices of identity construction”( 59).

Recent researches on the globalization are presented in the article as well as the popular culture that provide a framework in exploring the ways in which people create Muslim identities through the rap music. In this article, the author presents numerous explorations on:

how local actors have re-interpreted and locally emplaced the objects and genres of global popular culture and how Afro- American rap music and hip-hop youth culture are locally emplaced in Tokyo, Istanbul, and Sydney, comparatively less attention has been paid to the other side of the globalization coin: how locally significant issues and discourses are adapted to and embodied in these globally circulating cultural forms (59).

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Solomon presents two case studies which show the identities of both Muslim and Islam diasporas, and a religion which is based in the discourses of the Turkish political Islam practiced in the homeland. He noted their differences and the only common thing in them is that, they draw a performer’s perceptions of rap genre to express oppositional identities.The author’s article seems very valid and by reading it, I feel very inspired to further investigate how Turkey rappers use varying idioms of rap music in creation of different subjectivities which can be referred as Muslim. I find this article useful since it presents many ways in which rap music and all types of music in general can be used to explore Islam religion.


The article by Kerem Oktem is about the practices carried out by various religions. The author gives a clear outline of Christian and Islam religions practices. He also compared and contrasted the practices of the two religions. According to the author, these practices brought about differences in their way of living which resulted into a war that left many people dead, but at the end of it all, they managed to live peacefully without discrimination.

The article by Thomas Solomon is about how music genres and in particular the rap music can be used globally to explore Islam religion. The author presents various researches done by different experts about Islam exploration.

Both articles have been well written with a good flow of ideas which can be easily followed by any interested reader. The language used is simple and easy to understand; hence they are fit for anyone who is interested in religious practices.

Works Cited

Oktem, Kerem. “Being Muslim at the Margins: Alevis and the AKP.” Middle East Reprot (2008): 5-7. Print.

Solomon, Thomas. “Hardcore Muslims: Islamic Themes in Turkish Rap in Diaspora and in the Homeland.” Yearbook for Traditional Music (2006): 59-78. Print.

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