Browsing by Subject "Religion, Conflict and Dialogue"

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  • Martens, Jutta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Pariisissa 13. marraskuuta 2015 tapahtui seitsemän terrori-iskun sarja, jossa uhriluku nousi 129 henkeen ja loukkaantuneita oli noin 352. Terrori-isku sai paljon mediahuomiota osakseen ja sen takana oli terroristijärjestö ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Keskustelu eri sosiaalisen median kanavissa oli vilkasta iskujen jälkeen. Tämä Pro gradu –tutkielma keskittyy terrori-iskun jälkeiseen keskusteluun ja ihmisten ensireaktioihin Twitterissä. Koska aikaisempaa tutkimusta tämän tyyppisen kriisin ensireaktioista on hyvin rajallisesti, data, jota tässä tutkielmassa käsitellään, rajoittuu tviitteihin, jotka lähetettiin neljän päivän sisällä iskuista. Tutkimuksen tavoitteena oli mallintaa millaisia ensireaktioita ihmisillä oli Islamin nimeen tehtyjen terroristi-iskujen jälkeen, mitkä teemat tviiteissä nousivat esiin, mihin tarkoitukseen Twitteriä käytettiin ja minkälainen rooli uskonnolla oli ihmisten järkeistämisprosessissa (sense-making). Tämän tutkielman tutkimusstrategiana on tapaustutkimus. Data kerättiin Twitteristä Pulsar nimisellä työkalulla. Datan rajaamiseksi käytettiin aihetunnisteita #parisattack, #parisshooting ja #paristerror sekä ajallista ja kieleen liittyvää rajaamista. Tiedon analysoinnin metodina käytettiin sisältöanalyysia. Tutkimuksen perusteella, Twitteriä käytettiin laajasti Pariisin terrori-iskujen jälkeen ja tiedon jakamisen tarve korostui Twitterin ensireaktioissa. Muita syitä tviittaamiseen olivat mielipiteiden jakaminen tai hallitsevan tunteen ilmaiseminen. Uskonto esiintyi suhteellisen pienessä osassa tviittejä. Nämä löydökset tukevat aikaisempaa tutkimusta tiedon saamisen tärkeydestä alkuvaiheessa kriisitilanteen tapahduttua, ja siten selittää pientä uskontoa käsittelevien tviittien osuutta. Kun dataa tarkasteltiin vain uskontoaiheisten tviittien osalta, mielipiteiden osuus korostui. Suuri osa näistä tviiteistä pyrki edistämään rauhanomaista yhteisymmärrystä (concensus) pääviesteinään se, että Muslimeja, Islamia tai uskontoa ei ole syyttäminen terrori-iskuista. Toisaalta noin neljännes tviiteistä piti edellä mainittuja syyllisenä iskuihin ja pyrkivät aiheuttamaan vastakkainasettelua (confrontation). Nämä löydökset viittaavat siihen, että uskonto jakoi mielipiteitä ja siitä etsittiin syitä terrori-iskuihin. Tämän tutkimuksen mukaan uskonto oli osa ihmisten järkeistämisprosessia uskontoaiheisten tviittien pienestä lukumäärästä huolimatta.
  • Gillin, Joel (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This study is a descriptive account and analysis of the ideas and arguments of Canadian philosopher James K. A. Smith (1970 - ) in regard to religion and the secular. Using Smith’s published texts, the study examines some of the problems he sees with these concepts from different subfields of philosophy and evaluates Smith’s proposed solutions. The study begins with a discursive overview of the issues scholars face in the study of religion and the secular. Next, the study examines Smith’s engagement with theological traditions and postmodern thought to critique the epistemology and ontology of the secular, followed by Smith’s articulation of a “liturgical” anthropology as a model for understanding religion and secular practices. The final chapter explores the implications of Smith’s analysis and his advocacy of a post-secular approach to 1) the study of religion, 2) the public square, and 3) religious conflict. The study finds that Smith cogently employs postmodern thought to deconstruct the foundationalist epistemology of the secular. Furthermore, he argues that the secular relies upon an unsubstantiated ontology of closed, autonomous nature that gives secular theorizing and science an unwarranted privileged epistemic status. Modern philosophical anthropology is also found to be overly cognitive, and Smith proposes an original model emphasizing embodiment in which humans are desiring beings shaped by formative practices (“liturgies”). With these results, Smith’s post-secular approach to the study of religion shows that common distinctions between secular and religious beliefs and practices are misleading. A liturgical framework may provide better conceptual tools to locate and explain human behavior, including religious/secular violence, with some complications requiring further research. His analysis suggests a normative post-secularism which allows space for religious identities in the public sphere could potentially meet the challenges of pluralism and religious conflict.
  • Jibril, Taufiq Iddriss (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Radicalism, Fanaticism and Fundamentalism are few terms that have become not only popular, but also attributed to the Islamic religion after the tragic event of September 11, 2001. This event led to a surge of research on the linkages between Islam, Terrorism and the Middle East as the majority of the terrorist attacks and perpetrators were concentrated there. However, recent figures suggest that no single state can claim to be safe from terrorist attacks. The economy and the sociopolitical environment within Nigeria has been jeopardized and negatively impacted in the last eight years alone by the activities of a radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram. The sect is demanding the return of Nigeria to the fundamentals of Islam both socially and religiously. There is little doubt that young people play a significant role in the ranks of Boko Haram. It is from such revelation, that this study came about. This study sought to highlight aspects of the curricula of the Islamic educational system in Nigeria that may lead to insensitivity and intolerance against other religious groups and may contribute to paving the way for sectarian violence and religious motivated terrorism in Nigeria. Due to unavailability of primary source data that links Radicalization and Islamic education in Nigeria, the study relied on myriad of secondary literature on Islamic education in Nigeria and youth radicalization. The findings of this study have demonstrated that the Islamic educational curriculum in Nigeria provides an important tool for understanding the local youth radicalization. As part of the curricula, students learn Prophetic Biography which highlights the Prophet and his disciple’s bravery, valor and how their actions are favored by God. The highlighted features have been used to promote vilification and discrimination against non-Muslims. Additionally, this study has shown that Mallams and Religious leaders revered by their communities due to their knowledge of Islamic teachings occupy a position that can be used to foment sectarian conflict and violence. The findings of this study have also brought to light on the origin as well as content of some of the Islamic textbooks in Nigeria, in that they are donated by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States and with some having chapters that tend to create negativity and enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims. The study further demonstrates that the activities and utterances of rogue preachers on Islamic superiority over other religions are prone to lead to vilification and discrimination against non-Muslims. Finally, the study has shown that even though the primers of the Islamic educational system in Nigeria are not about wars they are likely to have contributed to an increased ideological intolerance for Non-Muslims that has paved the way for sectarian violence and religious motivated terrorism in Nigeria.
  • Rivinoja, Suvi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This Master’s thesis examines how societal power is exercised and negotiated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the media in contemporary Finnish society. Conducting a critical discourse analysis of Helsingin Sanomat coverage on the Church and Finland’s asylum seekers between August 2015 and September 2017, the three levels of mediatization of religion as presented by Hjarvard (2008) are offered as a potential theoretical framework to capture essential aspects of the media’s ubiquitous impact on institutional religion. The first chapters introduce the research topic and provide contextual understanding of the Church’s position in contemporary Finnish society and media. This is followed by a literature review and the theoretical and methodological frameworks guiding the analysis. The analysis answers to the research question through the three levels of mediatization of religion. The findings demonstrated the usefulness of critical discourse analysis coupled with the mediatization of religion theory, as the research method highlighted the aspects of prevalence and dominance of mediatization. Although the mediatization of religion theory was not found to provide an exhaustive account on the dynamics between Helsingin Sanomat and the Church, the presence of all three levels of mediatization together with the dominance of media discourses and the Church’s subordination to media logic could be discerned. This thesis provides insight into the renegotiation process of the Church’s place and role in Finnish society, a topic that until today has remained understudied. Further, it sheds light on the power of both the media and the Church to steer and maintain discourses. From the perspective of the Religion, Conflict and Dialogue Master’s Degree program, analyzing the theme within the context of the asylum seeker situation can be deemed supportive for purposes of further research on institutional religion’s role in dialogue promotion and bringing about social cohesion.
  • Zafaranloo, Saeed (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Peace has always been a pivotal issue in the core of humankind’s thoughts throughout centuries; prophets, great thinkers, poets and elites have expressed their concern, vision and ideas of peace. Major world religions have teachings for peace. As one of the new religious movements of the world, Baha’i Faith has placed peace in the focus of its teaching. There have also been academic and intellectual efforts to define peace and to present plans for making peace like the works of Johan Galtung, the founder of the peace and conflict studies. The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the peace plan of Baha’i Faith with Johan Galtung’s peace theory and explore their possible crucial differences and similarities (commonalities). In Galtung’s book, Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization, the first chapter is peace theory which is used to explore Baha’i teachings on peace in Baha’i primary sources like writings of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of Baha’i Faith, Abdu’l-Bahá' (first successor), Shoghi Effendi (Guardian and appointed head of the Faith) and Universal House of Justice (supreme ruling body) publications. Secondary Baha’i sources are also studied which are articles, papers and books written about Baha’i Faith. The method of comparative analysis used in this study is lens comparison in which we explore A (Galtung’s Peace Theory) less than B (Baha’i Faith peace plan), we use A as a lens through which to view B. The text A is used as a framework to understand and compare with text B. Galtung’s peace theory is an umbrella under which Baha’i teachings are studied. The idea of peace and the approach toward this idea is in the center of this comparison. During this process, the differences and commonalities of A and B are listed and analyzed in three realms, i.e. in relation to peace and gender, peace and democracy and peace and inter-state systems. After every point by point comparison chapter, all common and different features of A and B are observed, listed and analyzed to verify to what degree they are similar with or differ from each other. In this way, it is possible to see the level of proximity and remoteness of two sources and to verify how much they converge or diverge. The thesis reveals in which areas of peace-building ideas, Galtung and Baha’i Faith have common approaches and in which areas they have different standpoints, i.e. this paper disclosed, on gender and peace, both approaches have high level of proximity and convergence.
  • Paudel, Suman Babu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    In the context of newly introduced secularism in Nepal, the qualitative study discuss different aspects of Nepalese society where religious tension is emerging. The objective of the study is to explore the understanding of religious leaders on secularism and their idea of religious rights. Based on interviews with these leaders (Islam, Hindu and Christian), the thesis describes how their understanding of secularism contrasted in daily life. Based on primary and secondary information, the study further deals about how religious tensions are evolving among different religious groups. Furthermore, it helps to understand how Nepalis secularism differs from western modal of secularism and explains different reasons why the ideal definition of secularism (separation of church and the state) could not be practical one in Nepalese society. The hope of religious equality beaten when the constitution barred to religious conversion. Though conversion is not allowed, different Christian organizations are conducting missionary activities. Consequently, police actions are increased against Christians on the charge of conversion. Christians are raising voice against state interference in religion. They are demanding conversion right if the state is secular. Secularism has been interpreted as a right to convert people, other features of secularism has become minor. Hindus have perceived secularism as a threat to Hinduism. Hindu nationalism emerged against secularism, it has created fear among minority groups. The thesis also explains the view of the Muslims community in the context of the rise of Hindu nationalism and missionary activities of Christians. Contestation on Secularism not only polarize people of religious groups but also political parties. Religion has become a political agenda, the demand for a referendum against secularism has become an issue of the political campaign of non-communist and pro monarch parties. These anti-secular movements are supported by Indian political parties, Indian leaders and different Hindu organizations around the world. In the end, this thesis concludes that there is a need for the interference of the state to end the dominance of Hinduism as well as protect the basic human rights of people where religion suppresses it. The state needs to support minority religious groups to flourish it. The thesis also signifies the need for interreligious dialogue among religious groups to restore harmony and tolerance.
  • Tubys, Lukrecijus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Lithuanian neo-pagan community “Romuva” approached the Lithuanian parliament to grant it state’s recognition. According to the Ministry of Justice, the religious community met all necessary requirements – it has been registered for 25 years, its customs and creeds do not contradict law and morals, and it has support in the society. However, the Lithuanian parliament voted against granting the new status. This thesis aims on how was the legal recognition of the “Romuva” argued for and against in the public media and the Lithuanian parliament and what kind of understanding of neo-paganism in particular and religion in general was constructed in these arguments. To achieve the goal two sets of data were analyzed: all articles related with “Romuva” recognition appeared on the most popular as well as pro-christian and pro-romuvian media sites from 2018-2020. Also public records from the Lithuanian parliament during submission and consideration phases, letters to parliamentarians. The data was also structured in a timeline to track the development of arguments. Findings show that even though the question for recognition is legal, during the debate historical and political arguments were dominating. Many of them did not relate with requirements for the recognition officially set by the Ministry of Justice. The biggest involvement in the question was demonstrated by pro-christian community’s members – politicians, scholars. The recognition for neo-pagans was strongly resisted by the dominant religion in Lithuania Christian Church
  • Tuomala, Jannimaija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis examines the relation between the young Finnish Muslim women and conflicts abroad involving Muslims. The subject of my study arises from topical questions and events which combine conflicts and Muslims strongly. The foreign fighter phenomenon has generated concerns about young Muslims, for instance. The purpose of my study is to offer Muslims a possibility to shed light on their own perspective regarding conflicts. The research questions of this thesis are 1) What is the young Finnish Muslim women’s relation to conflicts abroad concerning Islam or Muslims, 2) what role does Islam play in this relation and what kind of articulations does it receive and 3) how does the media function in forming a relation to conflicts abroad. The theoretical background utilizes a perspective, which clarifies on two levels where a relation can exist between Finnish Muslim women and conflicts abroad. The effects of conflicts on a transnational level and the impacts in Finland are concentrated. Transnational Islam and especially solidarity explain the first level. The media, as well as the whole history of how the West has viewed Islam as the other, constitute important factors on the local level. The data in my study was generated in ten qualitative research interviews, which I implemented in Helsinki during six months from December 2017 until May 2018. I analyze the data by using a content analysis to interpret the ways the informants construct their relation to conflicts abroad. My study shows that Muslim women build a relation to conflicts abroad through two kinds of paths. On the one hand, the Muslims receive conflicts via different factors, and on the other hand, they construct the relation to conflicts by themselves. Receiving consists of several negative phenomena, which especially the media generates. Islam functions as the most crucial intermediary in approaching conflicts and mostly defines the perspective. My study reveals that the Finnish Muslims’ relation to conflicts abroad contains challenges and unbalanced elements. The scope of the effects of conflicts for them appears too extensive compared to the Muslims’ limited attempts to approach conflicts. The position of religion differs remarkably in how conflicts relate to Muslims in Finland and how they in turn relate to those conflicts. Additionally, the biased picture of Muslims as active perpetrators in conflicts differs from the reality, where the Finnish Muslim women only attempt to show solidarity for suffering fellow Muslims. The relation includes the element of inevitability, because conflicts affect Finnish Muslims without their own volition and Islam urges them to look after fellow believers. This thesis contributes to the field of the research on Finnish Muslims. The themes of conflicts and the media have been addressed in previous research, but this study approaches them from a new angle. Prospective studies can draw on the findings of this study when approaching the topic in the future.
  • Kokki, Eeva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The objective of this thesis is to utilise the frame-building perspective to study how the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat framed the case of the Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram in April 2014 in Nigeria. The data of this study is based on 105 news articles published by Helsingin Sanomat between April 2014 and December 2018. The structure of the thesis consists of four main sections. The first section focuses on mapping the case in the Nigerian context and providing information to understand the Nigerian situation with regard to its historical background, the rise of Boko Haram, and the case of the abducted Chibok girls. The second section focuses on the theoretical frameworks. News framing theory is an appropriate tool for studying media content that deals with terrorism. While the case consists of foreign news, there are also brief references to the theory of newsworthiness and foreign news transmission processes in the Finnish media. Also, the ambiguous relation between media and terrorism is addressed: terrorists need media for conveying information about their attacks, and correspondingly, their attacks serve as material for the news media. The third section focuses on terrorism and its victims, and its relation to conflict-related gender-based violence. In the Chibok schoolgirls’ case one perspective to violence is the concept of abduction. The fourth section focuses on the implementation of the frame building perspective to examine the selected Helsingin Sanomat news data. The study reveals that in reporting the Chibok schoolgirls’ case, Helsingin Sanomat favoured material from western news agencies and the most referred to news agencies were AFP and Reuters. Local Nigerian media was referred to as a source only in five of the news. The categorization of the quote source types reveals that Nigerian authorities dominated as sources for the citations in the news. From the news data a total of 12 frame theme categories are recognized and these categories are further organized into four main frame theme groups. In the group “Understanding the circumstances” the prevailing background information is the description of Boko Haram and the dichotomy of the country, but discussion of the ethno-religious historical background of the conflict remains limited. The second group “Government inactivity and politics” reveals that the news mainly concentrate on the negotiations and the international interventions to resolve the conflict between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram. The third group “Terrorism and violence” concentrates on the case of the Chibok schoolgirls, and the other attacks are described as chains of events. The Nigerian government’s role in the atrocities is recognized but not widely discussed. In the last frame theme group “Community and compassion” the communities’ active role in conflict resolution is recognized as the voice of the victims of Boko Haram. In general, the Chibok schoolgirls are depicted as a cohesive group which is subject to terrorism and collective violence. Despite the wide media coverage, the schoolgirls’ story is told by others in the news or via the reports of human rights organizations. The conflict in the country is depicted to be that between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, although the unstable situation in the country has developed from a complex web of socio-cultural, economic, ethno-religious, and regional elements. The Chibok girls themselves, although referred to in the news, are mainly presented as victims whose own voice is hardly heard.
  • Korhonen, Karoliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The master’s thesis views the public statements of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump concerning two issues central to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israeli settlement activity and the status of Jerusalem. The ties between the United States and Israel are remarkably close, and it would be reasonable to assume the U.S. to have leverage over Israeli politics. The continuing Israeli settlement activity on the West Bank and East Jerusalem threaten Jerusalem’s status as a divided city between the Israelis and Palestinians and contribute to the overall unrest on the area. While the position of successive U.S. administrations has been that the settlement activity is ill-advised or even illegal, most presidents have only applied verbal means in an attempt to press Israel to end the construction. When it comes to Jerusalem, the stance of the U.S. had long been that the status of the city was to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians, which however changed as the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In this thesis, I view the ways with which the three presidents rationalize the righteousness of their actions in speeches, interviews, press conferences and proclamations. Here, I borrow Isabella and Norman Fairclough’s term “practical argumentation”, which is argumentation for or against a particular way of acting. Using discourse analysis as my method, I view the strategies with which the presidents make their action, or abstention from action, seem as the single right option. Such strategies are referred to as “factualization strategies”. The focus is in the decisions the presidents make concerning Israeli settlements and the status of Jerusalem. For the most part, Bush avoids elaborate critique towards Israeli settlements, guiding the discussion to other topics, such as the fight against terrorism. When Bush does urge Israel to cease building settlements, he justifies his critique by referring to previous agreements and by arguing that the settlement activity has a prejudicing effect on the final-status negotiations. Obama’s critique towards the settlements is consistent. Unlike Bush, he does not show unwillingness to discuss the topic, arguing that the 2010 settlement freeze helped negotiations proceed in a constructive way. However, when inquired about further actions towards Israel, Obama states that he needs to wait and see how Israeli and Palestinian politics are going to sort themselves out and that Israeli politics are too complex to be interfered with. Like Bush, Obama occasionally prioritizes on other matters at the expense of the settlement question arguing that less emotionally loaded issues need to be solved first. Close to the end of his last term, Obama decided to abstain from vetoing a United Nations resolution that condemned Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. He factualizes the righteousness of his decision by stating that the accelerating pace of the settlement construction poses a threat to the two-state goal. Bush and Obama share the view that the status of Jerusalem is to be negotiated between the parties themselves. Trump has a different approach. While he voices his stance on the settlements only once, suggesting that Israel should slow down with the construction, he addresses the status of Jerusalem multiple times. Trump argues that recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was right due to Jerusalem being founded by Jews and that the recognition was the will of the U.S. Congress. Furthermore, Trump argues that the status of Jerusalem has long been the hardest topic of the negotiations and that a U.S. intervention to solve the issue serves the interests of the peace process, as there now is one less question to discuss.
  • Orpana, Tiia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Nimi ’dalit’ kuuluu kastittomille ja kantaa mukanaan kastisyrjinnän pitkää historiaa. Keskeinen osa tätä historiaa on se, kuinka kastisyrjintää on perusteltu hindulaisuudella. Tässä tutkielmassa tarkastelen kolmen intialaisen dalitin käsityksiä hindulaisuudesta jälkikoloniaalin teoreettisen viitekehyksen läpi. Kaikki kolme valitsemaani dalitia – valtakunnanpoliitikko B.R. Ambedkar, sekä dalit-teologit A.P. Nirmal ja V. Devasahayam – tulkitsevat kastijärjestelmää sisäpuolisina mutta hindulaisuutta ulkopuolisina. Tutkimuskysymykselläni on kaksi aiempaan tutkimukseen perustuvaa apukysymystä. Ensiksi, tarkastelen dalitiutta erityisenä sorron kontekstina, josta käsin hindulaisuutta luetaan. Toiseksi, tarkastelen kolonialismin epistemologista vallankäyttöä ‘hindulaisuuden’ käsitteellistämisessä. Tutkielman metodina on käsiteanalyysi. Lähteenä on yhteensä viisi tekstiä: Ambedkarin puhe, sekä kaksi teologista tekstiä Nirmalilta ja Devasahayamilta. Hindulaisuus näyttäytyy valitsemilleni dalit-lähteille olemuksellisesti sortavana uskontona. Heidän tapansa rakentaa sorron olemus etenkin pyhistä kirjoituksista, bramiini-pappiskastin auktoriteetista, sekä kastin opillisista perusteluista ei tule tyhjästä, vaan sen voi nähdä liittyvän laajempaan kolonialistiseen tapaan käsitteellistää ’uskonto’. Kuitenkin, valitsemani dalit-lähteiden voisi nähdä käyttävän kastisyrjinnän ’uskonnollista’ olemusta strategisena keinona painottaa syrjinnän pysyvyyttä ja kokonaisvaltaisuutta. Kaikki lähteeni pitävät hindulaisuutta olemuksellisesti sortavana, mutta heidän tapansa suhtautua omaan dalitiuteensa eroavat toisistaan, mikä näkyy myös heidän yksilöllisissä painotuksissaan hindulaisuuden käsittelyn suhteen. Siinä missä kristityille dalit-teologeille dalitiudella on vapautettu ja ensisijainen asema suhteessa Jumalaan, demokraattisen ja modernisoidun Intian rakentamiseen sitoutunut valtakunnanpoliitikko Ambedkar pyrkii ennen kaikkea kasti-identiteettien hävittämiseen. Heidän erilaiset tapansa käsitteellistää ’uskontoa’ suhteessa vapautukseen näkyvät tässä. Dalit-lähteeni eivät näe, että kääntymys yhdestä uskonnollisesta traditiosta toiseen olisi riittävä ratkaisu kastisyrjinnän todellisuuteen. Heille raja sorron ja vapautuksen välissä ei kulje kahden uskonnon välillä. Sen sijaan, he vaativat ja rakentavat kokonaisvaltaisempaa kastitodellisuuden transformaatiota, jossa transsendentit ja maalliset vapautustaistelut sekoittuvat.
  • Haverinen, Joonas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The violent radical religious group ISIS declared a caliphate in July 2014. The group urged Muslims to make hijrah (migrate), to regions that it controlled. Tens of thousands of Muslims followed the call to migrate and joined ISIS as foreign fighters. Foreign fighters may pose a security threat in the West upon return to their home countries as the conflict in the Middle East resides. Among key mediums for propagating the message of migration to Muslims in the West were ISIS’s English-language online magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah, published 2014–2016 and 2016–2017 respectively. This thesis dives into the meaning and ideology of the message, which urged readers of Dabiq and Rumiyah to migrate to the Islamic State, as well as the persuasive techniques ISIS used in the propaganda to underline this call. Moreover, the thesis aims to track change in the ways that ISIS’s online magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah urged Muslims to migrate. This thesis tests a hypothesis that ISIS’s changing situation from an expanding to a diminishing phase on the ground in the years after 2014 changed the way in which the message of hijrah was propagated between the magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah. The research questions are: How is the propaganda concerning hijrah constructed in ISIS’s propaganda magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah? How did the propagated message about migration to the lands of ISIS in Dabiq and Rumiyah magazines change between the years 2014–2017? And if the message changed over time, why did this happen? The data for this thesis consists of 15 issues of Dabiq-magazine published between July 2014 to July 2016 and 13 issues of Rumiyah-magazine published from September 2016 to September 2017. The research method for analyzing the magazines is close reading and the theoretical background is propaganda research. The research finds that eight main categories were used to propagate messages on hijrah throughout the magazines: (1) calls to hijrah, (2) significance and legitimacy of hijrah, (3) promises of benefits resulting from hijrah, (4) imposing of threats for not performing hijrah, (5) cases of exemplary behavior regarding hijrah, (6) women’s role in the context of hijrah, (7) alternatives to and variations of hijrah, and (8) hijrah as atonement for one’s sins. Furthermore, the results showed that propaganda concerning hijrah did change – not only between the two magazines but also within them. Dabiq-magazine began showing signs of a loosening understanding of hijrah in the latter half of the fifteen issues of the magazine. The initially strictly set paradigm for the obligation of hijrah began to bend. Rumiyah continued to develop the message on hijrah as well. This subsequent magazine presented the intention for performing hijrah as sufficient for being rewarded for the action. It also encouraged into fighting wherever one was located and included the aspect of stealing or destroying non-believers’ property as a means of partaking in ISIS’s efforts against its enemies. ISIS demonstrated what the combined use of modern technology and propaganda can achieve. Based on the results in this thesis, a future study could, for example, attempt to uncover the reasons why messages on hijrah resonated in so many people in the West. Understanding the reasons why calls to hijrah resonated in the readership of propaganda magazines and supporters of ISIS is a crucial step in countering the foreign fighter phenomenon in the future.
  • Henricks, James (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    The Religious Right in the United States has become a long-standing player in the American political system. Through the course of its political involvement, this group of politically active conservative religious people has become involved in many conflicts since its origins in the late 1970s. Taking controversial stances on many social issues, this conflict has become ingrained in American politics and society. As conflicts such as this become protracted, they become less focused on tangible outcomes or the original issues, and a system develops where conflict roots itself into the identity of a group. This can lead to stalemate, hostility towards the outgroup, and other problematic systemic issues in conflict. The guiding research question for my thesis is how one might overcome such an identity based, intergroup conflict. To understand how group identity functions in conflict, I have used the Religious Right as a case study to which I applied social identity theory approaches to conflict. In my thesis, I first outline social identity theory and establish its relevance for conflict. I then, using others research, show how understanding this aspect of human cognition helps us see how social identities may play out in conflict, and what role approaches based on social identity theory may take in conflict resolution. In my next chapter, I present a brief historical sketch of movements preceding the American Religious Right and how it has developed since its origins. With my theoretical base and my case established, I then show how the approaches informed by social identity theory laid out in my first chapter may be applied to the Religious Right. This application of theory shows that there exist several possible approaches through which engaging people in the Religious Right may lead away from the problematic entrenched systems of conflict and towards a more productive means of engagement.
  • Karling, Niina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Finnish prisons were in a new situation after fall 2015. The country had received a historical amount of asylum seekers and this also affected prisons, where the number of foreign prisoners, especially remand prisoners, rose. Many of these new prisoners had a Muslim background. At the same time, there were several jihadist motivated terrorist attacks in Europe, where attackers have had a background in prison. These attacks raised public concern in Finland, too. While in many European countries prisons have taken a more accommodating approach to multi-faith, Finland has still very little services for minority religions, such as Islam. This study aims to understand prison officers’ capability to recognise and prevent Muslim radicalisation in Finnish prisons. It is important to bring the prison officers’ voice to the discussion on radicalisation. They are with inmates every day, and they are the ones who will notice the changes in prisoners. The prison officers’ behaviour can both prevent and expose to radicalisation. I did my research in two Finnish prisons using semi-structured interviews and observing. There were altogether 12 interviews of prison officers, and in addition to this, I spent 11 days in prisons in May and June 2017. I will use Peter R. Neumann’s list of factors that help prevent radicalisation inside prisons as a tool to analyse the findings. In addition to this, I also use concepts of misrecognition and mediated recognition as a supporting tool to deepen the analysis. After analysing my data, I present some recommendations in the last chapter, Key findings and discussion. These recommendations are based on the findings of this study and the previous research on the topic. As the scope of this research is limited, I see the role of my study as preliminary research which aims to find themes that affect prison radicalisation from the prison officers’ perspective.
  • Talikka, Sanna Julia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as an official government body to create national reconciliation after apartheid. It provided an arena for the perpetrators and victims to try to understand each other and their actions. Even though the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is studied from various perspectives, the role of religion in it as a transition process has not received much attention. This study is a critical analysis, which examines the role of religion in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The analysis is supported with the theories of conflict resolution and transitional justice by using the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s reports as primary sources and the previous academic study as secondary sources. The very little investigation of religion that has been conducted in the multidisciplinary field of transitional justice, justifies the relevance of the study. The study begins with an overview of the role of religion in conflict resolution and peacemaking. Reconciliation and truth commissions as mechanisms of transitional justice are examined and analyzed before moving onto the brief historical overview of South Africa and apartheid. The role of religion in the history of South Africa is explained to support historical the perspective of the study. The role of Religion in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is analyzed from several different perspectives to support the argument that religious connotations took place during the Commission’s existence. The results show that religion and especially Christianity played a significant role in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work. Main reasons for it appear to be the religious historical and cultural notions of the society, and the role of religious leaders as commissioners. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission relied strongly to the ideas of reconciliation and forgiveness which guided its work and eventually swayed religious influence to take place. States that choose reconciliation as an approach to transition to democracy often tend to have strong involvement of religious communities in their society. Even though conflict resolution theories take religion into account, it is very much an underutilized topic in the transitional justice field. With the theoretical ground and the case established, the study shows the importance of understanding religion in conflict resolution and reconciliation processes.
  • Sevieva, Anastasia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Russian immigrants are one of the biggest ethnic minorities in Finland. Most of them moved to country during last 30 years. Russian community live peaceful open life, building connections to Finnish society through marriages, work communications, social projects, cultural integration. However, like any other immigrants all over the world they face many challenges of new life circumstances, for example, difficult local language, prejudices in the society, unemployment, stress, feeling of loneliness. After analysing the previous research, I saw that Russian immigrants as a group is understudied. The aim of my thesis work was to collect and analyse new data on religious life of Russian immigrants in Finland and find out if a church/ mosque/ other religious organisation can provide support for immigrants. Twenty-five interviews were conducted in spring and autumn of 2018. I met twenty of the respondents in person and taped our conversations. Five respondents were able to answer my questions in written form. Interviews were conducted in Russian language and included forty questions. The target group of the research were Russian immigrants (20-30), who moved to Finland during last three-five years. The research method my worked is based on was conducting the interviews and analysing their outcomes. I used simple tables system, filling them with simplified short version of replies. I applied coding and scoring method. I also explored relevant literature (books, reports, articles, etc.), statistic data and previous researches. My thesis work includes Introduction, six chapters, Conclusion, Bibliography and Appendix. I referred to the theory of professor John Berry on four stages of acculturation, to the theory of seven stages of assimilation by American sociologist Milton Gordon, to the studies of Professor of University of Oslo Pål Kolstø who investigated Russian diasporas in different countries, and to the previous researches in the sphere. I present my research findings and analysis and also refer to the extra interviews I conducted during my research. In the Conclusion part of my thesis I present the key findings of my research and formulate some recommendations to the religious organisations upon the work with Russian immigrants.
  • Khurtsidze, Giorgi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Main aim of this study is to understand the role of the church in Georgian politics, from start of the fall of the Soviet Union till the present days. How church gained power, how they behaved through different ruling parties, how they become from the poorest institution in Georgia to one of the most powerful and rich ones. How they communicate with state, do they interfere in states business, what is the relationship between state and church? All of these questions will be asked in thesis and answered feasibly. Main source materials of the thesis are, interviews with politicians and clerics as well as detailed analysis of newspaper articles, ombudsman annual reports, TV programs and financial data analysis from past 27 years. My thesis is unique in a way that not so much is written in academic circles in Georgia about church and state relationship, it was very hard to find credible book or research in this field, of course there are some works which I analyzed in detail, but as I mentioned this research is unique so it was very hard to gather and structure all the materials about church that was available. Even though it was very hard to find one clear answer, I think that reader will understand the role of the church in Georgian politics, after sixty pages I gradually came to an answer, church needs state and state needs church, even though sometimes both state and church denies, the involvement in one another business, through analysis of the facts and different cases, conclusion is the same every time, state and church are not fully separated in Georgia.
  • Koivisto, Ilkka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The sacrificing of Isaac, described in Genesis 22, is one of the most troubling stories in Bible. In that story, Abraham was faced with a moral dilemma and compelled to choose between two bad options: to disobey God or to kill his son. Why was Abraham willing to commit the most horrendous thing one can imagine: killing his own child? Did God really ask Abraham for such a sacrifice, and if yes, did he really expect Abraham to obey? Several attempts to explain Abraham’s behavior as well as God’s command have been made. Most often, Abraham is portrayed as a model of faith. God, on the other hand, is usually seen as ”only testing” Abraham, but not really expecting a sacrifice. Many scholars are questioning these interpretations, though. To some of them, Abraham is no more than a criminal, and God a moral monster. In this study, I am taking an analytical approach to existing literature and commentaries on the sacrificing of Isaac. I am describing, classifying and comparing different attempts to resolve the obvious conflict between divine obedience and morality. Since the command to sacrifice Isaac is often regarded as a divine test, I will also examine, what exactly might have been the focus of that test: faith, obedience, fear or something else? I am also referring to some contemporary crime cases to show that sacrificing a child in God’s name doesn’t belong only to history. Thus, contrary to some Bible commentators who claim that nothing similar could happen today, I will show that some people have used the story of Abraham and Isaac as a justification for their pernicious action. Finally, and as the title of my thesis implies, I will propose a ”kaleidoscopic” approach to the story of sacrificing Isaac. Just like an image in a kaleidoscope is prone to change with each new treatment, so is the interpretation of the story. Even more, the story in Genesis 22 is like a Rorschach test: it allows for the viewer to see what she wants to see, and to project her preconceptions of Abraham and God to the troublesome image.
  • Koskinen, Pyry (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Konfliktien jälkeiseen sovintotyöhön on hyödynnetty monia metodeja. Yksi näistä on urheilu. Ennen hajoamistaan Jugoslavian koripallomaajoukkue oli ainoa, joka todella pystyi haastamaan lajin synnyinmaan Yhdysvallat. Tämä onnistui vain sen kansanryhmien yhteistyöllä. Voisiko koripalloa tänäkin päivänä hyödyntää 1990-luvun sisällissodissa pystytettyjen raja¬-aitojen murtamisessa? Tässä tutkimuksessa analysoidaan yhden pitkään toimineen kansalaisjärjestön sovitteluohjelmaa, joka pyrkii edistämään entisen Jugoslavian eri kansanryhmien välistä dialogia ja yhteistyötä koripalloleirien avulla. Tutkielmassa pohdin, kuinka urheilua hyväksikäyttävä sovitteluohjelma tulisi suunnitella, jotta se vähentäisi eksklusiivista nationalismia. Tämä työ tutkii serbialaisen kansalaisjärjestön rauhankasvatusohjelmaa, joka käyttää urheilua sillanrakennusvälineenä eri kansanryhmien välillä. Kansalaisjärjestön toimintaa analysoidaan Michel Foucault’n hallinnan teorian (governmentality) kautta, sekä vertailemalla ohjelman toteutusta muihin vastaaviin hankkeisiin. Pyrin myös selvittämään mahdollisen Jugonostalgian roolia hankkeen tavoitteiden saavuttamisessa. Työtä ohjasivat seuraavat tutkimuskysymykset: 1) Kuinka ohjelma määrittelee hallinnoitavat subjektinsa? 2) Millä keinoin ohjelma pyrkii saavuttamaan tavoitteensa? Tutkimus toteutettiin analysoimalla hankkeen viimeisintä saatavilla olevaa loppuraporttia, sekä osallistuvan havainnoinnin keinoin kerättyä aineistoa kahdelta koripalloleiriltä vuosina 2018 ja 2019. Tutkimusaineistona toimivat siis vuoden 2009 loppuraportin lisäksi leireillä kirjoitetut muistiinpanot, niiden aikana otetut valokuvat ja videot, sekä leirillä nauhoitetut ryhmähaastattelut. Leirien osallistujat nähtiin omien etnis-uskonnollisten yhteisöjensä edustajina, mutta samalla leireillä vaalittujen arvojen tulevina lähettiläinä omissa yhteisöissään. Rakkaus lajiin toi nuoret samalle leirille. Yhteisöjen välisiä raja-aitoja murretiin erilaisten luentojen ja työpajojen keinoin, mutta myös leiripaikka itsessään tuki tätä sillanrakennusprojektia. Kansainvälisen rahoituksen avulla paikallinen hanke on verkostoitunut laajalti niin entisen Jugoslavian alueella kuin sen ulkopuolellakin. Verkostot, joita ohjelma sekä luo että edelleen kehittää, mahdollistavat sen arvojen toteutumisen. Tulevaisuudessa olisi kiinnostavaa tutkia laajemmin millä tavoin leirille osallistuminen on vaikuttanut nuorten myöhempiin valintoihin. Olisi myös mielenkiintoista tehdä vertailevaa tutkimusta toisessa maantieteellis-kulttuurisessa ympäristössä toimivan Sport for Development and Peace-projektin kanssa, jotta mahdolliset hankkeen suunnittelussa huomioonotettavat kulttuuriset tekijät tulisivat ilmi.
  • Shah, Syed Waqar Ali (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Some claim religion kills while others say people kill for all sort of things. In fact, the link between religion and violence is a much-debated academic topic. William T. Cavanaugh (2009) has challenged what he called the “conventional wisdom” about religious violence by pinpointing several important “blind spots.” His discussion of the usefulness of the construct of religious violence for its consumers in the West is fundamental to this study. Cavanaugh concludes that the “myth of religious violence” served West in both domestic politics and foreign policy and has been used against Muslims in particular. According to Mathew Rowley (2015) religious violence is a context-dependent and very complex phenomenon and oversimplifying the connection may help to jeopardize peace. In the wake of few historical incidents in the late 20th century, a small fragment of extremists emerged in the Muslim world. The activities of such groups, especially in the post 9/11 era, provided an avenue for the media and some academics to give a clear-cut answer to the question, i.e., to attribute Islam and jihad to violence. This study highlights the difference between the theoretical discussions about jihad among academics and its practical implementation in the texts of Muslims thinkers. Academic works on jihad have failed to address this issue and thus led widespread conviction of the contemporary scholarship that jihad has remained an unchanged and fixed concept. In this view, “Muslim” extremists and terrorists are the real face of Islam, and the notion of abodes means the absolute supremacy of Islamic rule over the whole world in which peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims is not possible even on an individual level. The discussion on the concept of jihad among contemporary scholars, especially Daniel Pipes (2002), David Cook (2005), Patricia Crone (2004), Bernard Lewis (2003), and Rudolph Peters (1979 and 1996) serve as the reference point to my analysis. Brigitte Gabriel (2009) work has been included as a representative of the “popular literature” on jihad, which reproduces the “myths” in a more aggressive form. I applied a two-way strategy to highlight the meaning of jihad in Muslim thought by presenting an overview of Muslim history, with focus on jihad, and an investigation of Muslim sources. Mawdudi (1996, 2000), Nasir (2013), and Ahmad (2016) argue that Islam through its concept of jihad allows limited violence under certain conditions and in specific environments. The analysis illustrates that there is a wide variety of how central concepts directing the interpretation of jihad have been understood. Such differences have not only created theoretical disputes but also given rise to various practical implications. Similarly, Mamdani (2003) asserts that the current Muslim extremism and terrorism is the outcome of specific political and strategic policies of the West, mainly the US. The analysis of Muslim sources gives no support for the view of such academic research on religion and violence that has singled out Islam and jihad and equated them with violence. To correct the view, the diverse historical interpretations of jihad should be identified, and a detailed study of the rich theological discussions on jihad should be taken into consideration. A central feature in the misrepresentation of jihad is the failure to pay notice to the variety of meanings and interpretations of jihad, and the notion of the abodes in Muslim legal tradition. Much of contemporary academic scholarship is based on superficial knowledge of the Islamic sources and an overemphasis of certain statements of classical jurists, which leads to the simplification of complex concepts.