Islam and Democracy

Ahmed Aghayev

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 Islam and Democracy

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Ahmed Aghayev (Azerbaijan, 18691939) was born into a Shii family and, during his youth, identified his homeland with predominantly Shii Iran. During his studies in Paris, where he was acquainted with reformist Turks from the Ottoman Empire, he came to see Azerbaijanis in ethnic rather than religious terms. This emphasis on Turkic identity did not make him a chauvinist; he decried the communal violence that wracked Baku in 1905 and joined a Peace Committee of twelve pledging their personal wealth against damage wrought by members of their community. His many contributions to the lively Baku press, one of whose newspapers he edited in 19061907, made him a leading figure in the Turkist movement. In 1909, after the Ottoman constitutional revolution, he traveled in Anatolia and wrote a series of newspaper articles outlining his vision of peaceful ethno-religious diversity in Ottoman and Russian lands, and arguing for the compatibility of Islam and democracyas in the excerpt translated here. After the collapse of the Russian Empire, he returned to the Caucasus and worked with the newly founded Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (19181920). En route to the Paris Peace Conference, he was detained by the Allied Powers for his work in the Young Turk government and interned on Malta until 1921. By then, Azerbaijan had been incorporated into the Soviet Union, and Aghayevnow known by his Turkish name Ahmet Aaolulived out his life in Turkey, where he contributed to the 1924 constitution and campaigned for freemarket economic policies.1

Chapter.  1563 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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