Dismantling the “ulema-state” is crucial for Muslim states

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In September 2021, the Turkish House was opened in New York with a high-level state ceremony that included President Tayyip Erdogan. The ceremony began with a prayer recited by Turkey’s chief Islamic cleric – the President of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, which controls 80,000 mosques. This cleric’s recently increasing political stature in Turkey symbolizes the deepening partnership between Islamic scholars/clerics (ulema) and the Erdogan regime. Turkey was known for about a century as the most assertively secularist state with a Muslim-majority society. Even in that case, the ulema-st…

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