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Ottoman Shi'i Jihad, 1914-16: Efforts During World War

Hosted by ME/SA.

Feb 23, 2018
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM

912 Sproul

Presented by M. Şükrü Hanioğlu, Garrett Professor in Foreign Affairs and Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. 

For the Ottoman war planners, who viewed jihād as a strategic weapon, the effect of a holy war in 1914 would be first tested on the Iraqi front that had opened in Basra. Optimally, this should be in the form of an independent jihād since the Sunnī Hanafī Ottoman center could not rally the heavily Shīʿī population directly. Thus the Ottomans launched two separate jihāds upon joining the Central Powers. As opposed to the generally accepted view, the most important Ottoman jihād was not the Sunnī one declared in November 1914 as the Grand Jihād but the Shīʿī one. For the Ottoman government the Shīʿī jihād was not merely an issue of propaganda aimed at inciting Muslims in different parts of the world but a crucial means of defense. This presentation will discuss, in detail, the much neglected Ottoman Shīʿī jihād launched in Iraq in 1914.

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