Religion in the Context of Constitution: a Comparative Study of Egypt, Iran and Turkey

Hossein Radmard (American University of Beirut/Columbia University)

Abstract: Undeniable similarities in chronological power evolution can be observed in the past two centuries when we study three countries in the Middle East: Egypt, Iran and Turkey. These resemblances would be even more significant if we put the analysis in a longer historical perspective. Old civilizations, long in power monarchies and some forms of transition to non- monarchy state are parts of these common timelines. One major factor in the political equilibrium in these countries has been the religion, Islam. There is a well-established literature on political Islam and its definition and functions. What is somehow obvious for scholars, is the different trajectories of political Islam in mobilization the sociopolitical forces in the Middle East (eg. Zubaida, 2000). Also the structure and evolution of constitutions in these three countries have meaningful variety. The current paper employs a quantitative method, content analysis, for a comprehensive study of constitutions in Egypt, Iran and Turkey with focus on importance of religion. Basically this is an attempt to shed some lights on understanding the differences between Iranian, Turkish and Egyptian Political Islam through lenses of constitutions.