Battle for the Soul of Islam

Horizons #18, Winter 2021

“The Turks have committed suicide,” Jordan’s founding monarch Abdullah bin Hussein gloated in 1924 when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the visionary who carved modern Turkey out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, abolished the caliphate:

They had in the Caliphate one of the greatest political forces, and have thrown it away… I feel like sending a telegram thanking Mustafa Kemal. The Caliphate is an Arab institution. The Prophet was an Arab, the Koran is in Arabic, the Holy Places are in Arabia and the Khalif should be an Arab of the tribe of Koreish [Muhammad’s tribe]… Now the Caliphate has come back to Arabia."













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