Assessments on the Position of Shiite Community in Turkey and Its Dynamics of Change


In the minds of neither the academic nor the general public there is not really a clear idea of who are meant by Jafaris or the Jafari community in Turkey, and how this term functions as an identity signifier. It seems that we can not talk about a homogenous community regarding the group that we define or imagine through a religious-sectarian title. In this work, the first draft of which appeared in one of the workshops organized by ILEM on The Change and Trasformation of Religious Groups and Communities in Turkey, initially the position of Jafaris /Shiites in the religious, social, political, cultural and demographic map of Turkey is atempted to be placed and defined. Plus, the study discusses the social recognition and acceptance issues of Jaferis as a group identity and their forms of existence and representation in the public realm. Beside the emphasis upon the impact of national and international dynamics of change over the collective identity, the significance of collective mourning rituals (Ashura commemorations) as a venue of discourse and practice for the imagined group identity, the study is completed underlining how public piety and identity is rearticulated and reappropriated vis a vis the public gaze of sunni and the secular majority in Turkey.


Shia Shiites in Turkey social change public piety religious communities