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Dr. Eberhard Werner. Anthropology, Linguistics, Social Sciences and Religion  Religion presents the deep core value system of a people group. The conscience.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Eberhard Werner. Anthropology, Linguistics, Social Sciences and Religion  Religion presents the deep core value system of a people group. The conscience."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Eberhard Werner

2 Anthropology, Linguistics, Social Sciences and Religion  Religion presents the deep core value system of a people group. The conscience performs world view.  Religion is a system of symbols which reflects long-lasting moods and motivations by formulating conceptions of a general order and existence. They are clothed with such an aura of faculty that they seem uniquely realistic.

3 Religions of the Zaza ethnicity  The Northern dialect Group follows Alevism. A mix of Zoroastrianism-serduşt (Parsiism in East Asia), Animism, Judaism/Christianity and Islam.  The Southern and Eastern/Central Group follows Sunnism. The Southern Group the Islamic school of Hanafi and the Eastern Group partially the Hanafi or Shafi’i rite. The latter is also the main rite of the Kurmanji speaking neighbors. Animistic, Judaistic and Christian influences still observable.

4 Religions - Turkish - Zazaki - Kurmanji Speakers Yezidi Kurmanji; Christian Zaza and Kurmanji

5 (Re-) Islamization  Open Questions: Did the Zaza people enter their recent homeland as peasants? OR Did the Zaza people migrate from the Southern Caspian area already being Islamic?  Considering the latter, following the Daylam-Thesis, the Zaza followed either one or more of the Persian cults / religions or they were Islamized (but when?).  Islamization movements in East Anatolia concerning the Zaza people in their recent settlement area: Arabic Bedouins (7-8 th century AD / 1-2 nd century AH) Seljuk Emperors (11-13 th century AD / 5-7 th century AH) Mongol Storms (12-13 th century AD / 6-7 th century AH) Wahhabism movement by strategy of da’awah (invitation) and jihad (inner and outward war against evil) (18 th century AD / 12 th century AH)

6 Alevism  A recent revival is set up on a rediscovering of the origin or a transition to an ideology based on environmental / nature-oriented humanism.  Influenced by Zoroastrianism (Parsiism), Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Animism and Eastern Christianity.  Allah is represented by energies of the prophets Hz. Muhammed and Hz. Ali (his cousin). Divine creative energy is embodied in the latent breath (or Allah the Almighty), the prototypical human which is made up of active and passive principles (or Hz. Muhammad and the divine light / Hz. Ali).  Thus, a Trinitarian similarity to Christian doctrines can be noticed.

7 Alevism  Alevism spread to Turkish, Kurmanji, Azeri and Zazaki speaking members of the Ottoman Empire. Some argue that Zaza Alevism was foundational and led to Turkish and Kurmanji branches. Some even declare the latter branches were originally Zaza and were assimilated by the Turkish or Kurmanji speaking societies.  20 million Alevis in Turkey. One of the two big national challenges for the 21 st century that is “Question of Alevism” paralleled by the “Kurdish Question”. At least half of the Zaza population follows Alevism (1-1 ½ million).  Since 15 th century AD / 9 th century AH tensions with Sunnism following Zaza, Turks and Kurmanji speakers.

8 Sunnism  The Hanafi rite: named after its founder Hanifa (8 th century AD / 2 nd century AH).  A few Zaza and the bulk of the Kurmanji speakers follow the Shafi’i rite named by its founder Shafi’i (beginning of 9 th century AD / 3 rd century AH).  In the 19 th century AD / 13 th century AH visitors to the Zaza homeland reported their strong Islamic beliefs and practices although the Zaza were not educated in Islam.

9 Sunnism  The Zaza society followed their own theological interpretation like the brotherhood of Egypt or Yemen (Karl Pfander in Schirrmacher 1992:37; see above). Reasons: The societal three class structure of the Sunni Zaza people (social Institutions: religiously oriented mıllah, religiously and politically oriented sheikh, only politically oriented agha) Travel to and education at madrassa of Egypt (Cairo) and Bagdad, Damascus (e.g. Osman Efendi, Nuri Dersimi, etc. Theologians developed their own education system an branches of their education centre They were considered as mıllah (Arab. Mullah), rallied a group of devotees around themselves and slowly at some places a mullaharchy started to develop.

10 Differences in Worldview (samples) AlevismSunnism Death (world and afterworld) -Transition process from the “here” to the “there“ -Both worlds are interrelated, a person can move from hither to yon -Eschatology as Reincarnation (eternal life cycle) and metempsychosis (soul transfer) -No return or transcrossing from physical into the metaphysical or spiritual sphere -Eschatology as intransigent Last Judgment (Paradise of Hell) -Dead is perceived as dreadful Purity / Impurity Manipulation -Humanism asks for reciprocal respect, gender and social equality, forgiveness, -The sphere of purity is to be in harmony with nature and people -The sphere of impurity is bordered by hurting others or nature: a. Disrespect against elders, family or tribal leaders, b. exploitation of nature, c. infringement of community law (e.g. insulting women or children) -The umma (religious community) is to be held in high esteem. -Spiritual life overlaps with physical needs. -The sphere of Purity is balanced by playing for safety, not to cross borders. In consequence an ongoing struggle of staying pure limits personal freedom of movement. -The sphere of Impurity is marked by a. exploitation of the Islamic Law (şeriat; e.g. şırk) b. Disrespect against elders, family, religious or tribal leaders, c. loosing face by luring envy, evil spirits, wrath of Allah.


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