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An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts

Iraqi Model of Pluralism

How Philosophy Can Contribute To Resolving The Ideological Conflict in Iraq

ABSTRACT: The issue of pluralism is thorny and complex, and it is not possible to write about it completely, relating to its theoretical dimensions and the potential possibilities of its implementation, in a comprehensive manner, regarding to Iraqi society, because of the complexities inherent in the subject of the study, i.e., the Iraqi society itself. Our road map for an Iraqi pluralism is based, in fact, on a number of guidelines principles of humanitarian, philosophical and social elements that has been completed by the modern philosophical thought, regarding to the dialectical relationship among human, society and state.


Iraq has a longstanding history and civilized culture that adds value to its unique geopolitical position with its neighboring countries, by connecting ancient traditions of Asia, Europe, and Africa. It has also an abundance of human resources and natural wealth, especially oil, as one of the most important and largest reserves in the world, which adds to it a strategic value.(1) It consists of a set of ethnic groups and communities living together for long historical periods who interact socially, politically, and economically. Relations among these social groups are facing real challenges, even more so at present times, due to increasingly competing interests and agendas that may very well lead to armed conflicts.(2)

Helen Chapin Metz confirms the fact that Iraq still beset by a complex web of ethnic, social, economic, religious, and ideological conflicts all of which stood in the way of state formation, due to vigorous in-fights for places and leverage in the emerging state structure.(3) Thus, the problem of conflicting ideologies in Iraq requires precise analyses to develop meaningful strategies for conflict resolution, one of which is presented here as an attempt to submit an Iraqi model of pluralism that might lead to establish an understanding for developing a new social contract in Iraq.

Pluralism—Preliminary Observations For An Iraqi Theory

Before starting the attempt of theorizing an Iraqi pluralism, it is necessary to boot a reference to some basic philosophical concepts related to pluralism.(4)

Pluralism can be described, perceived, conceptualized and evaluated variously in non-convergent ways, because it has a long historical pedigree. One of its important issues is the Kantian distinction between the content of our experiences and the conceptual schemes content dualism. However, once it was accepted that there was a distinction to be drawn between the data of experience and the conceptual principles of organizing and conceptualizing them, it was easy to accept that there could be more than one system or scheme or organization.(5)

When using the expression of "pluralistic world," the meaning of it is civilizational pluralism, or the phenomena of co-existing civilizations on our plant. It is neither defined by biological characteristics—among them race, gender, or any other physical differences—nor a pluralism determined by an individual's or a community's geographical location on the globe. "The presence of pluralism since the dawn of history constitutes what some call an 'ordered heterogeneity'; homogeneity, in its modern forms especially, representing authoritarian or media—imposed cultural monisms, is fatal for a pluralistic world. Civilizational pluralism is a celebration of difference."(6)

While legal pluralism provides a powerful counter to our dominant comprehensions of constitutional law. Its challenge to the liberal legalist assumptions of coherence and effectiveness significantly undermines rights constitutionalism's claims to act as an instrument of social reform. The legal pluralism goes beyond epistemological critique, and also provides us with a sound explanatory basis of the relationship between rights constitutionalism and private power. The failures of the instrumental effectiveness of law can be compensated by its symbolic effectiveness. Legal pluralism's explanatory strengths rest in showing how the paradigmatic debate brings to the surface a politics of definition of law.(7)

The hypothesis of Philippe de Lara of pluralism is that the newcomer to build pluralism expresses a transformation of "the public space"; this transformation is often characterized in terms of identity politics, and expression that indicates something new, but not always afford to put this novelty. It is a transformation of political culture does not like the central features, or a new experience of the relationship between the state and civil society. Pluralism theories, that's to say in several senses, some are clear and defined other are richer but more obscure. It is possible to order this retaining variety in one side, the pluralism of policy, and the other is pluralism of values. Precisely and limited, the political pluralism is the idea that citizen must have the plurality of opinion; therefore pluralism is the basic form of parties and institutions that accompany it; such as freedom of conscience and parliamentarism. The idea is that the vocation of representative government is representing the plurality of interests, enterprises and the forms of life that make the society.(8)

It can be seen that pluralism pervades our lives. We find ourselves in a world in which there is a plurality of different religious, philosophical, ethical and cultural beliefs. Pluralism is not a new phenomenon, nor indeed one that separates contemporary Western societies from others, in the past or now. What is new is the development and spread pluralism in the world of ideas. Discussions of pluralism are engaged with the collapse of old certainties in philosophical, ethical, and scientific principles, which has been instrumental in motivating the intellectual examination of pluralism. Science, in particular, has played a leading role in this development. The problems of pluralism are not merely abstract philosophical problems. Pluralism, as social fact, presents us with a variety of different and often-conflicting beliefs, values, and ways of life (PCS 1, 3). The fact is that pluralism, as a philosophical, political and social theme, comes in the context of modernist thought, which has reinforced the subjective value against the social production and institutions, family, school, state and others.

The modernity of individual requires a special experience to be deeply comprehended because individuality and modernity are closely linked. The citizen himself is an individual, a person (and not necessarily the man himself), who lives at the intersection of social structures (family and religious groups), an integrated suite of differentiated cultural spheres, where the individual is the smallest unit of social reproduction. Joining together shapes life organization imperatively and subjectively. The appropriation of such abstract concepts shapes one's worldviews and provides a basis for knowledge that put an individual within one's range of action.(9) Modernity considers individual human beings as the fundamental bearers of moral status, and their natural condition is one of liberty and equality. It is with respect to their liberty that all are equal in such way.(10)

The importance of recognition has been intensified and modified by the new understanding of individual identity that emerges at the end of the eighteenth century. It is an individualized identity; and one way of describing it is to see its starting point in the eighteenth-century notion that human beings are endowed with a moral sense, an intuitive feeling for what is right and wrong. The original point of this idea was, in particular, a matter of calculating consequences those concerned with divine reward and punishment. The idea was that understanding right and wrong was not a matter of dry calculation; but was anchored in human feelings. Morality has, in a sense, a voice within. This crucial feature of human life is its fundamentally dialogical character. We become full human agents, hence of defining our identity, and capable of understanding ourselves, through our acquisition of rich human languages of expression. In other words, we define ourselves, including the languages of art, of gesture, of love, and the like. Such modes of expression are acquired due to one's need of defining language for personal use.(11)

That is to say,

the development of the modern notion of identity, has given rise to a politics of difference. There is, of course, a universalist basis to this as well, making for the overlap and confusion between the two. Everyone should be recognized for his or her unique identity. But recognition here means something else. With the politics of equal dignity, what is established is meant to be universally the same, an identical basket of rights and immunities; with the politics of difference, what we are asked to recognize is the unique identity of this individual or group, their distinctness from everyone else. [PR 38]

Taylor continues, "the politics of equal dignity is based on the idea that all humans are equally worthy of respect."(12)

In this context, it could be said that pluralism is a result or a product of the modern thought, which pushes to go beyond many historical complexities based on conceptions of intolerance, narrow-mindedness, sectarian wars, and rejection of dialogue. It is a knowledge that helps to overcome what might be called the fanatical of human history. The fact is that pluralism is a culture; but a cultural revolution, which is not related to the individual alone; but is related to the social institutions in general. It is a comprehensive system of individual and social relations, self and other, and subject and object thus becomes an individual and social relationship that is produced within the whole institutions of society.

Jürgen Habermas summarizes deeply the above-mentioned ideas as, the

modern constitutes own their existence to a conception found in modern natural law according to which citizens come together voluntarily to from a legal community of free and equal consociates. The constitution puts into effect precisely those rights that those individuals must grant one another if they want to order their life together legitimately by means of positive law. This conception presupposes the notion of individual [subjective] rights and individual legal persons as the bearers of right. While modern law establishes a basis a state-sanctioned relations of inetrsubjective recognition, the rights derived from them protect the vulnerable integrity of legal subjects who are in every case individuals. In the final analysis, it is a question of protecting these individual legal persons, even if the integrity of the individual—in law no less than in morality-depends on relations of mutual recognition remaining intact.(13)

These concepts relate to the determination of Karl Jaspers' existential philosophy, when he indicates that it means "to catch sight of reality at its origin and to grasp it through the way in which I, in thought, deal with myself—in inner action."(14)

Pluralism In Iraqi Society—Obstacles

Indeed, the issue of pluralism is thorny and complex, and it is nearly unattainable to write in a comprehensive manner about its theoretical dimensions and the potential possibilities of implementation in Iraqi society because of the complexities inherent in the subject of the study, i.e., the Iraqi society itself.

When Muḥsin al-Musawi refers to the inherent difficulties of writing about the dialectical relationship between culture and power in Iraq, writing about the complex features of pluralism is even more cumbersome. Addressing the relation between culture and power in Iraq, al-Musawi refers to it as a challenge, not only because of its complexity, but also because it is underlying cultural amalgam of antiquity and modernity, ethnic multiplicity and Arabic Islamic centrality. The subject involves a number of things, which include religion, ethnicity, history, social classes, temperament, literature, ideology, art, folklore, political movements and statecraft. All these factors work in convergence and disparity in the dialectics of Iraqi society. Its cradle of ancient civilization was also the center for the Islamic state at its zenith. While of great bearing on lifestyles and collective memory, the past can be manipulated, monumentalized, reinvented, and given a voice toward the goal of reconstituting a civilization and culture. As a matter of relevance, understanding Iraqi culture in its historical formation could have led to a solid understanding of current political realities. Such instance of negligence—and it is more than merely a lapse—for a well-disposed acquaintance with Iraq’s positive cultural axis could have led to a deep and thorough reading of its identity beyond political and economic expediency, thereby ensuring a better vision and surely peaceful one.(15)

If we go back to the ancient history of Iraq for comparison with the current Iraqi situation, and by tracking the status of political relationships in the old Babylonian era, we notice that after the fall of the third dynasty of Ur in 2006 BC, the end of this era was characterized by majority of central rule in Iraq and the beginning of a new era. Its first section lasted nearly two centuries and was marked by the retail division and the rising of many independent states across Mesopotamia; therefore this era is called "City-States II." The political conflict and competition for power ranged among those mini-states to control the region, unify the states, and restore a central role to Iraq. As one of these mini-states grew, it was trying to comprise other states; the other ones rushed to set up other military and political alliances to stand against them and minimize the risks of intrusion. The character of kings and rulers in this period, most of which were from al-Amory clans of the west, influenced a large following of alliances, since there was more than one alliance distributed from the Arabian Gulf (the sea bottom) and even the Mediterranean Sea (the supreme sea). Thus, we come to comprehend the sarcasm of a messenger in the city of Mari, Tel Hariri, which is currently on the Euphrates River near the Syrian border, when he summarizes this ancient situation:

There is no king who is the strongest one. There are ten or fifteen Kings belonging to Hammurabi, (the King) of Babylon, and the same number follow Reem–Seen, (the King) of Larsa, and the same number follow Abal–Beel, (the King) of Ashnona, and the same number follow Amoot–Abi–Ieel, (the King) of Katana, and twenty kings follow Yarim–Lim, (the king) of Yamkhad.(16)

This status of fragmentation and division still existed in the Mesopotamia until the last years of Hammurabi's rule, the sixth king of the first Babylonian dynasty. It was one of al-Amory states, which rose in this period and contributed to the political conflict among the mini-states. In his late reign, Hammurabi unified all those states, one after another, establishing a strong state that was based in the city of Babylon, involved all parts of Mesopotamia, and extended its influence to all countries and neighboring provinces. The situation continued even after Hammurabi's death; when decentralization took place. By 1595, Babylon faced a surprised attack from the Hitti army of Asia Minor, which ended the rule of Babylon’s dynasty, allowed Kishshi clans to control it, and marked the end of the Babylonian old period that lasted about four centuries (EIC 122). Today, is it like yesterday?

The Road Map Of Iraqi Pluralism

Our road map for an Iraqi pluralism is based on a number of humanitarian, philosophical, and social principles that shape modern philosophical thought concerning the dialectical relationship between humans, society, and State:

Re-Interpretation Of Religion.  Perhaps one of the most important duties of Iraqi pluralism is to commence the intensive task of re-interpreting religion to become consistent with significant achievements of modern thought.(17)

Such re-interpretation of religion requires acknowledgment of achievements made by modernist thought with regard to many philosophical, social, and political issues such as tolerance, multiculturalism, dialogue of civilizations, cultures, nationalities, and races. Such re-interpretation cannot be accomplished only within theoretical levels; it must extend to the social dimension of realism. Interpretation is not only for its own sake. It includes the ability to provide effective and dynamic dimensions for implementing change. It is also not constructed just by theories; but with realistic element. Such process of re-interpretation provides the foundation to go beyond traditional problems such as racism, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, opposing of other, clash of civilizations, and social exclusion. Ideally replaced by values of enlightenment, new social situation are to be based on such noble human aspirations. Re-interpretation looks like a philosophical treatment of many of the chronic problems that humanity is afflicted by when giving into negative values. Such re-interpretation is based on philosophical, religious, political, social, cultural, and educational processes that, in the beginning, are the responsibility of an intellectual elite until values become self-coordinated and socially inclusive.

Fazlur Rahman notices that there are substantial differences in the character of modern developments in different Muslim regions, which are to be accounted by four factors: (1) whether a particular cultural region retained its sovereignty vis-à-vis European political expansion; (2) the character of the organization of the ulema, or religious leadership, and the character of their relationship with the governing institutions; (3) the state of the development of Islamic education and its immediate accompanying culture; and (4) the character of the overall colonial policy of colonizing powers. While such local and regional differences in the development of Muslim responses to modernizing changes in the field of education are important, the underlying uniformity of these responses must not be overlooked. Rahman addresses two important theoretical considerations and indicates that they have been adopted by modern Muslim theorists: (1) that the acquisition of modern knowledge be limited to the practical technological sphere, since at the level of pure thought Muslims do not need Western intellectual products—in fact, such negative ideas should be avoided, since they might create doubt and disruption in the Muslim mind, (2) that Muslims without fear can and ought to acquire not only Western technology but also its intellectualism, since no type of knowledge can be harmful, and that in any case pure thought and science were assiduously cultivated by Muslims in the early medieval centuries, whence they were taken over by Europeans.(18)

Thus, tradition is a more specific concept than more general idea of culture, and it "should not be understood as non-reflexive, primordial culture but, more dynamically, as the ensemble of practices and arguments that secure the social bond and provide cohesiveness to human communities of varying scale" (IM 46-7). It could be seen as bundled templates of social practice transformed, transmitted, and reflected upon by arguments and discourses across cultures and generations. The cultural codes of traditions are administered by cultural elites but also depend on the active role played by practitioners, who are primarily the common people or "commoners." Traditions are relevant both within pre-modern communities and—in a starkly mutated form—within modern or modernizing societies.(19)

The dialectic of the tradition and modernity into the process of re-interpretation of religion could be summarized as

the most significant nexus linking Islamic traditions to modern societies is represented by the way in which traditional notions of the common good fit into the norms and apparatuses of a modern public sphere. The idea of the common good and the notion of the public sphere are related in complex and significant ways. Ideas and practices targeting the commoners and educating them to the pursuit of the common good often play a role within pre-modern cultural traditions; on the other hand, the public sphere is a key communicative space that supplies meaning and cohesion to modern, especially—but not exclusively—democratic societies.(20)

However, we must note that any attempt at an anatomy of essential structures of religious life immediately faces the question of a definition of religion. The Religious studies field is bestrewn with the decaying corpses of rejected definition, found to be either too vague to be of any functional value; or too cumbersome to be anything other than a summary description of typical features found in traditions which be general consent are part of the comparative field of religious studies; or perhaps to specific to include types of religion that are found at the other end of the spectrum. We believe that the study of religious ideology requires noticing its empirical manifestation (if not in the perception of its participants, whose integral comprehension of their tradition may well lead them to see all its phenomena as a simple whole), which is immensely complex. There is a vast range of phenomena to be found even within one tradition, with beliefs and life practices, its esoteric inner life as well as its outward forms, its rituals and ethical attitudes, its intense and casual participants, its classical scriptures and its continuing process of interpretation, its priests and prophets—and so on, leading to a much longer list of diverse ways on how to be religious.(21)

Religion is a social fact, self-critical and reflexive, and identifies its communities in a transparent manner. It can be described and interpreted as observable and testable, a part of identifiable social systems. Religious experiences are somehow embedded in shared social constructs that are symbolized, codified, and institutionalized in communities. In case of individuals who testify to intense experiences of an extramundane reality, these can be treated as religion only if the individual incorporates the experiences into the life of an already existing identifiable community, or, forges the experience into a new religious movement comprising a definite group. The term identifiable refers to the requirement that a scholar places limits around communities under study, using historical methods or defining them geographically, or restricting them according to social or cultural criteria. The identifiable community often entails far more within specific parameter other than religion; but in its religious dimension, it possesses identifiable characteristics. Its primary focus points toward what members of the community postulate collectively as an alternate reality or realities. Communities themselves engage in acts of believing, expressed symbolically in language, usually in rituals, stories or texts, which in turn produce experiences that an outsider presumes to be similar, since they result from shared symbolic systems.(22)

However, this interpretation of religion, in fact, is not acceptable from one of the most prominent intellectual Islamist in Iraq, Muhsin Abdul-Ḥameed, because he believes that religion is a divine phenomenon, which is represented by Qurʼān and Sunnah of the Prophet and that is radically different from the ideology of human being.

Abdul-Ḥameed begins his analysis on religion by providing a definition of the phrase "Islamic thought," as a product of modern terminology that includes all thought produced by Muslims from its origin (the Prophet) to today, from cosmological knowledge related to God, universe and man, to current notions of jurisprudence and interpretation of general knowledge in the framework of the principles or Islamic doctrine, law, and behavior.

Abdul-Ḥameed confirms that such thought is not Islam because the latter is a divine revelation represented by Qurʼān and Sunna, and human thought does not have the infallibility of Islam itself, and should not be confused with it, because the result will be the integration of human thought into divine revelation. It is a most dangerous thing to turn ideas from realms of human life to scared religion, for example in punishment of people, because the natural result of such mixing will be a great mischief and a distortion of principles of the true religion. Another factor is restricting movement of thought about human concerns by means of infallible principles that must not be criticized.(23)

Therefore, religious ideologies urgently need a re-interpretation of comprehensive responsibility, by overcoming interpretations that were produced in the middle ages, which no longer correspond with the achievements of modern thought. This will also ease the problems of history that overburden contemporary Iraqis, and increase confusion between what is historical and what is contemporary. Unfortunately, what is currently found in the streets of Iraq is a repetition of what had already happened before in history. As if time is turned off, what happened in the past is the same as what is happening now in the era of globalization. The process of re-interpretation is a very complicated manner, as it relates to the separation of religious and ideological, spiritual and temporal, absolute and relative, as well as textual and intellectual. Religious ideologies are in dire straits to make a reassessment of their principles, ideas, and applications; through the use of selective funding and based on contemporary science to criticize the mechanics of such thinking and its implementation. Here, we come to the dynamics of mind and its critical ability to achieve the process of reflecting upon several levels, in order to reach multiple solutions for these societal problems. So far, there has been no such scientific and intellectual comprehensive process in current Iraqi ideological thought. It seems at a first glance that religious ideology maintains firmly located socially and politically, and perhaps even internationally, by repetition of what has happened historically. Here, we witness the paradoxical fragmentation of traditional/modern and old/new that is causing enormous consequences for the Iraqi individual, society, and state.

The re-interpretation of religion necessarily requires making a way for a diversity of perspectives, ideas, theories, and projects to allow for a multi-faceted perspective what might be called social wealth, in exchange for the exclusivity of forbidding. One view cannot offer a solution to the many social problems because it does not have its own permeability to the deep dimensions of these problems; but solutions lie in the opinions of many, as in a painting that integrates all natural and social scenes. Starting with a critical evaluation of self and an openness to correct historical mistakes, mutual desire to engage peacefully with the other paves the way. One of the difficult problems with religious ideologies is to overcome the dogmatic proceedings of thought, which requires a long and cumbersome historical march in self-criticism. The richness of self is inherent in the process of self-criticism and in communication with the ideological structures that shape the social system. A pre-condition becomes obvious that one cannot annihilate all ideologies for the survival of a given ideological structure alone. On the assumption of such utopian victory, an ideology will soon crack and age because it is a human trait for reconstructing and regenerating the mental soul to assume in essence a dynamic and dialectical dialogue with the other.

Meaningful interpretation that allows for dynamic and dialectical change will extend bridges of dialogue to others, by leaving out the sense of self-greatness, accepting humility, and bowing to reasonable and legitimate demands of others. What is supposed here is not to repeat what has happened in history, and make justification for it, even when it was bad! A comprehensive religious reconciliation will apologize for the mistakes of history rather than justifying them. Re-interpretation does not mean to abandon an ideological self and merge with anti-religious ideologies; but it includes the process of strengthening one's self-force in the course of a long process of renewing one's mental, critical, and ideological structures. This is exactly what perpetuates the survival of an ideology and enhances its engagement with the social environment. Ideological survival does not suppose, necessarily, the genocide of the other; but it serves, mainly, to keep the other, and then to begin a deep and lengthily dialogue with the other. Within such communicative social element, all ideologies will be able to survive because their survival and development depends on the survival and development of the other. The ideological ego maintains itself by remaining an other, thereby upholding the chance to survive. Does this process of re-interpretation reveal that it is not an abstract process, isolated from the social environment and outside world; but it is a process within a pure scientific level and also within the social behavior and political destruction?

Transformation Into The Modernity Process.  Perhaps one of the most important features through the Iraqi model of pluralism is to confirm the comprehensive manner of entry into the pattern of modernity. The fact is that there is no comprehensive theory of modernity in Iraq, as a philosophical reference to Iraqi individuals, society, and state. I can say that Iraqi ideology lives now in the phase of pre-modernity, the one that Europe has lived for centuries. Actually, one cannot talk in detail about modernity as a focus of the overall task of Iraqi pluralism model. What we can talk about is a reference to a number of important topics included in the modernity, i.e., human conception, reaching to a comparison with Iraqi theory and practice.

From Self And Subjectivity To Human Conception.  The process of interpretation of human conception can be begun through the ideas that treat the issue of self and subjectivity, which is one of the most important features of the modernity thought.

Paul Ricoeur expands the study of self-conception by starting with the question of the self. The first intention is to indicate the primacy of reflective mediation over the intermediate positing of the subject, as this is expressed in the first person singular: "I am" and "I think." This intentional idea draws support from the grammar of natural language inasmuch as they allow the opposition between "Self" and "I." The philosophical use of the term violates a restriction that has been stressed by the grammarian, namely that soi, i.e. the English self, is a third person-reflexive pronoun (himself, herself, and itself). The second philosophical intention, implicitly present in the title in the word "self," is to distinguish two major meanings of "identity" (the relationship between this "identity" and the term "self." Identity in the sense of idem unfolds an entire hierarchy of significations. In this hierarchy, permanence in time constitutes the highest order, to which be opposed that which differs, in the sense of variable or changing. The third philosophical intention is related to the preceding one, in the sense that ipse-identity involves dialectic complementary to that of selfhood and sameness, namely the dialectic of self and the other than self. As long as one remains within the circle of sameness-identity, the otherness of the other self offers nothing original, other appears in the list of antonyms of "same" alongside "contrary," "distinct," "diverse," and so on. "Self as Another" suggests from the outset that the selfhood of oneself implies otherness to such an intimate degree that one cannot be thought of without the other, that instead one passes into the other, as we might see in Hegelian terms. I should like to attach a strong meaning to "as," "not only that of a comparison (oneself similar to another) but indeed that of an implication (oneself is inasmuch as being other)," Ricoeur suggests.(24)

(1) Individualization rests on specific designation procedures, distinct from predication, aiming at one and only one specimen, to the exclusion of all the others of the same class.
(2) These procedures have no unity a part from this aim.
(3) Alone among the operators of identification, the indicators aim at the "I" and the "you," but they do so by the same token as the deictic terms, because they retain their reference to the utterance, understood as an event in the world.(25)

Subjectivity teaches us that an individual is free and autonomous.(26) Intersubjectivity may be considered the condition of having validity in reference to more than one subject. Such a condition of validity establishes a common agreement about something in the world. The artistic movements questioned the principle that language has a private and subjective value. The notion of intersubjectivity is not opposed to objectivity; but rather than to subjectivity, understood as an individual faculty of receiving the world, which one may also relate to the more general sphere of romantic/idealistic aesthetics. "In an intersubjective process the presence of an external object is at stake, and it is toward this object that a number of subjects have to address their efforts to find an agreement."(27)

Human capacities develop through social conditions which will increase their freedom; such actions might be guided by an internal consciousness of humans. It is evident that obstacles or impediments to freedom can be internal as well as external. It means that individuals could easily be doing what they want in the sense of what they can identify as their (socially formed) desires (or thing they think they desire); but by doing so actually entrench their freedom. "Freedom has been identified as involving and making qualitative distinctions between which desires and motivations are important. Motivational conditions have been highlighted as necessary for freedom in that individual must be able to discriminate between desires and exercise a capacity to evaluate wants, not just to justify them."(28)

Here, a movement is reached where the individual interacts with society; this is what might be called social communication. Distinguishing "'social' approaches to interpersonal communication from their predecessors is the view of relationship between 'person' and 'world' embodied in each."(29) This concept leads to the conception of participation, which has become prominent in theories of development. "Modernization-based approaches to development postulated top-down, economically driven views of development as growth and tended to be implemented with little regard for local context or culture."(30)

I would like to confirm a fact, or to say that it is a subjective assertion that, unfortunately, there is not any comprehensive theory about humanization in contemporary Iraqi philosophy and culture. All we have are fragments about human, which can be assumed through philosophy, poetry, literature, folklore, politics, and sociology in Iraqi theorizing.

For example, we find Badr Shākir al-Sayyāb, suffers from alienation, loneliness, and uniqueness of self because there is only things that are not vibrant. All what is there is a straight and direct road connects to death; where there is nothing. Here is his poem "Old Song":

O! What old is the crying recorder
And old sound,
Is still grunting in gramophone
Sound still remains here; but the self of sound
The melted heart by songs
And the emotionless face, like dreams, is returned
As a ghost in the kingdom of death –
– Nothing – is there in nonexistence.(31)

While we find ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Bayāti in his poetical singing makes exile as a subject to his poetry, which is cold, icy, and sweet in its rain. The exile is human, and there is not any exile just human that denies himself for nothing; but may be because he is probably exiled from his homeland, where policy does not leave a place for poet or dream. His poem "Autobiography of the Thief of Fire" speaks to this condition:

The thief of fire was coming with seasons
Carrying out the testament of time – rivers,
Coming and observing:
Obsessing – in the horse race of the mortal human
In the glow land that he resolve –
The sun man and the harp woman
Foresees the waves of histories and the sadness of descendents of
Birds – stones – dead
Bearing out the sea will for childhood – mosques – markets
The thief of fire was at the bar
Sings for the birds, which were weakened from wandering in the gardens of snow
I was tired
Resisting sleep that falls with the ladders of night
With the smoke and rain
I saw his pale face in the deep of the cup,
His hand passes over her red hair in the spiral of dance,
And over the night, snow and smoke.(32)

While Nāji al-Tikriti suffers from the duality of being a human and social human being, who cannot live alone; but he needs to be living with others in order to meet the humanitarian and social needs. Unfortunately, he cannot live with them because of their evils and problems, and this, of course, causes a profoundly disruption in his personal and individual psychological side; tearing caused by the result of natural need of the social human, or for socializing, and what does this duplicity cause of tragedies because of the evils of others.

Nāji Al-Tikriti explains the tragedy of this duality by saying that

people are the people around you, and you are a human being who has no choice to deal with people. You have no choice but to exclusivity to survive from their evils, and you do not want to get away, so as not to lose your humanity in this life. Wind pushes you towards them; you are pushing, practicing, going ahead, carrying out the burden of whom cannot hold charges and sorrow to those who were crushed by the teeth of life.(33)

Ali al-Jābiri sees that philosophy, civilization, and human concerns are combined interests involving questions concerning the ordeal of modern humans, despite of the manifestations of material and technical progress. This tribulation is distributed among the material, intellectual and spiritual dimensions because it is being composed of a triangle, whose compositions are interfering up and down, or organically and dialectically. When philosophers thought that this ordeal will be dealt through sciences, they were disappointed after a century ago, while waiting for the magic solution to these dilemmas. Furthermore, it comes with disappointing results because of the negative repercussions of a minority of adults.(34)

The Iraqi model of pluralism is required; in order to start implementing its road map, a beginning of the process of establishing an Iraqi project of human, i.e., start foundation of Iraqi humanization. Perhaps this form of humanization is a conversion of the cogito of Descartes (I think; therefore I exist) to Iraqi cogito (I am Iraqi; therefore I am a human). This Iraqi cogito requires a transformation or exchange the conceptions between Iraqi and human, and confirming a similar logical case every Iraqi is a human; but not every human is Iraqi. Based on this Iraqi cogito, it is being dealing with Iraqi person, any Iraqi, of any sect, race, religion and nationalities as a human being, then to become, the humanitarian identity, as a comprehensive one, and a great title of (Iraqi humanization), and its application within Iraqi state. So, human will become (a basic value) in Iraqi society, and because he carries this status he deserved rights, which the institutions of state, (the legislative, executive and judicial), must work to protect them from being eliminated, and to develop them permanently, instead of being frozen with wrong topics or issues that took place in the history.

The Iraqi project of humanization discourages negative virility. Iraqi society and its historical and humanitarian activity on material, historical and dialectical grounds does reflect a form of virility in deep dimensions. This virility makes humans look like wolves instead of being a human. This stallion practices his virility in very wrong ways within multiple and can be found at different levels, from state to society, economy and family, even at universities. It shows little respect or appreciation for humanization.

Iraqi pluralism will benefit from an internal cultural revolution, where the individual accepts the cultural, civilized, intellectual, critical, intellectual, and humanitarian project, which is tolerant in religious, individual, societal, political, and economic presuppositions. It requires also an external cultural revolution that establishes a humanitarian state with fundamental human values.


Pluralism comes in the context of modernist thought, which has reinforced the subjective value against the social production and institutions that pushes to go beyond many historical complexities based on conceptions of intolerance, narrow-mindedness, sectarian wars, and rejection of dialogue.

Iraqi pluralism is thorny and complex relating to its theoretical dimensions and the potential possibilities of its implementation, in a comprehensive manner, regarding to Iraqi society because of the complexities inherent in the subject of the study, i.e., the Iraqi society itself.

The most important duties of the Iraqi pluralism is to begin an intensive activity of re-interpretation of religion; so that this interpretation will be consisted with the significant achievements of the modern thought, reaching to toleration, pluralism, and a peaceful state.


(1) See, for example, Benjamin R. Foster and Karen Polinger Foster, Civilizations of Ancient Iraq, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2009; William R. Polk, Understanding Iraq: A Whistlestop Tour from Ancient Babylon to Occupied Baghdad, London: Tauris 2005. text»

(2) Until now, Ideological forms in Iraq have not been searched philosophically in a comprehensive manner according to social changes. According to this observation, Samira Haj does not cover Iraqi ideological forms only in a narrow partisan side. Samira Haj, The Making of Iraq, 1900-1963: Capital, Power, and Ideology, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press 1997, pp. 82 – 83. For more information on this conflict, see Firas G. Petros, Richard A. Santucci, and Naimet K. Al-Saigh, "The Incidence, Management, and Outcome of Penetrating Bladder Injuries in Civilians Resultant from Armed Conflict in Baghdad 2005-2006," Advances in Urology 10 (2009), 1-5. text»

(3) Helen Chapin Metz, Iraq: A Country Study, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office 1990, p. 54. text»

(4) See earlier reflections on the necessary principles for formation of an Islamic theory of pluralism in Rawaa Mahmoud Hussain, "Al-Ta‘adudia—Muĥawala fi al-Naqd wa al-T’asiel al-Islami, (Pluralism—an Essay in the Islamic Critique and Fundamentalization)," Bulletin of Islamic University–Baghdad 23/1 (2009), 411-48. text»

(5) Maria Baghramian, "On the Plurality Conceptual Schemes," in Maria Baghramian and Attracta Ingram, Pluralism: The Philosophy and Politics of Diversity, London/New York: Routledge 2000, p. 44. [Henceforth cited as PCS] text»

(6) Victor Segesvary, Dialogue of Civilizations: An Introduction to Civilizational Analysis, Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2000, pp. 1-2. text»

(7) Gavin W. Anderson, Constitutional Rights after Globalization, Oxford/Portland, OR: Hart Publishers 2005, p. 99. text»

(8) Philippe de Lara, "Pluralisme de quoi?" in Le pluralisme des valeurs: entre particulier et universel, eds. Anne-Marie Dillens, Hélé Beji, et al, Bruxelles: Publications des Faculteés universitaires Saint-Louis 2003, pp. 54-55. text»

(9) Ghodsi Hejazi, Pluralismus und Zivilgesellschaft: Interkulturelle Pädagogik in modernen Einwanderungsgesellschaften, Kanada, Frankreich, Bielefeld: Transcript 2009, p. 67. See also Esin Örücü, Diverse Cultures and Official Laws: Multiculturalism and Euroscepticism?, Utrecht Law Review 6/ 3 (November 2010), pp. 75-88. text»

(10) Loren E. Lomasky, "Classical Liberalism and Civil Society," in Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society, eds. Simone Chambers and Will Kymlicka, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2002, p. 52. text»

(11) Charles Taylor, "The Politics of Recognition," in Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, eds. Charles Tayler, Amy Gutmann et al, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1994, pp. 25-74, here pp. 28, 32. [Henceforth cited as PR] text»

(12) PR 41. In the field of ethnic identity formation, Jan Nederveen Pieters indicates that "primordialism is the essentialist view of ethnicity in which ethnic groups are taken as given." See Jan Nederveen Pieters, "Varieties of Ethnic Politics and Ethnicity Discourse," in The Politics of Difference: Ethnic Premises in a World of Power, eds. Edwin N. Wilmsen and Patrick A. McAllister, Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press 1996, pp. 25-44, here p. 27. text»

(13) Jürgen Habermas, "Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic Constitutional State," in Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, eds. Charles Tayler, Amy Gutmann et al, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1994, pp. 107-148, here p. 107. text»

(14) Karl Jaspers, Philosophy of Existence, transl. and intr. Richard F. Grabau, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press 1971, p. 3. It is suitable to compare such ideas of Jaspers with a contemporary definition of philosophy, which is in the following terms: (1) To apprehend reality in man's thinking toward himself; (2) To attempt the communication of every aspect of truth from man to man; (3) To find reality in the primal source. See Karl Jaspers, Way to Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy, transl. Ralph Manheim, New Haven and London: Yale University Press 1964, p. 13. text»

(15) Muḥsin Ǧāsim al-Mūsawi, Reading Iraq: Culture and Power in Conflict, New York, NY: I. B. Tauris 2006, pp. 37-40. Stanley Barrett indicates that conflict and power are twins. Whenever situations of large-scale conflict arise, power is front and center. Dramatic displays of power are manifestations of underlying conflict. See, Stanley R. Barrett, Culture Meets Power, Westport, CT: Praeger 2002, p. 125. text»

(16) ʽAmir Suleiman, "al-ʽIlaqat al-Siasia al-Kharjia [Foreign Policies]," in Mawsouʽat -Ḥadharat al-Iraq [Encyclopedia of Iraqi Civilization], Vol. 2, Baghdad: Dar al-Ḥurria lil-Ṭibaʽah 1985, p. 121. [Henceforth cited as EIC] text»

(17) The fact is that contemporary Islamic philosophy has achieved important steps in the process of re-interpretation and re-understanding of religion, and this is what I have proved in several writings, see: Rawaa Mahmoud Hussain, Mushkilat al-Naṣ wa al-‘Akl fi al-Falsafa al-Islamia—Dirāsāt Muntakhaba [The Problem of Text and Reason in Islamic Philosophy—Selected Studies], Beirut: Dar Al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah 2006, pp. 195-290 [henceforth cited as PTR]. Rawaa Mahmoud Hussain, ’Ishkaliat al-Hadaţha fi al-Falsafa al-Islamia al-Mu‘asira [The Problem of Modernity in Contemporary Islamic Philosophy—a Descriptive Study], Damascus: Dar Azzaman 2010, pp. 167-368. Rawaa Mahmoud Hussain, "Mabd’a al-Taraḥum ‘Ind Taha ‘Abd al-Rahmān—Madkhal ’Ila al-Tasamuĥ al-Islami [The Principle of Compassion Upon Taha ‘Abd al-Rahmān—An Introduction to Islamic Toleration]," The Islamic University Journal 2009, pp. 347-60. text»

(18) Fazlur Rahman, Islam & Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press 1982, p. 43. [Henceforth cited as IM] text»

(19) Armando Salvatore, "Tradition and Modernity within Islamic Civilisation and the West," in Islam and Modernity: Key Issues and Debates, eds. Muhammad Khalid Masud, Armando Salvatore, and Martin van Bruinessen, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2009, pp. 3-45, here pp. 5-6. text»

(20) Armando Salvatore, "The Reform Project in the Emerging Public Spheres," in Islam and Modernity: Key Issues and Debates, eds. Muhammad Khalid Masud, Armando Salvatore, and Martin van Bruinessen, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2009, pp. 185-205, here p. 186. text»

(21) Eric J. Lott, Vision, Tradition, Interpretation: Theology, Religion, and the Study of Religion, Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter 1987, p.16. text»

(22) James L. Cox, From Primitive to Indigenous: The Academic Study of Indigenous Religions, Aldershot, England, Burlington, VT: Ashgate 2007, pp. 77-8. text»

(23) Muḥsin Abdul-Ḥameed, al-Fikr al-Islami, Taquimuh wa Tajdiduh [Islamic Thought, its Reformation and Reconstruction], Iraq: Dar al-Anbār Publishing House 1978, pp. 7-8. Indeed, the above ideas refer to a crucial difference between the absolute and relative, or, revelation and history, which is one of the substantial problems in Islamic thought. See PTR 1-332; Muhammad Qasim Zaman, The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2002, pp. 189-90; Nevval Sevindi, Contemporary Islamic Conversations: M. Fethullah Gülen on Turkey, Islam, and the West, ed. and intr. Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabiʻ, transl. Abdullah T. Antepli, Albani, NY: State University of New York Press 2008, p. 121. text»

(24) Paul Ricoeur, Oneself As Another, transl. Kathleen Blamey, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press 1992, pp. 1-3. [Henceforth cited as OA] text»

(25) OA 30, see also Dino Gavinelli, "Fragments de modernité urbaine: formes de régénération et rénovation parisiennes," Altre Modernità 1/3 (2009), pp. 18-28. text»

(26) Nick Mansfield, Subjectivity: Theories of the Self from Freud to Haraway, New York, NY: New York Univeristy Press 2000, p. 13. text»

(27) Mario Moroni, "Dynamics of Subjectivity in the Historical Avant-Grade," in Subjectivity: Avant Grade Critical Studies, eds. Willem Van Reijen and Willem G. Weststeijn, Amsterdam/Atlanta, GA: Rodopi 2000, p. 4. text»

(28) Jill Marshall, Humanity, Freedom and Feminism, Aldershot, Hants, Burlington, VT: Ashgate 2005, p. 109. text»

(29) John Stewart, "Philosophical Features of Social Approaches to Interpersonal Communication," in Social Approaches to Communication, ed. Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, New York, NY: Guilford Press, 1995, pp. 23-48, here p. 24. text»

(30) Jody Waters, "Power and Praxis in Development Communication Discourse and Method," in Redeveloping Communication for Social Change: Theory, Practice and Power, ed. Karin Gwinn Wilkins, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2000, p. 90. text»

(31) Badr Shākir al-Sayyāb, Azhār wa Asāṭir [Roses and Myths], Beirut: Dār al-ʻAwdah 1982, p. 72. text»

(32) ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Bayāti, Sira Ḍātia li Sarq al-Nār [Autobiography of the Thief of Fire], Baghdad: Ministry of Information 1974, pp. 74-7. text»

(33) Nāji al-Tikrit, al-Jidār [The Wall, a Novel] Baghdad: Dār al-Shʼôn al-Thaqāfia al-ʽĀmah 1998, p. 32. text»

(34) Ali Hussain al-Jābiri, Miḥnat al-Insān bain al-ʽlm wa al-Falsafa wa al-Dīn, Dirāsah li ʽilāqat al-ʽUlum al-Muʽāsira bil Maʽrifa al-Qalbia [The Tribulation of Human among Science, Philosophy, and Religion: A Study of the Relationship of Contemporary Sciences with the Knowledge of Heart], Damascus: Dār Nainawā 2009, p. 9. text»

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