Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Michele Angrist




islamist, akp, islamic, turkey, foreign


The Iranian Revolution of 1979 has pushed many in the West to greatly fear the rise of political Islam. In those moments when that diverse revolutionary movement, which became a narrow Islamic Republic, overthrew the Shah, took hostages at the American embassy in Tehran, and humiliated the world’s greatest superpower, Islam was thrown onto the world stage as a true victor for perhaps the first time in the twentieth century. Twenty two years later, Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda executed another great attack on the United States. While Bin Laden’s organization was not part of any government, his terrorist network had found refuge in the Sudan as a personal guest of Hassan al-Turabi, the most important player in the next Islamist government to form after Iran. Over the last thirty years the United States and its values have only become more influential, yet these Islamist governments have boldly confronted the current world order.While there are of course exceptions, over the long term governments are more likely to pursue peace if ordinary citizens are able to dictate their nation's foreign policy. When women have the vote and the opportunity to organize they have the opportunity to protect their rights, as there is no guarantee that any man will protect their rights in the long term. Additionally, theocracies tend to be both ideological and oppressive as the argument that policy is proscribed by god squashes debate and encourages radicalism. Given this, there is a place for Islamicly informed political parties willing to challenge radical secularism and Western interests, yet little hope for responsible governments with a state religion giving no voice to their people.