About Sami Zubaida
Sami Zubaida is emeritus professor of politics and sociology at Birkbeck College, London. He is the author of Beyond Islam: A New Understanding of the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2011)
His earlier books include Islam, the People and the State: Political Ideas and Movements in the Middle East (IB Tauris, 1993); A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2001); and Law and Power in the Islamic World (IB Tauris, 2005)
Articles by Sami Zubaida
This week's editor
The heavyweight guide to Ukraine
The furore in Britain over the Archbishop of Canterbury's cautious references to the sharia and law in his lecture in London on 7 February 2008 has been extensively discussed by a number of openDemocracy writers and from a variety of perspectives: among them Tina Beattie, Fred Halliday, Theo Hobson, Tariq Modood and Roger Scruton, as well as Simon Barrow in OurKingdom.
Tariq Modood is clearly correct in pointing out that common citizenship and nationhood do not depend on cultural uniformity or ideological consensus - which are, in any case, impossible to create in a complex society.
As a sovereign nation Iraq is a recent creation. It was formed by the British in 1919 out of provinces of the Ottoman Empire. While its borders may be arbitrary and contested, it does not follow that Iraq does not have the heart of a real nation, shared by the different groups who live within them. Iraq is much more than the sum of conflicting ethnic and religious groups. It is a country where people have developed a sense of being Iraqi.
My purpose here is to explore how this has evolved.