One of the world's big three religions, Islam manifests in different ways in different corners of the globe. Some societies have secular governments while a sizable portion of the population are Muslim, while other countries are shaped around Islam and use tenets of the Quran in governing. And still some countries are experiencing power struggles between secular and Islamist figures or parties in the government. Here are some stories related to Islamism.
To find the roots of this centuries-old tension, let's start with the basic regional points of contention. Iran is Persian; Saudi Arabia is Arab. Iran is Shiite Muslim; Saudi Arabia is Sunni Muslim. Geographically, the countries face each other across the critical transportation route of the Persian Gulf. The tensions reflect some regional fears, such as those expressed by Jordan's King Abdullah II in 2006, of Shiite influence spreading from Iran and Lebanon through Iraq (where sectarian tension has marked the period since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein) and Syria, into regions like Bahrain where Saudi Arabia helped the government tamp down on Shiite protests during the Arab Spring.
In the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lead a lifting of the ban on headscarves in universities -- and a charge by his party, the AKP, to ban booze in restaurants -- the 11-member Constitutional Court agreed at the end of March 2008 to hear the case charging that the AKP (Justice and Development party) is dragging Turkey away from secularism.
Morsi's presidency is seen as a critical test for Egypt's future. Did the revolutionaries who filled Tahrir Square calling for democracy and a country free of tyranny trade autocratic Mubarak for a theocratic regime that would implement Sharia and squeeze out Egypt's Coptic Christians and secularists? Morsi has tried to allay some of these fears by promising to have a representative government and saying in his victory speech that he would honor all of Egypt's international treaties -- which includes a peace treaty with Israel.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, career cleric and leader of Twelver Shiite Muslims. The last word on all dealings in the Islamic Republic, even the confirmation of an elected president, and an international mouthpiece for the Islamic Revolution as the second ayatollah to serve as the conservative figurehead since 1979.
Much attention has been drawn to the plight of women in Saudi Arabia thanks to both social media campaigns waged in order to attain greater rights and by King Abdullah's efforts to buck the more conservative religious elements by incrementally allowing women more rights. But what is women's place in Saudi society as deemed by law and custom?