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‘Moderate Islam’ Made in the United Arab Emirates: Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Containment

Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia, GR-546 36 Thessaloniki, Greece
Religions 2020, 11(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010043
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 13 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and International Relations in the Middle East)
This essay addresses the ideological utilization of religion in the international relations of the United Arab Emirates during the Arab Spring and beyond. By referring to the theoretical framework of public diplomacy and analyzing UAE regional and domestic attitudes, this essay intends to examine the politics of ‘moderate Islam’ in line with: (a) the monarchy’s nation building visions for the 21st century; (b) its national rebranding strategies; (c) its geopolitical empowerment in the Gulf and the Middle East. Throughout our analysis, it is argued that even though ‘moderate Islam’ has been devised for creating ‘soft power’, it serves ‘sharp power’ as well. As will become obvious, this has been mainly the case as far as the containment of Political Islam is concerned.
Keywords: United Arab Emirates; Islam; public diplomacy; Gulf; Arab Spring; interfaith dialogue United Arab Emirates; Islam; public diplomacy; Gulf; Arab Spring; interfaith dialogue
MDPI and ACS Style

Kourgiotis, P. ‘Moderate Islam’ Made in the United Arab Emirates: Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Containment. Religions 2020, 11, 43.

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