The Islamist Maktab-Quran in Iran and Its Challenges for Kurdish Nationalism

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  • Jamal Khosravi Payam-Nour University, Boukan Branch, Iran
  • Hossein Aghapouri The University of Auckland
  • Loghman Hamehmorad



Key Words, Islamism, Maktab Quran, Kurdish Nationalism, Discourse Analysis, Iranian Kurdistan (East Kurdistan)


Maktab Quran  (MQ), or School of Quran, is the oldest Sunni Islamic political ideology in Iranian Kurdistan. Throughout the forty years of its existence it has gone through many semantic changes. These changes ranged from its cooperation with the Iranian Islamic movements in the 1960s, which represented a departure from Kurdish nationalism, to a divergent approach in more recent years as a result of the compromise with Kurdish nationalism on the part of the Iranian central government.

This paper analyzes the discourse formation of the MQ under development within the broader domain of the Kurdish nationalist movement. Moreover, these discursive changes were mostly in response to certain developments in regard to mainstream Iranian Islamist ideology, and also the Iranian central government’s changing approach to Kurdistan. The paper provides a conceptual explanation of the MQ’s discourse. It discusses the way the discourse has changed over the years and relates the changes to various external factors, specifically, the social and political macro-changes in Kurdistan and in Iran.

Studying the social acts of the MQ’s discourse from the perspective of the dominant discourse of Kurdish nationalism reveals the dialectic relationship between these two phenomena. In fact, as a result of the presence and expansion of Kurdish nationalism, which diverged from the approach of the central government, a broader social action emerged which has provided a ground for the discourse analysis of the MQ’s practices.




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Author Biographies

Jamal Khosravi, Payam-Nour University, Boukan Branch, Iran

Lecturer in Sociology

Hossein Aghapouri, The University of Auckland

PhD candidate in Politics and International Relations

Loghman Hamehmorad

Freelance researcher



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How to Cite

Khosravi, J., Aghapouri, H., & Hamehmorad, L. (2016). The Islamist Maktab-Quran in Iran and Its Challenges for Kurdish Nationalism. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 3(1), 59–73.



Original Manuscript