*Ancient Religions, Modern Politics*

That is the new Princeton University Press book by Michael Cook and the subtitle is The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective.  It is a very good comparative look at why Islam has evolved to have a special influence on politics, relative to the other major religions:

…Muslim solidarity has not displaced nationalism, but it has established itself as an alternative to it.  It has done remarkably well in shifting the moral terms of trade in favor of Islam as a political identity and against the various nationalisms of the Muslim world, thereby putting them on the defensive…These qualitative observations find some support from a survey of 2005 that asked Muslims in six mainly Muslim countries whether they saw themselves as citizens of their countries first or as Muslims first,  In all but Lebanon more respondents identified primarily as Muslims than as national citizens…

The findings of a survey carried out in 2006 shed an interesting light on this.  In Pakistan 87 percent of Muslims identified as Muslims first, rather than citizens of their country; in India only 10 percent of Hindus identified in this way.

I found this book consistently interesting.  The book’s home page is here.


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