This collection focuses on the controversial relationship between religion and the state within the Arab Spring context and the evolving debates on democratic transition. In this book, democracy is not questionable; it is hailed by all those vocal on the political scene. The array of opinions presented here varies from a call for a secular state based on Islamic philosophy to a call for setting democratic institutions before working on solving this religion-state dichotomy. Meanwhile some prefer to have an ambiguous stand on which side to back up, the liberals or the Islamists, despite a detailed criticism of the ossified ways of those calling for a religious state (Al-Majd). The book starts with an analysis and a detailed account of how the sensitive issue of the relationship between state and religion developed in Arab though and society and it goes on to employ less the religious discourse in presenting their positions thus focusing on actual cases of this struggle for power in different Arab countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. The collection also provides insights and analysis of the ongoing debates and views on the role of religion in Libya and provides an analysis of the case of Morocco. In addition to this there is a special chapter that deals with how Muslim communities living in the West adapt to secular state politics. The collection ends with a thorough discussion by a number of Arab intellectuals and activists, Muslims and Christians alike, whereby core issues related to the debate on state and religion are presented. This discussion, in addition to reflecting the Islamist-secular dichotomy, demonstrates the richness of the ongoing debates that extend well beyond the discourse on this dichotomy.
This book is a compilation of articles published in Contemporary Arab Affairs.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction General 2. The State and Religion in the Fundamentals of Islam and Contemporary Interpretation 3. State and Religion in a Revolutionary Era: Perspectives and Demands of the Islamic Awakening 4. Approaches to Reforming Contemporary Religious Discourse 5. Religion and the State in Contemporary Arab Society: Theoretically, Practically, and Prospectively 6. Problematics of Political Authority within Islam Case Studies 7. The State and Identity: The Relationship between Religion and Politics - Tunisia as an Example 8. Relationship between State and Religion: Egypt after the Revolution 9. Islamist Political Movements in Yemen 10. Relationship between State and Religion in Saudi Arabia: the Role of Wahabism in Governance 11. Islamists in Power: the case of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt 12. The relationship between religion and the state: the institution of ‘Commandment of the Faithful’ in Morocco Comparative Studies 13. Representations of religion in secular states: the Muslim communities in Sweden 14. Religion and the State in Turkey and Iran: A Comparative Overview Opinion 15. What Changes have Taken Place in US Foreign Policy towards Islamists? Panel Discussion 16. Towards an intellectual and political understanding of the question of religion and the state
Khair El-Din Haseeb is the founding Director of the Centre for Arab Unity Studies (CAUS) in Beirut and currently the Chairman of its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He has played a highly active and influential role in Arab nationalist concerns and initiatives since the 1970’s. From 1976 to 1984 he served as Chief of the Natural Resources Science and Technology Division of the United Nations Economic Commission of Western Asia. He is the author of numerous books and articles in both Arabic and English including: The Arab Spring: Critical Analysis (2013).