Religion and Politics: What Does God Have To Do with It?

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Since 9/11, and even more so with the atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, violence in the name of God is predominantly perceived as a “different” kind of violence, which triggers more “absolute” and radical manifestations than its secular counter parts. In its first part, this article will challenge this so called exceptionalism of religious violence by questioning the neat divide between politics and religion that makes any forms of interactions between the two illegitimate or dangerous. It will look specifically at state actions vis-à-vis religions since the inception of the nation-state and show that the most extreme cases of violence in the name of religion are actually closely associated with specific forms of politicization of religion initiated by “secular” state actors and/or institutions. It argues that the “hegemonic” status granted to a religion by the state is often associated with greater political violence, building on research conducted in Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Pakistan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1330-1344
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2015


  • state
  • secularism
  • hegemonic religion


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