Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of State Power

September 13, 2001

In Islamic Leviathan, Vali Nasr explores how and under what conditions states use Islam to consolidate their hold on power. Focusing on the cases of Pakistan and Malaysia, he argues that these multiethnic post-colonial states came into being with a weak sense of national unity and an elite that had close ties to the colonial establishment. He identifies the 1970s as a key period in which secular national ideologies began to fail, prompting their replacement by explicitly religious notions of the state and society over the next two decades.

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