Islam and the Secular

Author: Jocelyne Cesari

November 2, 2021

In this book chapter, Senior Fellow Jocelyne Cesari argues that the separation of religion and politics as distinct categories underlies our dominant conception of political modernity and prevents us from observing the continuous mutual influence between religion and secular politics. Focusing on Islam, Cesari highlights the significant historical episodes that have shaped the current relations between religion and the secular and advances the idea that the underlying assumption that religion is, or should be, apolitical, is intrinsically associated with the political legitimacy of the nation-state. Cesari exemplifies these two points by examining the modes of politicization of Islam from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire till our days. This chapter was published in Abraham and the Secular, edited by Simone Raudino and Uzma Ashraf Barton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 55–67.

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