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

Author: Jocelyne Cesari

November 12, 2015

In this article, published as part of the journal Religions' special issue on "Religion and Violence," Jocelyne Cesari challenges the 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. The article also looks specifically at state actions vis-à-vis religions since the inception of the nation-state and shows 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. Finally, 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.

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