Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Friday, November 14, 2014

What makes Islam unique?

Jonathan Benthall reviews Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic case in comparative perspective, by Michael Cook, and Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment, by Akeel Bilgrami, at the Times Literary Supplement.
"Cook identifies partial non-Muslim parallels: as regards the increase in religiosity, in the rise of Pentecostalism and Charismatic Catholicism; as regards identity politics, in the Hindutva nationalist movement; as regards the imposition of social values, in the mainstream Christian Right in the United States; as regards the campaign to restore the Caliphate, in a Christian Reconstructionist fringe (also in the United States); as regards the rise of jihadism, in the intermittent militancy of Sikhs. Hence not one of the features of the Islamic revival is unique. But the combination of features that makes it up is unique. Moreover, two of these movements – Hindu nationalism and militant Sikhism – first emerged in contentious emulation of Muslim stances."

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