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Religions 2015, 6(4), 1330-1344;

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

Senior Research Fellow and Professor of the Practice of Religion, Peace, and Conflict Resolution; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University, 3307 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Academic Editor: John L. Esposito
Received: 22 July 2015 / Revised: 3 November 2015 / Accepted: 4 November 2015 / Published: 12 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Violence)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: state; secularism; hegemonic religion state; secularism; hegemonic religion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cesari, J. Religion and Politics: What Does God Have To Do with It? Religions 2015, 6, 1330-1344.

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