Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda

Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda

Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda

Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda

Synopsis

Why has the turn of the twenty-first century been rocked by a new religious rebellion? From al Qaeda to Christian militias to insurgents in Iraq, a strident new religious activism has seized the imaginations of political rebels around the world. Building on his groundbreaking book, The New Cold War?: Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State, Mark Juergensmeyer here provides an up-to-date road map through this complex new religious terrain. Basing his discussion on interviews with militant activists and case studies of rebellious movements, Juergensmeyer puts a human face on conflicts that have become increasingly abstract. He revises our notions of religious revolution and offers positive proposals for responding to religious activism in ways that will diminish the violence and lead to an accommodation between radical religion and the secular world.

Excerpt

“Islam is under attack,” a mullah in Baghdad told me in 2004, the year after the American military forces invaded and occupied his country. He was responding to a question about why the resistance to the American military occupation of Iraq had become so stridently religious. In his reckoning, the United States had imposed its presence in the region not only to liberate Iraq from a dictator but also to establish an Americanstyle secular political regime, and the Iraqis were responding in kind.

“You Americans will not succeed,” he went on to tell me, “for Islam will prevail.” What was striking about his comment was the idea that the United States was opposed not just to Saddam Hussein but also to Islam. In his view the presence of the U.S. military forces was directed at his nation’s religion, and he thought that Iraq would not be truly free until it had established Muslim rule.

Earlier a Muslim professor in Egypt had given me a similar explanation for the rise of religious activism in his country. He told me that there was “a desperate need for religion in public life.” He viewed Islam as “a culturally liberating force,” which Egypt needed in order to free itself from the vestiges of its colonial past. “Western colonialism has gone,” he explained, “but we still have not completed our independence. We will not be free until Egypt becomes a Muslim state.”

I heard similar comments from Jewish militants in Israel, Hindu and Sikh partisans in India, Buddhist fighters in Sri Lanka, and members of Christian militias in the United States. A rabbi in Jerusalem said that Israel . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.