The origins of sectarianism in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent


Hazran Y. The origins of sectarianism in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 2017.


This paper differs from previous studies in arguing that sectarianism
has overwhelmingly been created consensually by/or as a result of
the elites’ behavioral patterns. Religious or communal pluralism does
not categorically lead to political sectarianism; The development of
pluralism into political sectarianism can thus be adduced as dependent
upon other factors—first and foremost the behavioural patterns of the
elite. While the imperial legacy, theological controversies, and socioeconomic
gaps feed political sectarianism, in and of themselves they
are insufficient to cause it. A survey of the history of Egypt and the
other countries in the Fertile Crescent reveals that the development
of political sectarianism or sectarian violence has been organically
linked to elites' political behaviors and interests. sectarianism takes
the form of the instrumental exploitation of a religious or communal
identity or framework in order to enable political organization, the
gaining of political legitimacy, the promotion of political change,
or the preservation of the control held by interest groups. While in
the eyes of many critics, sectarianism forms a striking example of the
elites' intrinsic weakness, sectarianism is first and foremost a product
of the elites’ quest for power.

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