"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Religion and Politics in Lebanon

Earlier I discussed the rather singular nature of relations between Islam and Eastern Christianity in Lebanon. Along comes a new study to continue the exploration of these complicated questions:

Robert G. Rabil, Religion, National Identity, and Confessional Politics in Lebanon: The Challenge of Islamism (The Middle East in Focus) (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), 230pp. 

About this book, the publisher tells us:
Tracing the rise of Islamism in Lebanon and its attempt to Islamize society and state by the reverse integration of society and state into the project of Islamism, this book looks at Lebanon against a background of weak and contested national identity and capricious interaction between religious affiliation and confessional politics, and attempts to illustrate in detailed analysis this "comprehensive" project of Islamism according to its ideological and practical evolutionary change. The author demonstrates that, despite ideological, political and confessional incongruities and concerns, Islamism, in both its Sunni and Shi'a variants, has maintained a unity of purpose in pursuing its project: jihad against Israel and abolishment of political sectarianism.
The publisher also helpfully provides us the table of contents:
Greater Lebanon and the National Pact: The Elusiveness of National Identity * The Confessional System Between Lebanonism and Pan-Arabism * Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyah and Fathi Yakan: The Pioneer of Sunni Islamic Activism in Lebanon * The Reassertion of Sectarianism and the Rise of Islamism * The Islamists and the Political System: Al-Infitah and Lebanonization * The Praxis of Islamism and Syrian Suzerainty * The Takeover of Beirut: The Struggle for the State * The Future of Islamism in Lebanon

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