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Islam as a point of reference for political and social groups in Iraq

31-12-2007 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 868, by Pierre-Jean Luizard

Iraq occupies a special position in the general context of re-islamization of Arab societies because of the US occupation and the absence of a viable State. The attempt to rebuild communities under the aegis of the United States led to a widespread withdrawal back into communities in which Islam plays a vital role. It looks as if a secularized form of Islam is likely to fuel the fighting, which is all the more inexpiable because each person believes he is fighting for survival as a member of his community.

   

Pierre-Jean Luizard
is a researcher at CNRS and a historian of contemporary Islam in   the Arab countries of the Middle East.. 

 
Abstract 
Iraq occupies a special position in the general context of re-Islamization of Arab societies because of the US occupation and the absence of a viable state. The attempt to rebuild communities under the aegis of the United States led to a widespread withdrawal back into communities in which Islam plays a vital role. Sectarian identities were intensified, particularly because they built on layers largely secularized by years of a form of political life that had been partly dominated by secular or secularist parties (Communist Party, Baath party). It looks as if a secularized form of Islam, whose vocation is primarily to confer an identity and which has become impervious to any religious code, is likely to fuel the fighting, which is all the more inexpiable because each person believes that he is fighting for survival as a member of his community.

   
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