Religious Parties in the Political Systems of Pakistan and Israel

Gaier, Malte

The modern states of Pakistan and Israel share common concepts in regard of state and nation just as in regard of civic and religious identity discourses. In addition to this they show significant parallels within those historic processes which led to their creation in 1947 and 1948 and thus provide an adequate basis in terms of a cross-country comparison. In spite of the secular visions of their founding movements a fertile ground based on religion provided the cultural basis for nation- and land-oriented ideologies. The creation of a homeland for a religious community and the thus connected civic identity of its citizens as a religious and nationalist synthesis form a contrast to the common character of the international community of states and reflect the search for a national identity. In terms of an intellectual exchange, basic ideas of the Jewish enlightenment influenced the claim of Muhammad A. Jinnah's Pakistan Movement for a sovereign Muslim statehood. Since both states offer a broad ideological platform which includes both, secular as well as religious interpretations, the project focuses on religious parties which try to implement theo-political models of a religious state parallel to the contemporary discourses on nation-building existing in these two states. The complex nucleus of nation, religion and politics demands an in-depth analysis of the concepts of partition, border and ethnicity and how they contradict the state's ideological core. Based on research data conducted in field-research in Pakistan, India and Israel this paper emphasizes the transformation of traditional religion-state tensions and cleavages, illustrated by a cross-country comparison within an institutional and sociopolitical framework of analysis.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Published Here
June 2, 2010


Presented at the Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference on the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, Columbia University, April 15-17, 2010.