Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (4-5):363-374 (2016)

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The argument that sectarian conflicts in the Arab Middle East have been persistent since time immemorial is erroneous. While these views may seem compelling with the rise of ISIL, they are in fact very dangerous: they downgrade Islamic societies to primordial, selective and static features. I will argue for a different set of propositions. First, violence is not unique to Islamic societies. Extreme illiberal ideologies prevailed in Christian Europe both during the Thirty Years War and during the fascist interwar period. Second, Islamist belligerence was partly a response to the ill-effects of globalization, just as European fascist movements were exacerbated by the advance of industrial capitalism in Europe. Third, post-Second World War human rights efforts may inform new paths beyond the tragedies that continue to plague the Middle East
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DOI 10.1177/0191453715624071
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