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Manipulation of Islam by the State: Islam as an Official Nationalism in Pakistan, Malaysia, and Uzbekistan

Author(s): Hanauer, Laurence

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Abstract: Governments in many predominantly Muslim states —including Pakistan, Malaysia, and Uzbekistan—have manipulated Islamic symbols and institutions in order to create a national civic identity that would unify their populations' many ethnic and cultural groups. Underlying this objective, however, is the ruling elites' desire to maintain their hold on state power. As the regimes used Islam more and more to further their own interests and those of their primordial or ethnic groups, and as their commitment to Islam became increasingly superficial and regulatory, Islamic opposition movements gained popularity among disenchanted populations, a phenomenon which drove both governments and opposition parties to call for the implementation of Islamic law. Unless the leaders of these states create a cultural or historical value system around which diverse elements of their populations can coalesce, Islam will continue to exacerbate social and ethnic tensions rather than serve as a unifying value for their societies.
Publication Date: 1995
Pages: 86-106
Type of Material: Journal Article
Series/Report no.: Volume 6;
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Public and International Affairs
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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