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The movement away from secularist practices and toward political Islam is a prominent trend across Muslim polities. Yet this shift remains under-theorized. Why do modern Muslim polities adopt policies that explicitly cater to religious sensibilities? How are these encoded in law and with what effects? Sadia Saeed addresses these questions through examining shifts in Pakistan's official state policies toward the rights of religious minorities, in particular the controversial Ahmadiyya community. Looking closely at the 'Ahmadi question', Saeed develops a framework for conceptualizing and explaining modern desecularization processes that emphasizes the critical role of nation-state formation, political majoritarianism, and struggles between 'secularist' and 'religious' ideologues in evolving political and legal fields. The book demonstrates that desecularization entails instituting new understandings of religion through processes and justifications that are quintessentially modern.
Winner, 2016–17 AIPS Book Prize, American Institute of Pakistan Studies
Reviews & endorsements
'This book is rich in historical depth, and its most profound contribution for this reader is its sustained demonstration that the place of Islam in Pakistan remains unsettled, complicated, entangled in public affairs, orientated towards exclusion, and contested.' Imran Ahmed, Asian Studies Review