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Democracy in Modern IranIslam, Culture, and Political Change$
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Ali Mirsepassi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814795644

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814795644.001.0001

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The Origins of Secularism in Europe

The Origins of Secularism in Europe

(p.25) 1 The Origins of Secularism in Europe
Democracy in Modern Iran

Ali Mirsepassi

NYU Press

This chapter provides a historical survey and analysis of secularism that seeks to provide the basis for an alternative interpretation of the rise of political Islamist movements in the Middle East. There are two principal reactions to such movements: the first views them in terms of the failure to carry through a “complete” program of secularization, while the second argues that secularism is specific to the West and is therefore both alien and unsuited to societies in the Middle East. The chapter argues that secularism is a multifaceted historical phenomenon which presents both valuable political mechanisms and principles for nonviolent conflict resolution and the promotion of political freedom within complex modern societies.

Keywords:   secularism, political Islamist movements, Middle East, secularization, nonviolent conflict resolution, political freedom

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