The paper focuses on the factors contributing sectarianism in Pakistan and Iraq. Based on my study of Shia-Sunni violence, I argue that the crisis exists internally, which is then made worse by outside influence. Sectarian groups are observed to start within nations before finding linkages and patronage from outside forces, as the Shias have in Pakistan with the Iranian regime and the Sunnis with Saudi interests. I have attempted to show the existing crisis within various Pakistani cities as well as Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003, as a function of grassroots elements affecting different sects. It is thus argued that the prism for understanding sectarianism, especially of the violent type, must be through the local context.
"Studying Muslim fundamentalisms, this book compares key movements, examining their commonalities, differences and intricate relations, as well as their achievements and failures. Muslim fundamentalisms have the sympathy of approximately half of the Muslim population in the world. Yet, they are divided among themselves and are in a constant state of controversy. The research dwells on the leading fundamentalist movements, such as the Muslim Brothers, Tablighi Jamaʻat, al-Qaeda, and ISIS, and illustrates how differently they think about the West and its culture, democracy, and women's presence in the public sphere. By identifying these trends, and studying them comparatively, the book enables the interested reader to make sense of the plethora of fundamentalist movements, which are otherwise lumped together by the media and are barely discernible for the reader. Whereas most studies of Muslim fundamentalism focus on organizational or militant actions that the movements perform, this study concentrates on their efforts to Islamize society through everyday life in a peaceful manner. Identifying the different strands of Muslim fundamentalisms, the book will be a key resource to a wide range of readers including researchers and students interested in politics, religious, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies"--
'Sectarianism' is one of the most over-discussed yet under-analysed concepts in debates about the Middle East. Despite the deluge of commentary, there is no agreement on what 'sectarianism' is. Is it a social issue, one of dogmatic incompatibility, a historic one or one purely related to modern power politics? Is it something innately felt or politically imposed? Is it a product of modernity or its antithesis? Is it a function of the nation-state or its negation? This text seeks to move the study of modern sectarian dynamics beyond these analytically paralyzing dichotomies by shifting the focus away from the meaningless '-ism' towards the root: sectarian identity.
The task confronting the person who seeks to survey the current state of the literature dealing with Islam as a religion is both enormous and complex. Since Muslims have traditionally considered themselves to be a religious commonwealth whose very identity is fixed by a shared religious commitment, it follows that virtually every writing on any subject whatsoever having to do with Muslims might be considered to fall within the field of religion. Even if one restricts his attention, as we propose to do here, to a more narrow view of religion, the task is still formidable. Muslims have been no less prolific than other major religious communities in producing dissident opinions from within their own fold. The history of Islamic sects, each with its own peculiar thought system and religious practice, is a field of study in itself and one that might well challenge the most energetic scholar. Far from being monolithic, as many of the scholarly cliches about Islam presuppose (e.g. Islam is a religion of Law, Islam is a religion of the Book, etc.), the religious experience of Muslims is diverse and multiform, defying the most sophisticated attempts to reduce it to order and system. No informed approach to the religiousness of Muslims can deal solely with a narrowly marked out "normative Islam". The deviations from the norm are also part of the reality of historic Islamic experience and cannot be set aside in favor of what one may prefer as religiously or conceptually pure. It quickly becomes clear to the perceptive inquirer that the meaning of Islam is an historical phenomenon cannot be stated in terms of a unified doctrinal system, a universally accepted set of rites, or common institutions.