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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchPost-Secular Plurality in the Middle East: Expanding the Post-secular Approach to a...

Post-Secular Plurality in the Middle East: Expanding the Post-secular Approach to a Power Politics of Becoming

Author: Mariano Barbato

Affiliation: University of Passau, Germany

Organization/Publisher: Religions/ MDPI Journals

Date/Place: April 1, 2020/Basel, Switzerland

Type of Literature: Journal Article

Number of Pages: 11


Keywords: Postsecular Society, Middle East, Politics Of Becoming, Desecularization, Arab Spring, Document On Human Fraternity.



According to this paper the authoritarian version of interreligious harmony became an essential post-secular alternative to pan-Arabic secularism, Political Islam-Islamism and Post Islamism. If all kinds of religious and non-religious citizens can take part in politics without any intention to change the status-quo, then the Middle East can be called post-secular. This study empirically and normatively evaluates the concept of post-secular society as coined by Jurgen Habermas and “politics of becoming” by William Connolly, in the Middle Eastern context. Habermas’s argument has three basic ingredients: sociological analysis, political theory, and philosophical claim. Habermas argues that these ingredients together demonstrate that secularism and Islamism have failed in the Middle East and that there is need for a new concept that can bridge the religious gaps of society. While elaborating the concept of “politics of becoming,” this study emphasizes the change and evolution of society complementing Habermas’s idea of post-secular, which includes a society that is divided by strong disparities where it is quite impossible to establish inter-faith harmony. Using the Middle East as the test sample in this paper, the author claims that the traditional argument of rich and secular vs. poor and religious fails. He furthers his argument by giving the example of Qatar’s backing the Muslim Brotherhood and UAE implementing authoritative pluralism. In reality, a void exists in these societies, but it is based on economy and not religiosity. The author concludes by emphasizing a need for post-secular revolution that will irrigate various forms of religious heritage without promoting any “otherization.” He proposes a post-secular society will accept differences by taking them seriously but delegitimize the differences of status and class. 


By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Research Associate




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