Why has secularism faced such challenges in the Middle East and in Lebanon in particular? In light of dominating headlines about the spread of sectarianism and the so-called death of Arab secularism, Mark Farha addresses the need for a thorough examination of the history of secular thought and practice in the region. By offering a comprehensive, systematic account of the underlying ideological, socio-economic, and political factors involved, Farha provides a new understanding of the historical roots of secularism as well as the potential causes for the continued resistance a fully deconfessionalized state faces both in Lebanon and in the region at large. Drawing on a vast corpus of primary and secondary sources to examine the varying political parties and ideologies involved, this book provides a fresh approach to the study of religion and politics in the Arab world and beyond.
- Traces the concise lineage of the term and concept of secularism in Arab political discourse from its origins to present-day usage
- Introduces a new framework for understanding the success or failure of the secular state in Lebanon and the wider Middle East
- Includes Arabic sources, providing insights from a host of Arab and Lebanese secular voices