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There is much more missing in this account. Sunni vs Shi'a, the shock of the Crusades, the long decline of the Ottoman Empire before its collapse, the 18th century emergence of the Saudi state, European colonialism, Pakistan, Israel (yeah they mention it but only via the reflections of an Islamic scholar), the USA and its meddling, oil, consumerism. The article sounds as if the Muslim world was largely left to itself, with only introspection to influence its development.

And the central claim:

Islamic Exceptionalism: How Religion Shapes Politics in the Middle East - The Atlantic

Islam is distinctive in how it relates to politics--and this distinctiveness can be traced back to the religion's founding moment in the seventh century. Islam is different...

That the Christian tradition seems ambivalent about law, governance, and power is no accident. Islam and Christianity are, after all meant to do different things. Law, at least in part, is about exposing and punishing sin. Yet, when Jesus died on the cross, he in effect released man from the burdens of sin, and therefore from the burdens of the law.

Delusional bullshit. Most religions, including Christianity, were quite adamant to enter the political sphere and impose laws. The Old Testament is full of laws. The New Testament describes the sectarian community of the Apostles. A few centuries later, Christianity was turned into a legitimising ideology for rulers and began to hunt heretics. It was only after the Catholic–Protestant stalemate and general disillusionment that a clear separation of politics and religion became possible, and it took more time in the Colonies where various Protestant sects and off-shoots (Mormonism, anyone?) were still busy trying to create religion-based states.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jun 7th, 2016 at 11:08:52 AM EST
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