Religious Fundamentalism in the Middle East

A Cross-National, Inter-Faith, and Inter-Ethnic Analysis


In Religious Fundamentalism in the Middle East, Moaddel and Karabenick analyze fundamentalist beliefs and attitudes across nations (Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia), faith (Christianity and Islam), and ethnicity (Azari-Turks, Kurds, and Persians among Iranians), using comparative survey data. For them, fundamentalism is not just a set of religious beliefs. It is rather a set of beliefs about and attitudes toward whatever religious beliefs one has. In this analysis, the authors show that fundamentalist beliefs and attitudes vary across national contexts and individual characteristics, and predict people's orientation toward the same set of historical issues that were the concerns of fundamentalist intellectual leaders and activists. The authors' analysis reveals a "cycle of spirituality" that reinforces the critical importance of taking historical and cultural contexts into consideration to understand the role of religious fundamentalism in contemporary Middle Eastern societies.

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Mansoor Moaddel, Ph.D. (1986), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University. He has published several books and many articles on revolution, religion and ideology, including Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism: Episode and DiscourseThe University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Stuart A. Karabenick, Ph.D. (1967), University of Michigan, is Research Professor in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. He has published numerous articles and books on a variety of topics that include personal epistemological beliefs in the Middle East, students' perceptions of classroom goal structures, student and teacher responsibility, and the role of help and information seeking in educational contexts.
Series Editor’s Foreword

Introduction: Theoretical Issues in the Study of Religious Fundamentalism
1. Cycles of Spirituality and Discursive Space: Religious Fundamentalism in Historical Perspective
2. State Structure, Religion, Sect, and Ethnicity
3. Methodology and Macro Comparisons
4. Religious Fundamentalism among Youth in Egypt and Saudi Arabia: Epistemic Authority and Other Correlates
5. Religious Fundamentalism in Iran and Lebanon
6. Fundamentalism as Discourse versus Beliefs about and Attitudes toward Religion
Conclusions: Approaches to Fundamentalism and the Cycle of Spirituality

Appendix A: Egypt and Saudi Arabia Surveys
Appendix B: Iran Survey
Appendix C : Lebanon Survey
This book would be of interest to sociologists of religion, Middle East, and Islam, comparative fundamentalism.