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    The promised land of Fadak: locating religious nationalism in Shiite politics

    Van Den Bos, Matthijs (2022) The promised land of Fadak: locating religious nationalism in Shiite politics. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 49 (5), pp. 769-791. ISSN 1353-0194.

    al.2020-11-23.promised land fadak [bjmes, agb] - revision(full)2aam.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

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    Yāsir al-Ḥabīb is a Britain-based cleric of Kuwaiti origin who aims to establish a religious state in the Persian Gulf region. This article assesses his project as a particular form of Shiite politics, in light of Peter van der Veer’s transnational theory of religious nationalism. It first examines religious conceptions of land in Twelver Shiism to situate Fadak, an oasis on the Arabian Peninsula. Fadak has been “promised land,” pledged by the Prophet Muḥammad to his daughter Fāṭima. Ḥabīb reverts back to this sectarian trope in his legitimization of a Shiite state but reframes it in the language of religious nationalism. Three nodes in van der Veer’s rendering of religious nationalism guide the analysis: the modern union of the nation’s territorial embodiment with sacred geography, transnational migration enabling larger national identifications, and its “indigenous” crafting. They are traced in Ḥabīb’s British operations, which mobilize local “citizenship” in unbounded sectarian confrontation for the religious “nation,” while cohering paradoxically in the “freedom” discourse of his Shīrāzī Shiism. The epilogue finds heuristic value in Fadakism’s comparison with Zionism, centered on the question of assimilation – in the shape more of outward pressure in the second and elective affinity in the first.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Matthijs Van Den Bos
    Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2021 07:43
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:05


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