'An erudite account of intricate relationships between religion and other markers of identity, including nationality, socially defined race, language, class, political ideology, generation, gender and sexual orientation.' --Times Literary Supplement
'Olivier Roy, the outstanding scholar of contemporary religions, has written a book of startling clarity and wisdom. Illuminating trends, issues and movements that had before appeared bizarre or simply antipathetic, he provides us with tools for the comprehension of matters as diverse as coverage of the war on terror to the common individual confusion over one's own beliefs and scepticisms.' --Financial Times
'Over the past few years, a number of theories have been offered about the rise of fundamentalism. The brilliant French social scientist Roy proposes the most original-- and the most persuasive. Fundamentalism, in his view, is a symptom of, rather than a reaction against, the increasing secularization of society. Whether it takes the form of the Christian right in the United States or Salafist purity in the Muslim world, fundamentalism is not about restoring a more authentic and deeply spiritual religious experience. It is instead a manifestation of holy ignorance, Roy's biting term meant to characterize the worldview of those who, having lost both their theology and their roots, subscribe to ideas as incoherent as they are ultimately futile. The most important thing to know about those urging the restoration of a lost religious authenticity is that they are sustained by the very forces they denounce.' --New York Times
About the Author
Olivier Roy is research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. His books with Hurst include Globalised Islam and The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East.