Defining the Problem
Most studies of Islamism have focused on the role of oppositional forces. Increasingly, states are also important Islamist actors. States pursue Islamization not only in reaction to Islamist challenges but also because in Islamism they see the opportunity to address the inherent weaknesses of the postcolonial state structure, and to significantly increase the power and capacity of the state. This trend is most evident in Pakistan and Malaysia where both the weakness of the postcolonial state and the opportunity inherent in Islamization have been greatest. These cases deviate from other models of state formation in the Muslim world, and provide new insights not only into state formation in the Muslim world but also into the study of the role of religion in state expansion in comparative politics.
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