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The Varieties of Religious RepressionWhy Governments Restrict Religion$
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Ani Sarkissian

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348084

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199348084.001.0001

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Regulation as Control

Regulation as Control

State Repression of All Religious Groups

(p.50) 3 Regulation as Control
The Varieties of Religious Repression

Ani Sarkissian

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines 27 states that repress all religious groups to understand the conditions under which they are able to repress and their motivations for doing so. Because political competition is so restricted in most of the countries in this category, governments are able to impose harsh restrictions on religion without checks or challenges to their authority, even in the absence of religious divisions in society. The repression of all groups follows two patterns, elaborated in paired case studies. Iran and Saudi Arabia are proreligious regimes that impose a particular interpretation of Islamic law on their citizens and use religious justifications to punish minorities and regime opponents. China and Azerbaijan are antireligious regimes that impose restrictions aimed at diminishing religion’s potential influence on politics and society. All of the countries in this category recognize the danger that independent civil society can pose to regime stability.

Keywords:   religious repression, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Azerbaijan, Islamic law, antireligious, civil society

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