Simon Wolfgang Fuchs. 2019. In a Pure Muslim Land: Shi‘ism between Pakistan and the Middle East

Published date01 August 2020
Date01 August 2020
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 261
Hindutva that creates a historical image of a monocultural India that has never truly
existed. As Bello shows, this ideology aims to implicitly unite the 80 per cent
Hindu population of India whilst explicitly justifying the demonisation of Muslims
and Muslim sympathisers. Through these in-depth analyses of these counter-
revolutionary movements within these countries, Bello provides two useful
categories to better understand the nature of counter-revolutionary movements.
One particularly strong element of Bello’s work is its emphasis on the
importance of class and cultural issues of these countries. One of greatest
contributions of Counter Revolutions is its focus on the need to understand not
just the motivations of key political leaders, but the anxieties and appeals of the
people of these countries that lead them to embrace such extreme movements.
Bello’s detailing of these societal factors both create a better understanding of the
culture of often overlooked countries throughout the Global South, but also
creates a comparative model that allows us to better understand counter-
revolutionary movements. Hence, Counter Revolutions provides a useful addition
for anyone looking to better understand the nature and dissemination of neo-
fascist movements and a good introduction into their impact throughout the world.
Graeme Paton
Murdoch University, Australia
Simon Wolfgang Fuchs. 2019. In a Pure Muslim Land: Shi‘ism between
Pakistan and the Middle East. The University of North Carolina
Press. 352 pp. ISBN: 9781469649795.
DOI: 10.1177/2347797020940108
The resurgence of Iran is one of the unintended consequences of the ill-thought
War on Terror’s Iraqi expedition. Iran, hitherto boxed in between Sunni Iraq and
Pakistan, suddenly found itself freer to act. Its ability to disruptively mobilise Shia
communities in a largely Sunni Muslim world revived academic interest in
Shi’ism. However, despite being home to the largest Shia population outside Iran,
South Asia has remained, as Francis Robinson puts it, ‘in scholarly terms largely
invisible’ (p. 2). Simon Fuchs’s In a Pure Muslim Land aims to rectify this
oversight and contributes to the ‘embryonic field’ of Pakistani Shiism (p. 6).
Fuchs departs from the literature centred on the anthropology of Shia rituals
and sociology of sectarianism. He presents an ‘ethnographic history of the
intellectual production of Shias and their religious competitors’ in ‘late colonial
India and independent Pakistan’ amidst ‘transnational flows of thought and …
religious authority’ (p. 3). The book covers the period up to the early 2010s. It
complements Rieck’s (2015) The Shi’is of Pakistan, the other major recent
contribution to Pakistani Shi’ism. Like Rieck, Fuchs restricts his account to
Twelver Shiism and West Pakistan. However, he explores sectarian theological
debates and their transnational links rather than the everyday politics and sectarian

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT